Read this book for advice you'll probably never need -- about how to scare a big bearded guy out of your house with four simple words or how to derail a North Slope natural gas deal using two pounds of lean hamburger. Or simply enjoy a rural Alaska perspective on a wide range of early 21st century topics. In these pages you'll find bite-sized takes on restless teenagers, twisted nature movies, Haiti's tragic earthquake, big box stores, civics, cell phones, civility and the contradictory behavior of sub-atomic particles in auroral research, as well as a look at the equally contradictory legacy of Governor Sarah Palin.
There's plenty to do in the Copper River Valley, even in the middle of winter, but small-town newspaper editor Mary Odden takes time to unpack some serious and timely subjects for her readers, including how to twist an Alaskan into an angry pretzel over gun rights or how the 49th state goes a wee bit overboard to appeal to tourists, handing out "a breath-taking mix of truth and polyurethane" in ads and reality shows, while neglecting the roadside toilets.
Sometimes personal, Who's Driving mourns the passing of pioneers and elders who knew a different Alaska, or the passing from the house of teens-turned-adults who left behind a jar of toothbrushes of dubious ownership and a row of beauty-gunk rings around the tub, "mysterious as crop circles."
Funny or brimming with serious affection for family and neighbors, Who's Driving columns remind us that Alaska's out back is not just a scenic destination or an adventurous hunting or fishing trip, but a good place to think about generosity and justice and other big-ticket items we still aspire to.