Learn how to hide your feelings.

So OK, March 3rd tends to be a significant blog date for me, so lets not be unoriginal, and mention the fact that Harlean Harlow Carpenter was born today, 108 years ago, and tragically left us again after little more than 26 years. Yes, thats right, the one most know as Jean Harlow. Yes, the amount of times I get asked to spell that first name by callers at work, or the origin of it, well if I got ten pounds for every time, I probably could retire from work already, lol! I dont actually know the origin of the name (other than through Jean), but I say its an old Gaelic name, and no one has queried that as of yet!

As with so many of the actors, and actresses who died young, because of illnesses that have either now been pretty well wiped out (TB, as an example), or as in her case, something that modern day surgery could solve, you can always wonder what might have happened with her life had she lived. Or indeed, as in Clara Johnson’s case, if she’d known how dangerous smoking would be for her life, would she have smoked like she did?

Anyway, having said most things I can about Jean over the years, lets just consider one thing tonight, the career of Mary Dees. She was the lady who stood in for Jean in Saratoga, after her death, and the whole event pretty well finished her career. Whether it was in its dying days anyway, whether it was the pain of playing someone else, or whether it was just the studios avoiding her after that, we will never know?

Oh, the other annual event, that in the true sense happens today, doesnt always happen on March 3rd. Yes, in about 3 hours time from posting this, the Iditarod race for this year, gets under way for real! And yes, again this year, that ghost town that the race is named after is getting visited this year. After that, 2 years (at least) of peace for the ghosts of those old miners there. Body, and finances permitting, in 5 years time, I plan to retire a little early (might be a lot earlier than that, in truth, but anyway) from work, and be there for the start of the race in 2024. Just seems crazy that if I am going to fulfil that dream of going to Alaska, not to be there for that. I know, it will be cold, but I’ll have to be brave, lol.

The significant factor for me in this year’s race, is the return of Lance Mackey to the field. After a 3 year gap, he is supposedly giving it one last go while he can, but then again, he said that 3 years ago! He also says he’s not trying to win, which might actually be true, but we will see. So yes, for a couple of weeks or so, I’ll have one extra website to visit, to see how he is doing, and all the other competitors too. On that trip, I would also love to be in Nome for the finish, but air fares to that remote town are crazy, so I’ll probably settle for Anchorage, and Willow only. No, definitely not doing the race!

OK, video time. The song not only mentions something that actresses need to do (see the title), it also mentions ‘Baby’ in the song, and also has a line about flying high and proud, which seems suitable for the dog race. Oh, and I love the song!

Wake up the ghosts, the dogs are coming

Yes, thats right, its nearly Iditarod Race Time again. The parade through Anchorage is next Saturday, and the long trek to Nome starts a week today.

But why the comment about waking up the ghosts, and the aptness of the video, you ask? Well, quite simply, for the first time in 5 years, the race actually is going to go through the town its named after, Iditarod. Normally this would happen every 2 years (so should have been 2015, and 2017), but due to climate change, and the lack of snow in the areas at the start of the race, the last 2 southern route events, have been even further north events, with the restart in Fairbank, and a revised first half of the route, which then made using the southern section a no go!

Therefore the decision has been made, that this year, as well as next year (which would be normal route), that the decision would be to go south, via Iditarod. Now strictly, its defined as a ghost town, as no one lives there any more. In truth, beyond about 1920’s hardly anyone, bar the odd trapper lived there, once the gold rush was over. Supposedly someone lived there, trapping, until the turn of the century, but then he decided the place had got a ‘bit lively’ with the dog race arriving once every 2 years, and he left town!

Supposedly, and unsurprisingly, the town is supposed to be haunted by some who lived there, over 100 years ago now. How true that is, no idea? But its fun to believe it, I guess?

No, I will never visit Iditarod, the only traffic through the place nowadays that is known about, is this dog race, and I’m not taking part in that! And I’m way past an age where I’m volunteering to help out, given the crazy freezing temperatures in that area of the world at this time of year. Anchorage? Well, maybe, assuming my back, and my body lasts until 2024, and retirement, because thats my planned reward to myself for getting that far in  life. I will need to take a break somewhere en route, both ways for sure, but if I’m not working…? Nome, I’d love to, on a day trip, or an overnight flight stay while there, just to say I’d been there, but I doubt it. Mind, if I do, I’ll go more in summer than in winter! Brr!

But yes, if there are ghosts in Iditarod, and they’ve been enjoying the peace for 5 years, they’re in for a shock in the next couple of weeks! The humans, and dogs, are returning again, after so long.

Many years ago, I did use this song, when discussing Alaska, and the race before, but that was about 4 years ago. And anyway, this is a newer, live edition, not the one I used back then

Its no fun, with(out) illegal aliens

OK, so fine, its a Sunday, its a slow day for news. But as I will not get anything done tomorrow (job interview, ghastly journey, at weird hour) for sure, I thought I’d throw something out, and then if I dont post again till Wednesday, no one can say anything!

Fine, I know, politics, not a good idea on something like this, but each to their own, just remember my political views dont necessarily match yours! Yes, I match Jean Harlow, Democrat by nature lol. And no, that doesnt make me a Hilary fan, either! In fact, if it was her, against say, Kasich, I’d vote Kasich! Yes, I know!

But this isnt about a quiet mannered, sensible politician, this is about Hurricane Donald. Thats right, cant stand the man! But one of his claims is that he will rid the US of all illegal immigrants. Yes, I saw an article about this, which doesnt make this idea so great.

It seems if this happened, the US farming, fishing, care, and construction industries would just about grind to a halt. Yes, large percentages of workers in those industries are illegal immigrants! And I’m talking at a minimum level of about 16%, some a lot, lot more! The other one that got mentioned that had special meaning to me, was the food service industry. Especially the fast food industry! Why does that have special meaning to me? Oh, maybe because I was offered a job in that industry, back in 2003, despite no paperwork to do so. No, I’m not naming the franchise, but its a well known one, and they knew I didnt (at that point) have the paperwork to work there, but they didnt care, they offered me a job!

Yes, in hindsight, I did the crazy thing, and said no, and flew back to the UK instead. I guess the thrill of handing over fast food to customers didnt quite hold enough appeal for me! But yes, fine, I could have got in the US as a worker, and who knows where it might have led from there?

Oh, the other amusing fact, if all the illegal immigrants in the US could even be found, and were dispatched over the border, on 650 buses a day, and none got back in, it would take over 20 years to clear them all out! So seriously, its not going to happen!

No, I’m not saying I want to come in as an illegal immigrant, but I’d love to come in, even only temporarily, as a genuine one. So if any businessman (I think I’ve burnt my bridge with Mr Trump somehow) wants to sponsor me, to work, in the US, doing anything reasonable, please, give me the chance!

Someone tells me the US gives £20,000 to anyone moving to Alaska, is that true? If so, I assume thats only open to Americans, right? If not, if someone in Anchorage wants to offer me a sponsored job, even better! Please, let me know, someone.

OK, the video. Yes, no originality in the choice here!

To take you to his mansion in Nome

Fine, challenge, anyone that can work out what the video is tonight, before you look, I’m seriously impressed, because this is about as cryptic as they get. There will be a possible clue before we get there, which might help, but even so…

Last year, I achieved something that I never thought I would, as I’m not one of those workers who flies everywhere (Yes, Kate, I’m only teasing you x), I always thought that gaining any real status on the couple of airlines I’m a frequent flyer on, would be way beyond my abilities. Then of course, I flew to LA twice, in the same year, with the same pair of airlines, and lo and behold, I hit silver status with Delta Airlines (video clue, here), until the end of 2016, with of course, the possibility for more. Except for the fact, that as things stand, getting to fly anywhere this year, seems to be becoming an impossible dream! Yes, so frustrating. Even more so, given that I so want to make a flight in my new name, but anyway…

Oh, for the curious, the other I have membership of, American Airlines. I used to have both them, and US Airways, before they amalgamated, but I’m not even close to any form of status there, all the same. But yes, Delta is the one I want to fly with this year, given the chance!

And this weekend at least, where would I love to fly to? Why, Anchorage. An extension to Nome would be even more heavenly, but being in Anchorage would do me just fine. Why? Because as I write this, the ceremonial start, through the city, of the Iditarod is taking place. The race proper, starts tomorrow, a little way out of town in Willow. Then 85 incredibly brave teams, will set off, for just under 1000 miles of Alaskan wilderness, until they reach Nome. No, are you kidding, I wouldnt do that for a million dollars, even now! But would I love to see them set off, or even better, finish, you bet I would!

Maybe one day I will finally get to Alaska, its my dream. Being practical, at my age, and with my health issues (joints), I’d have to do overnight stops en route, both ways, if I did. So fine, even if the financial situation ever improves, its not likely to happen until post retirement, simply because of time issues, in my life. So I suspect it will be one of my dreams, to my dying days, somehow, getting to Alaska. No, not in March, too cold in all probability, but at any point in the year, would be good.

Oh fine, the video. If you managed to get the cryptic clues worked out, and come up with this song from 1973, I’m impressed. Somehow, I doubt anyone did!

On the road again

OK, for the second night running, lets start with some depressing news, the death last night of Lauren Bacall, at the age of 89. At least in this case it was natural causes, unlike yesterday’s.

Rest in peace, you will be missed.

On a more light hearted note, a few here will know, in terms of US states visited, I’m quite well travelled. 21 visited in fact, not bad for a Brit. I’m sure there are Americans with a ‘full set’, and plenty of others with more than me, but given that 18 of those have come in the previous 10 years, its not bad. Yes, 3 of the New England states, (Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) were only visited in 1988, but the rest have either been visited again, or for the first time since 2003.

I think the one that would amuse most Brit’s that I havent visited, is one of the most popular states with us, Florida. No, never been there, and to be honest, its not at the top of my list, even excluding the 3 I will add to the collection next month. Kansas, and Missouri obviously, and I’m flying via Atlanta, so I can ‘state bag’ Georgia as well! Unless I get to Vermont in November (that state, and Maine are the only 2 in the North East I’m missing), I’m not quite sure when I even get to halfway.

Most of the misses are obvious ones, Alaska (I’d love to) and Hawaii really are too far, and the ‘redneck/deep south’ states really arent on my list, beyond maybe Alabama, due to someone I know online. Funnily enough, the other big miss is the Mid West, and Rockies zone, but at least I can right that a bit.

I’d like to hit 25 clearly, halfway point and all that. In a sense, I’d love to reach 30, but no idea how its going to happen. But for now, I look on it as a challenge, and maybe one day, probably when retired (and before health insurance goes crazy) I can get to Alaska, by splitting the journey both ways.

But for now, in just 4 and a half weeks time, I’ll be on the road again.

No, not Canned Heat, nor Willie Nelson, though I did consider both. But as a 30’s girl, this is probably far more suitable lol

Beyond the bit on the You Tube page, I know nothing about them

Like a ghost town

Lets get in another Iditarod related piece before the race is over. I know, it wont happen until next week, but I have only 1 chance in the next 9 days to blog, so lets go with it, while I can.

About a century ago, give or take a few years, Iditarod had a population of about 10,000 people. Nearby Flat, had a number between 6-8,000 depending on tales, and given their proximity, there may have been some double counting in there. On what is now the northern race route, was a much smaller community, Ophir, that got to between 100, and 200 people living in the area.

Now all have one thing in common, all are ghost towns. Iditarod was the first one to go, despite having been the largest, by the mid 1930’s, it was all but gone. Though strict ghost status only dates to this century, when the last trapper moved out of one of the derelict buildings, when he reckoned that the race coming through every 2 years made the place too lively for comfort!

Ophir survived the war years, but somewhere around the early 50’s, the gold ran out, and so did the last few people surviving there, heading for other points presumably?

Flat actually survived as a community until 10 years ago, though by then the population had dropped to 5! Then the post office closed, and like the mail, people no longer came to town. Funnily enough, the only one of the three not visited by the race, though I suspect a few trappers and the like, still make use of the buildings there.

I have no idea what its like to live in anywhere like the Alaskan wilderness of these areas, nor do I really want to, unless someone wants to provide an internet connection to the area lol! As for what it was like, a century ago, in the depths of winter, I hate to think.

But, at least all these places were once a community. Even more uniquely, there is one checkpoint en route, that only ever has people there when the race comes through, every 2 years! Cripple only exists as a checkpoint, to break up what would otherwise be nearly a 150 mile stretch between Ophir, and Ruby, not really practical. Its supposedly in one of the coldest spots in Alaska, in winter, and thats saying something! Probably why no one lives there!

I must admit, there is a perverse side of me that would love to visit Iditarod, just to see what its like now, and to imagine what it was like, just over a century ago, when the gold rush started there. Probably never will get there, but, until I know its out of the question, I can dream.

The video, a tribute to two tone music, and a comment on the Thatcher years over here, as well as an offering to these places

Get ready to race!

Yes, that time of year has come around again, its time for that short sprint known as the Iditarod dog race, just over 1000 miles! In fact this year, given that it traditionally now starts on the first Saturday in March, its as early as its possible for it to be. Yes, the big event really gets under way next Sunday, from Willow, but the people of Anchorage (and the Committee) would tell you that the grand start is in Anchorage next Saturday.

The funny thing is, given all the freezing cold weather, and snow that has hit the ‘main 48’ states this year in the US, the race committee had the opposite problem, a lack of snow on the trails! Indeed, it was only decided about a week ago that it was fine for the race to take its normal ‘even year’ (Northern) route, and not have to move the restart to Fairbanks, just to ensure enough snow for the dogs to race on. So Iditarod gets to remain a ghost town this year.

One sad omission from the race this year, that my regular readers will know about already, is Lance Mackey. Sadly, his health issues mean that he cant join the race this year. Oh, and in case you have a few spare dollars, the link to the fundraising campaign, and a better explanation of matters, is at

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3g2Dd

I would truly love to get to Nome, or even Anchorage some day, but its such a complicated (and immensely long) journey from here, that I’m not sure when it will happen. By the time I retire, and have the time to split the journey up, I probably wont be able to afford it, or the medical insurance to go to the US! But hopefully, some day…

Anyway, this is supposedly a piece about Anchorage, from the tourist people, but I dont see many shots of Anchorage itself lol! But a few dogs, pulling a sled, yes!