Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: Sorry about that column

Each year our massive staff normally sets aside a few columns to reply to inquiries and comments about Unhinged Alaska subject matters. Sadly, they were remiss in doing so this past year.

Sorry about that.

So, in 2024, they have culled several of the questionable communiqués from a multitude of 2023 sources and carried them over in hopes that those readers will try again without the aid of Jack Daniels or turbo bong infusions.

Honestly, how do some of you manage to slur your emails?

Here we go.

Q: “Your buddy Willie comes across as likable loon who is a bit of a scallywag going through life one step ahead of multiple misdemeanor warrants. What do you get a guy like that for Christmas?”

K.B. Soldotna

A: A laminated billfold-sized card featuring local bail bondsmen contact info and a promise to check on his chickens. “His” being a relative term.

A statement: “There are those of us in the local writing community who believe that your author nomenclature may be a pseudonym. It is surmised that the “Unhinged” eclectic stories are progenies from the minds of various serious authors who would otherwise disdain being associated with humorous anecdotes that could possibly tarnish their staid reputations. The Clarion and the Homer News should own up to the fact.”

N.L. Kenai

A: Huh?

Q: “I remember that you used to share stories about your reprobate dog Howard and his new companion, a mini mutt named, Little Bear. How did that relationship work out before they each made their final crossing of the Rainbow Bridge?”

P.F. Seward

A: Well, thank you for asking and bringing back some cool memories.

They had a rough start due to the dynamic doggie differentials such as size, personal hygiene, intelligence, feeding habits and overall cultural proclivities.

Little Bear was a refined lady while Howard was as attractive as swamp gas with a matching IQ.

At first, we thought that she would have a positive influence on Howard. Unfortunately, she had about as much impact on cleaning his act as I would clearing the winter ice off the Sterling Highway with a Bic lighter.

She was one of those little balls of fur that everyone “ooohs and aaahs” over. He was a grotesque mat of fur that people mistook for a massive heap of discarded moose hide until he moved and scared the bejeezus out of them.

She was bright and learned quickly while his intellect gave new meaning to the term, “inert mass.”

She daintily picked food nuggets out of her bowl, while quietly chewing each morsel and was economical to feed. He engulfed meals faster than a nuclear-powered wet vac, sounded like a stump grinder and had monthly meat requirements determined by the herd rather than the bag.

Q. We enjoyed reading your rants about snagging scofflaws working the Homer Fishing Hole during the summer. It was funny stuff but why do the authorities let that sort of disgusting practice go on?

H.T.P. Anchorage

A. I’ve thought long and hard about the problem and have dedicated several blocks of seconds trying to come up with answers.

It could be that it’s just simply bureaucratic compassion for the totally incompetent who couldn’t catch a fish without using trawling gear in a holding pond.

My vet bro, Turk, suggests that they should have a special a pink run for the angling impaired in The Hole.

It would be an “anything goes” opening, allowing angling tactics up to and including small skiffs with depth charge capabilities and 12-foot set nets. Once the ravenous little critters are wiped out, the next run would consist of silvers exclusively reserved for those who wish to practice lawful sport fishing via proper gear, lures and regulations adherence.

Yeah, I know, dream on.

Finally, I would like to address a missive from Lucy M. of Seattle Washington who seems to be deeply worried about my wife Jane.

“Dear Nick, I have been married for forty-two years, raised nine children along with multiple dogs and cats. We have had our share of weird friends and experiences but have never come close to the chaos that seems to permeate your lifestyle. How does your poor wife cope with it all?”

A: Cope with what? She was raised with so many brothers and sisters that the State of Ohio designated their farm as a minor municipality. She is an expert at dealing with multiple instances of pandemonium. Take ole Howard, Wild Willie, and our latest mayhem inducer, a psycho cur named Luna as primo examples. Other than a few minor nervous tics, she’s doing just fine.

Thanks for all the letters gang. Keep them coming but don’t forget. If you’re too buzzed too drive, you’ll probably start slurring your emails again.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t trying to carve out a luge run on what was once their driveway.

More in Life

Getting creative with camping

Making healthy, diverse meals while outdoors takes some planning

James Franklin Bush was arrested and jailed for vagrancy and contributing to the delinquency of minors in California in 1960, about a year before the murder in Soldotna of Jack Griffiths. (Public document from
A violent season — Part 4

James Franklin “Jim” Bush stood accused of the Soldotna murder of Jack Griffiths in October 1961

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Hard to say goodbye

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve been perfectly happy with my 14-year-old, base model pickup truck.

Minister’s Message: Faith will lead to God’s abundance

Abundance is in many aspects of our lives, some good and some not.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Lisa Parker, vice mayor of Soldotna, celebrates after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Peninsula Oilers and the Mat-Su Miners on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
Kenai and Soldotna square off once more in ‘King of the River Food Drive’

Food can be donated at the food bank or at either city’s chamber of commerce

These noodles are made with only three ingredients, but they require a bit of time, patience, and a lot of elbow grease. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Filling the time with noodles

These noodles are made with only three ingredients, but they require a bit of time, patience and a lot of elbow grease

[csC1—]Jack and Alice Griffiths, owners of the Circus Bar, pose together in about 1960. (Public photo from
A violent season — Part 3

The second spirit, said Cunningham, belonged to Jack Griffiths….

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
The Kenai Potter’s Guild’s annual exhibition, “Clay on Display,” is seen at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday.
Expression in a teapot at July art center show

Kenai Art Center’s annual pottery show takes front gallery, with memories of Japan featured in the back

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Attendees take food from a buffet during the grand opening of Siam Noodles and Food in Kenai on Tuesday.
Soldotna Thai restaurant expands to Kenai

The restaurant is next to Jersey Subs in Kenai where Thai Town used to be located

Ruth Ann and Oscar Pederson share smiles with young Vicky, a foster daughter they were trying to adopt in 1954. This front-page photograph appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on June 17, 1954.
A violent season — Part 2

Triumph, tragedy and mystery

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes it’s not cool to mention heat

Thanks for the joke fest material rolling into our Unhinged Alaska headquarters folks but chill out.