Joel Orelove is my youngest brother. He promised his family that he would retire from a no-win venture like letter writing. As his brother, I want to assure Mr. Ralph Swap, and your readers, that although Joel is at times silly, he is not stupid, nor is he mundane.
Those qualities belong to Frank, Alaska's current senator. Joel has told me of the Alaska phrase "we don't care how they do it outside." I can assure you that outsiders find Frank not overly analytical or intelligent. Now, it is OK to be afraid. If bullets or anthrax were coming my way, I would get out of harm's direction. Fear leads to survival. However, Frank has survived, but he has not done it that well: He was a very mediocre banker and possesses no real understanding of world markets. He may not be a disaster as governor, but he would not be above mediocre.
As an aside, the one error Joel made is in assuming that Arabs are responsible for the anthrax dispersal. Despite what your newspapers report, anthrax spores could probably be gathered at your local cemetery and an average high school class is more than capable of producing "weapon-sized" anthrax. Most research institutions also have supplies of anthrax.
So, Joel owes an apology not to Mr. Swap, but to the Arab people.
Joel told me that Juneau is the Berkeley of Alaska. With comments like Ralph's it seems like a soggy Orange County. As Joel says: "I have always considered myself an Elvis Fan first, an omnivore second and friend of Nigeria, third."
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