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Finally, a writer that realizes that there's just not enough good Alaskan humor!

"A Brief History of Alaska" by Keith Anderson

Last month, a group from church met up with some folks from a couple of  local churches and went on a missions trip to Alaska. To help prepare them for this trip, I put together this brief history of Alaska. Although no-one said so, I believe it helped them

 Alaska was discovered in the early 18th century by intrepid explorer Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  After claiming the land in the name of King Ferdinand of Isabella, he sold it to Tsar Nicholas, who reached into his bag of toys, which, having been emptied the previous evening in Nicholas’s annual trip around the world, contained only some beads and corn, which the native Esquimeaux called maize. Fairbanks gladly took his payment, and fled to Kansas, in he U.S., where he later gained notoriety for his exploits, traveling around the area planting corn (maize) seeds, while wearing a tin pot on his head. Legend has it that this pot had a small crack in it, which, as Fairbanks roamed the countryside sowing corn, grew wider. This is said to be the origin of the use of the phrase ‘cracked pot’ in referring to anyone with bizarre behavioral patterns. ‘Cracked pot’ quickly became shortened to the more familiar ‘crackpot’, which is still in use.  Fairbanks eventually became a sort of folk legend, known widely as Johnny Cornseed (Maizeseed).

  After several decades of widespread trapping, hunting, clubbing, harpooning, and general mayhem directed at the native Alaskan penguin, the species was so nearly driven to distraction and extinction that Tsar Nicholas was forced (by beheading) to abdicate his throne. His sister, the Tsarina Cattress, who orchestrated the beheading, assumed the throne upon his abdication. Seeing the sorry state he had allowed the Alaskan territories to sink to, she decided to wash her hands of the whole stinking mess, and started trying to find a buyer.  By the middle of the early 18th century, she had succeeded in foisting Alaska off on the United States of America.

  The purchase of Alaska became known in America as ‘Fulton’s Folly’, named after Bishop Fulton. The bishop was known for his fiery sermons and theatrical speeches, which he often performed while wearing a $4000 robe, complete with cape, and while smoking a cigarette, which he used both as a prop, and as a method of delivering nicotine, to which he was addicted, into his bloodstream. Unfortunately, when it became common knowledge that Fulton’s Folly actually referred to the steamboat, the Bishop, humiliated, died of old age in his sleep.

  By the end of the early 18th century, the American public had come to refer to the purchase of Alaska as ‘Seward’s Folly’, after the Secretary Of The Interior Design, Picard Seward, the man who had actually forked over government cash to the Russians for what was considered by all to be nothing more than a vast, lifeless, frozen wasteland. However, before the ink was dry on the bill of sale, gold was discovered by two intrepid explorers, Yukon Jack and Klondike Barr. Jack and Barr had been traveling the Alaskan wilderness, poaching what little was left of the Alaskan penguin population. One day, while shooting at some food, up from the ground came a bubbling crude. Black gold. While they stayed at the site of their first strike mining the gold, all was quiet. But when Jack and Barr had filled their sacks with their treasure, they went to Fairbanks to have the gold assayed.  It did not take long before word leaked out, and the Alaskan gold rush was begun.
  Soon, intrepid explorers from all over the globe had made their way to Alaska  in hopes of repeating Jack and Barr’s incredible find. Most of their plans came  to naught. Many froze to death in the sub-Arctic winter. Many more gave up, disheartened after breaking and splitting their nails on the permafrost, and finding nothing but trouble for their troubles. Many became disoriented, unable  to find their bearings in the tractless white vastness of the Alaskan wilderness, and wandered lost, only to be set upon and have their hearts torn out by small bands of the ferocious Alaskan penguins. Then, it was discovered that the Alaskan gold was truly black gold, and was, therefore, nearly worthless. After its proud and glorious beginning, the Alaskan gold rush came, sputtering, to a quiet and ignoble end.

  For the rest of the beginning of the 18th century all was quiet in Alaska, and would have stayed so, but for the coming of World War II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, America was drawn into World War II in a big way. After the war was won, a grateful nation was looking for a way to honor the memory of the heroes who had fought and died, and the heroes who had lived and fought at Pearl Harbor. Soon it was decided to accept Hawaii into the United States as the newest state. However, since Hawaii was as near to paradise on earth as could be found, it was thought that making Hawaii a state would leave some of the other states looking rather shabby, and downright trailer-parkish by comparison. A proposition was put forth that a more unpleasant, inhospitable place could be found, and accepted as a state into union at the same time as Hawaii, thereby balancing out the whole equation. All eyes turned towards the Alaskan Territories. What more unpleasant, inhospitable place could be found? That the area was already owned by the United States made the decision all the easier, and in 1959, both Hawaii and Alaska were accepted into the United States of America as the 49th and 50th states.

  In the early 21st century, a group of intrepid explorers, most of them young missionaries from New England, made their way to Alaska. Settling finally in the port city of Ketchikan, they began a series of works that would change Alaska forever.


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