Alterin' Al Nordling, famous for changing looks and outlooks more often than some people change their underwear, has once again had a change of political face.

Once a Conservative Party MLA, then an Independent Party MLA, then a Really Independent MLA, then a Really Independent MLA Who Hangs Out A Lot With The Tories MLA, Nordling has now decided to become a full-fledged "Yukon" Party MLA -- at least on Mondays and Thursdays.

"The way it works is like this," explains Nordling. "I'm a 'Yukon' Party member two days out of the week, an Independent two other days of the week, and then either an Independent or a "Yukon" Party member on alternating Fridays. Unless, of course, that Friday happens to fall in the Feast of Ramadan, in which case I'm a Moslem Fundamentalist MLA; or unless there's a full moon on that Friday, in which case I turn into a wolf and go out and eat caribou."

"It's not really as addle-headed as it sounds," explains one of Mr. Nordling's three campaign managers (the "Yukon" Party manager; Nordling also has an Independent Party campaign Manager and an animal trainer who keeps him in line when he turns into a wolf and goes out killing caribou).

"The basic idea is that a politician should represent all of his constituents. Now, Al's just the man to do that. He not only sees both sides of any question, he sees ALL sides of any question, even sides that aren't even there. You just gotta love the guy. Unless, of course, you hate him. In which case, just give him a couple of days and he'll come around to your way of thinking."

A recent hostage-taking incident in front of the Kopper King Tavern in Whitehorse resulted in no casualties, but three dozen killed, R.C.M.P. sources report.

The incident started at about 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon, when Berty Fartbarkle, a local U.I.C. recipient, discovered he had forgotten his wallet and brought his .22 to the bar instead. Unable to sell his rifle because of recent firearms control legislation, the impecunious pub-rat ran amok and broke into the back of a beer delivery truck.

The R.C.M.P. were quickly alerted and activated their SWAT team. The SWAT team, after a minor delay involving an armed stand-off with their dispatcher, arrived at the scene some thirty minutes later, armed with M16's, sniper rifles, a Manual Portable Launcher, and a social worker to handle the human-relations end of the business.

"It was a dicey situation," the SWAT team leader (who could not be identified under his balaklava) told TNI. "By the time we got there, the guy had already been through the better part of a twelve-pack, and he was in an ugly, confrontational mood. He even took a leak on our social worker."

The police resorted to psychological-influence techniques to gain control of the situation, playing Nana Mouskouri records at full volume in a effort to sooth the man's agitation, or at least bore him into submission. This effort had to be called off, however, when it threatened to turn into an armed confrontation with the other Kopper King Tavern patrons, whose tastes ran more to Ted Nugent.

The hostage-taker, meanwhile, was demanding complete immunity for the incident, plus twenty bucks and taxi fare to the Capital Hotel. He threatened to kill a hostage every twenty minutes until his demands were met.

"We thought the incident would be over in an hour or two, at that rate of consumption," says the SWAT team leader. "Unfortunately, we underestimated this guy. He is a seasoned criminal and an even more seasoned bar fly. He made good on his threat for a full four hours before he finally pissed himself and passed out. Hey, say what you want about him, but this guy is serious Yukon."

Berty Fartbarkle is slated to appear in court next week, or when he is sober enough to stand trial, whichever comes first. In a related story, the R.C.M.P. is currently reviewing its policy of playing Nana Mouskouri records at people who have not yet been convicted of any criminal offense.

I'm madder than Jacques Perizeau at a Bay Street Chinese smorgasbord about the kind of treatment us Yukon travellers get from Canadian Air International, for crying out loud!

First of all, where does Canadian Air get off squashing people into narrow little seats like that? Canadians don't snuggle up that close to each other unless they've just finished having sex, for crying out loud! And then they can usually at least have a cigarette!

Between the press and claustrophobia and nicotine starvation, I got so muddled that I told the guy next to me I really did respect him as a human being, and I'd be sure to phone him tomorrow. Boy, was my face red! Especially after he stopped pounding on it with that French golfing magazine!

Now, there's a story behind that French golfing magazine, too. If you absolutely have to fly Canadian Air (which is the only time you should do it), make sure you get a seat up around row ten or forward. That's the only way you're gonna get all the free stuff they hand out that you've already paid through the nose for.

They always start giving that stuff away at the front of the plane; and with the magazines, by the time they get to row sixteen, all you've got to read is that French golfing magazine my face got pounded with. That's okay if you're a French golfer, but the guy beside me wasn't a French golfer, which might explain why he was so pissed off to begin with.

Another reason to sit way up front is that that's where they start handing out the food, too. If you're right up front, you get your choice of dinner and the actual time you need to eat it. If you're back where I was, you end up with whatever flavour of hockey puck they have left, and you've got ten minutes to choke it down before they take it away from you and force you to lock up that punky little table they give you to eat off of. Babies in high chairs get more room to work with, for Pete's sake!

To be fair, though, it doesn't matter whether you get you choice of dinner, 'cause it's like a choice between a Tory and a Liberal in an election: there may be a difference, but not so's you'd notice.

Me, I had the chicken breast, which was about the size of a looney, and tasted like chicken, 'cause it didn't actually taste like anything. A guy I talked to later had the beef steak, which was about the size of a looney, too; and he said it also tasted like chicken, 'cause it didn't really taste like anything.

And that got me to thinking: If you get chicken breasts and steaks the size of loonies, does Canadian Air have a special ranch somewhere where they grow, like, really really tiny chickens and really really tiny cows? By my calculations, a chicken with a breast the size of a loony can't be more than seven inches tall; and a cow with a butt end the size of a loony can't be much more than eighteen inches to the withers.

The chickens I can understand, 'cause you can keep them in a coop where you can keep track of them; and that's probably where they get those tiny little eggs they serve on the breakfast flights. But the cows have me stumped. How do you ride heard on eighteen inch cows? If you don't mow your range, they're gonna get lost in the grass, for one thing.

I should ask about that the next time I'm a passenger on a Canadian Air flight. On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever be a passenger on another Canadian Air flight. Me, I'm gonna take flying lessons, so I can so I can sit right up in the darn cockpit so I can finally get some elbow room and all that other stuff I'm supposed to be getting for my money.

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