Palin Exposes Real Northern Exposure for Alaska

Except, moose really do cross the road, like they did in "Northern Exposure." And it's not uncommon for city dwellers to encounter bears and sometimes be hurt by them. And yes, the winters are cold, though no colder than some other cities. It's the length of the winters and the five hours of daylight that people have to adjust to.

"You have to get used to that, but so do people living in Seattle where it rains all the time," Haycox said. "You adapt. People here look at the trade off, which is the exhilaration of the light in the summertime. Any time you want, you can be outside."

That's because the sun does not set for weeks during the summer in Alaska. In the film "Insomnia," from 2002, Al Pacino's character, a cop from Los Angeles, suffers from insomnia because of the endless daylight and becomes increasingly paranoid throughout the film.

"I don't think a lot of daylight induces insomnia," Haycox said. "It's really an invention."

Alaskan Pride

Nor do men grow in trees, like the title of ABC's recently canceled "Men in Trees," starring Anne Heche, implied. The show was inspired by the famous Alaskan myth that there were 10 single men for every single woman and given credence by Oprah Winfrey when a dozen Alaskan men appeared on her show in 1989.

It's yet another pop culture stereotype that has Alaskans chuckling rather than bristling.

"Everybody likes the cache that comes with being thought of as unusual when they 'go outside,'" Haycox said, using the slang for the lower continental states. "People take great pride in being Alaskan. So if you go outside and you don't have good bear story or good small airplane story, then you're no good at all."

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