Sarah Palin’s just all over the map

I don’t know about all of you, but I haven’t been able to break away from watching the live hearings being televised on C-SPAN as Alaska legislators debate the proposal to rename their state in honor of Sarah Palin.

The debate, in case you haven’t been following this, isn’t over whether to change the state’s name. Everyone’s in agreement on that — of course!

The argument is over whether to change the name of Alaska to PALINSKA or PALASKA.

I think it’s a no-brainer. Think about it. What gets Sarah Palin really mad? When she sees all of those fat cats in Washington, D.C, our nation’s capital, spending our money like it’s their money and like you and I have magic wallets or pocketbooks that just keep making more and more greenbacks, right? Ten thousand dollar toilets? Health care for everyone? Spending zillions of dollars on alternative energy when there’s tons of oil right there under those melting glaciers up there in Alaska?

So it really comes down to money. If  “Alaska” becomes “Palinska” that will require changing “Ala” to “Palin,” which involves a total of eight letters, which would have to be changed on every single map, in every single book, on every “Greetings from Alaska” postcard, and every single “Welcome to Alaska, Where Sarah Palin’s From” sign. Eight letters to change in every single place Alaska is mentioned. Lots of money we can’t afford to spend.

On the other hand, change the name of Alaska to “Palaska” and there’s only the one letter “P” to add. Way cheaper.

So, come on, Alaska legislators! Stop arguing. Just look at these two maps. Here’s what the map looks like now:

And here’s what it should look like after you all stop arguing:

Case closed! Welcome to Palaska!


Sarah Palin’s visit is one for the books

Note: Traffic on this site soars whenever I mention Sarah Palin. So I’ve decided to write something about her at least once a week. Here’s this week’s Sarah Palin report:

Faithful readers of “World of Wonders” know that I posted several entries in recent weeks about the Feb. 20 grand opening of friend Steven Hart’s bookstore, Nighthawk Books, in Highland Park, N.J.  Well, the event went as well as I hoped it would — and then some!

Hundreds of people visited Steve’s store during the course of the day-long celebration.

AND….Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance!

What else can I say? Two weeks ago I reported seeing Sarah out on the New Jersey Turnpike, probably on her way to some high-paying speaking engagement, but instead saying “Well, the heck with that! I’m going to forget about that high-paying speaking engagement and help people dig their cars out of the snow!” One week ago I reported on Sarah’s amazing ice-skating performance at the Olympics up there in Canada (which is the country next to Alaska).

And now here was Sarah Palin — a highly educated woman who I believe actually attended something like six colleges but probably isn’t much of a reader because she’s so busy trying to become president – stopping at my friend’s bookstore.  In her impromptu speech, Sarah said she wanted to her “support of Mom-and-Pop type businesses and also this amazing bookstore run by Steve Hart that is filled with so many books that it makes you realize that there’s lots and lots of books you probably will never find the time to read, gosh darn it, but it’s good to know they’re there in case you feel like reading a book…”

Thanks, Sarah, for supporting my friend’s new independent bookstore — and for so graciously signing my second-hand copy of “Call of the Wild” by Jack London.

P.S. Yes, I’ll tell you what Sarah wrote: “To Nicholas DiGiovanni — Stop by and visit us next time if you’re ever up there in Alaska. Signed, Sarah Palin” And no, in case any of you were thinking about it, the book is not for sale!

Let’s help Nighthawk soar to new heights

Nighthawk Books, that is, owned and operated by friend Steven Hart in Highland Park, N.J. The grand opening this Saturday will kick off with a book signing by Mary McAvoy, who will also read from her new novel “Love’s Compass.” Other literary and music events are planned through the day and evening.

Here’s the store, which has plenty of free parking right next-door:

I’ll be there. I hope readers of “World of Wonders” will find time to be there, too, on Feb. 20. (I’ll buy you a cup of coffee).

Sarah rises to the occasion

Note: Traffic on this site soars whenever I mention Sarah Palin. So I’ve decided to write something about her at least once a week. Here’s this week’s Sarah Palin report:

She’s been a mayor. She’s been a governor. She’s been a candidate for vice president. She may try to become the actual president. And she’s already a TV commentator on the “fair and balanced” news channel, even though she’s never been an actual journalist. So I’m already impressed, right?

But then I’m at the gym this morning, and I’m watching TV while pedaling on the stationary bicycle, and the “Today” show people are broadcasting from the Winter Olympics in Calgary and  showing highlights of the previous night’s competition, and wouldn’t you know it…

There’s Sarah Palin competing in the figure-skating competition and completing the first-ever triple quadruple quintuple camel axel topped off by a 30-foot-high Salchow jump ( I though she was going to hit her head on the roof of the ice rink!) and concluding with a 5-minute death spin done in perfect sync with a speeded-up recording of Ravel’s “Bolero.”

How did Sarah Palin not win the gold medal? My guess is that the Russians paid off the judges. But in my heart and in my soul, I know Sarah was the real winner —  because Sarah Palin already has a heart of gold, which is way more important than any Winter Olympics gold medal, gosh darn it.

Sarah Palin to the rescue!

One of the highest-traffic days ever for “Nicholas DiGiovanni’s World of Wonders” was a day during the presidential campaign when I wrote a satirical piece suggesting that Sarah Palin’s presence on the GOP ticket as the vice-presidential candidate was actually the fulfillment of the Book of Revelation’s apocalyptic vision as described in the secret message revealed by the opening of the Seventh Seal.

There were hundreds upon hundreds of page views and visitors (many of whom, I’m certain, thought the piece was factual, not satirical).

What did I learn?

One, that I guess I misread the Book of Revelation’s signs — Sarah didn’t get elected.

Two, I can draw many readers to my Web site (and its thought-provoking and eclectic mix of literary essays, humor pieces, cultural commentaries and original fiction) by once a week posting stuff I make up about Sarah Palin, who’s still out there running for something or other.

So here’s this week’s Sarah Palin report:

I rode out yesterday’s near-blizzard in New Jersey at a hotel located within a few hundred feet of the New Jersey Turnpike. At the height of the storm, I looked out at traffic crawling along that highway, saw a number of vehicles stranded in the breakdown lane — and there was SARAH PALIN, I’m assuming on the way to some Tea Party speaking engagement, and she was helping people dig out their cars and pushing them out of roadside snowbanks. She probably does stuff like this all the time when she’s up there in Alaska, but nevertheless it was really nice of her to take time off from her busy schedule to help people who were stranded by the snowstorm in New Jersey. She may actually have saved a few lives! I’m sure Sarah will be really low-key about her heroine-ism, but I think she deserves recognition.

A night so cold, a heart so warm

Photo by Joe McLaughlin/

He might be a character in a movie. Maybe someone who’s sitting in the shadows of a Tom Waits lyric or a Charles Bukowski poem,  the lonely middle-aged guy who’s sitting alone at a booth in the back of the bar. And it’s nighttime, and there’s music playing on a jukebox, and the guy’s nursing his drink, pretending like he’s waiting for someone. But then he leaves — alone — and returns to his room at some anonymous hotel, The guy stays on the phone until the wee hours. There’s a snowstorm turning into a blizzard outside. He gazes out the window and watches cars and trucks slipping and sliding slowly along the New Jersey Turnpike. Then he tries to fall asleep, and he does, but a loud conversation in the second-floor hallway at 4 in the morning awakens him, and the guy rolls over in the king-sized bed and there’s no one on the other side, and he’s thinking of the song which asks “Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks/ while we’re trying to be so quiet? We’re sitting here stranded/though we’re all doing our best to deny it…” But then dawn breaks and the guy’s thinking it’s all about faith. And so his instructions say please send this bouquet quickly, direct from my heart to her heart, which I could hear beating softly but clearly faraway in the night, her heart which is so warm that it can melt the deepest snow.

Cool songs, cold climes (a winter’s tale)

I’ve spent a lot of time in New England this winter, but somehow I’ve managed to avoid serious snow.

Lately, though, snow’s been following me around.

I just got back from two weeks in Virginia, at a writers/artists retreat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and my popularity skyrocketed when a fluke snowstorm hit and my fellow writers/artists learned I’d driven down there in my 4-wheel-drive Ford SUV.

Then I ended up leaving the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts one day early, spooked by weather forecasts of a freakish monster storm — good thing I fled, as the storm dumped upwards of 30 inches on the region.

And now I’m hunkered down in Central New Jersey as a blizzard or near-blizzard is barreling in, expected to leave behind as much as 18 inches of snow, which will be whipped around tomorrow by winds of 40 mph.

But I’ve got a warm place to stay, I’ve got food, I’ve got the two most recent issues of  two issues of the New Yorker magazine, I’ve got my laptop, I’ve got my cellphone and I’ve got a view of the N.J. Turnpike.

And I’ve got three perfect songs.  They’ve all got that stark, cold, lonely sound of winter.

New England’s own Tom Rush sings Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going”:

Lindisfarne performs the beautiful “Winter Song”:

But let’s not succumb to those Cabin Fever Blues…Albert Collins sings about being “Snowed In”:

Let it snow!