Welcome to a very special edition of Friday in the Sun where we’re getting into the holiday spirit in the way only a professional procrastinator can: By putting a last-minute gift guide together at the last minute.
Have yourself a nice holiday week. We’ll be putting together some best-of and worst-of lists for the year this next week. If you have any suggestions/nominations, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or yell at me via Twitter.
Anyways, let’s get to the holiday shopping and, as always, shop local!
For the cash-strapped government – Donation boxes
The conservative/libertarian small-government dream was made a reality this week when the Alaska DMV announced that, hey, it was going to be soliciting donations for a program to get REAL ID out to rural parts of Alaska. It’s an idea that’s long been floated, particularly up at the Fairbanks North Star Borough where Rep. Tammie Wilson and others have suggested that parks should just have donation boxes, and until we figure out a way for people to collectively contribute to the cost of government it’ll have to do.
But seeing as how the administration has probably already spent all its money on Facebook ad campaigns and cushy contracts to donors’ kids, they’ll probably need some help setting up donation boxes. So this holiday season, consider donating a donation box.
$30 to $1,000+
For Mat-Su – Some more Alaska State Troopers
Really, you can never have too many. They’ll go well with the additional representation the area is due in the next round of redistricting.
Starting at $72,768
For the person who just needs to get away – Alaska Airlines gift card
Know someone who’s feeling down with the crummy weather? A couple in dire need of a romantic getaway? A governor who’s waist-deep in a recall of his own making?
Then consider getting them a trip to somewhere warm, somewhere special or somewhere where they can be safely insulated from the bipartisan backlash through a series of hand-picked interviews with friendly conservative media outlets and some face-to-face time with the President.
Oh, and consider getting them a set of noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the boos from fellow passengers.
For the foodie – A properly funded dairy inspector
According to dairy aficionados, there’s nothing quite like the Alaska-made milk from Palmer’s Havemeister Dairy. Unfortunately, this year’s budget just doesn’t have any room for milk money. Without it, the program is slated to end and you’ll have to go back to chugging Darigold or give some of that raw, unpasteurized stuff a go.
For the businessman – A no-bid state contract
Is the booming economic recovery leaving the downtrodden business owner in your life behind? Then cure that right up with a no-bid, sole-source contract from the State of Alaska! No-bid, sole-source contracts come in a wide variety of options.
If your friend doesn’t want to wait for the award or doesn’t have a specialized set of skills, there’s always a wide variety of political appointments available with the administration… as long as they have at least one Facebook profile picture with a “Mike Dunleavy for Governor” frame.
Make checks payable to “Stand Tall With Mike”
For the political cause – A Santa Claus endorsement
Sure, North Pole City Councilman Santa Claus may just be another man in a long line of men who’ve called themselves Santa Claus, but to everyone in Southcentral he’s still a magical, wonderful oddity whose endorsement can be the basis of a widely shared Facebook post or tweet. Gotta get those impressions!
And, heck, if you can’t track down Councilman Claus, just find a red velvet jacket with fluffy white cuffs.
Milk and cookies
For the Southeast resident – A fully funded ferry system
Does your friend from Southeast keep dropping hints by complaining about the lack of groceries and asking you to fly in with a bag of broccoli and a tomato when you visit? Or by asking you to donate to a GoFundMe page so their high school sports team can travel?
Then a properly funded Alaska Marine Highway System is the perfect gift this season!
For the seniors – A year-long cruise
With the skyrocketing prices for Alaska’s Pioneer Homes, a year-long cruise is starting to look like a cheaper alternative.
$15,000 to $200,000
For the road tripper – A snow shovel
For those in your life who make the drive between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, a snow shovel will come in handy in light of the Department of Transportation’s announcement that it’s going to close the Silver Tip Maintenance station throughout the winter. Despite a recent sign change, changing it from “No Night Maintenance” to “Winter Driving Conditions,” no, the governor and department have not had a change of heart.
The station is still closed but, to quote Sen. Peter Micciche, “Credit where credit is due.”
$30 to $60
For those consumed by the terror of modern politics/the gamers – An Oculus Quest
Never before has virtual reality been as easy as it is with the Oculus Quest headset. It’s an all-in-one device that doesn’t require a high-end computer to visit a virtual world and escape from the existential dread of a modern political atmosphere that has empowered and normalized casual racism, xenophobia and misogyny.
The controllers bring over the same excellent ease of usability as the original Oculus Rift controllers, making it easy to interact with and work up a sweat with games like “Beat Saber” even though Alaska’s warmest year on record has made outdoor recreating an, at-best, icy mess.
Oculus has some of the best virtual reality games out there and the optional Link Cable ($79) allows you to connect the headset to a PC, allowing you jump into the upcoming “Half-Life: Alyx” due out in March 2020 just in time to escape whatever unforeseen nightmare is dominating headlines.
But alas you can’t totally escape from increasingly Big Brother-esque realities of 2019 because Oculus is, after all, owned by Facebook.
$400 for the 64GB version