17 February 2017

Remembering Buzzwinkle, the Drunken Moose

Erik Hill / Anchorage Daily News A bull moose sporting Town Square holiday lights settles in at Bernie's Bungalow Lounge Tuesday November 27, 2007 downtown.
Every autumn in recent years our boreal neighbors in Sweden and Norway have regaled the rest of the world with tales of drunken moose. In most of the stories, the moose have gotten smashed eating fermented apples, the active ingredient in applejack.
Sweden and Norway have lots of moose and loads of apple trees. Alaska has fewer moose and a paucity of fruit trees, but where the two entities overlap -- in Anchorage, for example -- reports of drunken moose also abound. Alaska's best-known public inebriate may have been Buzzwinkle.
Making a spectacle of himself
Buzzwinkle's name was coined by Anchorage Daily News columnist Julia O'Malley in November 2007 after a moose downed a few too many fermented crabapple cocktails in the courtyard of Bernie's Bungalow Lounge, across the street from the Nordstrom store in downtown Anchorage. When O'Malley and I arrived, the massive bull was standing rigid, knees locked, with his wide-set eyes fixed in an inscrutable expression. A long strand of small white lights tangled in his antlers attested to some careless twig noshing in Town Square earlier in the day. The most obvious sign of life was the cloud of vapor venting from his nostrils with every deep exhalation. He was blotto, and he knew it. Too large to fit in a taxi, we left him to sleep it off in the fenced courtyard. After he revived, Anchorage Daily News photographer Erik Hill captured Buzzwinkle's unapologetic, nonchalant departure -- party lights still firmly affixed. [Above - Ed.]
... In his prime Buzzwinkle sported a rack more than 60 inches wide and stood over six feet tall. Because Anchorage residents often enliven Alaska's dark nights by stringing lights on shrubs, and shrubs attract moose, bulls frequently wrap strands of the lights around their antlers. Buzzwinkle was no exception. In fact, his massive antlers accidently disassembled more than their share of holiday lights.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Lucky Unalaska s out of moose range. imagine the disaster!

Rev. Paul said...

I hadn't thought of that - wow. :)

For my first four years here, I worked downtown. I remember him walking up & down the sidewalks, or occasionally walking the yellow line between lanes. He really did stop for red lights (probably taking his cue from the stopped cars), and then would stroll casually on his way when the green appeared. The tourists loved him - and so did we.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Buzzwinkle was awesome. Too drunk to be a threat, too used to city life to be a problem... though I note the reporters never talked about his habit of finishing off any daiquiris left outside when he came to visit! Crabapples. Yeah, "fermented crabapples." You know how many daiquiris and margaritas that moose finished off?

Old NFO said...

LOL, that is a great story!

Rev. Paul said...

Wing, I have a pretty good idea about that. One of the joys of the all-too-brief summers as a downtown worker was eating outdoors. But you quickly learned not to sit too close to the edge of any seating area, because mooch with antlers. LOL!

NFO, every word true. I saw him many times. He loved to wander 4th Avenue in the summer because of all the sidewalk food vendors, and inattentive tourists. :)

LindaG said...

Very good articles. Thank you, Reverend. Hope you all have a blessed weekend. ^_^

ProudHillbilly said...

Lol! Our biggest problem with fermented apples is yellow jackets, who are already in a pissy and aggresive mood.

Rev. Paul said...

I'm glad you liked it, Linda. You, too.

PH - I think yellowjackets are born in that pissy mood; it's a great timesaver. For them.