Freezing Isn't the Only Thing to Do in Alaska

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What do you do if you're the only cop in a teeny, remote village above the Arctic Circle on Alaska's Barter Island other than be really, really cold most of the time?

If you're Richie Holschen (which in all likelihood, you are not), you run an elaborate and undeniably comical chapstick business out of the village police station.

Holschen, who admits to having a lot of spare time on his hands when guarding the village jail late at night during Alaska's notoriously long, dark winters to think about "things" and "caffeine," is the maker of Spazzstick, a lip balm infused with caffeine that boasts a Web site sure to leave you rolling on the floor — assuming, of course that you can calm your caffeinated nerves enough to read it, The Anchorage Daily News reports.

Since his stroke of brilliance to create the lip-saving, eye-peeling balm 18 months ago, Holschen has made more than 13,000 tubes of the stuff, most of which have been sold online. And he even hands it out to the locals for free.

"I don't charge the local folks," Holschen says. "I've actually sent a couple of people I've arrested home with Spazzstick."

But before the stimulant-crazed among you buzz out the door to buy up a batch, know this: Spazzstick doesn't actually give you a caffeine high. Each application — though perfectly acceptable in its soothing capabilities — is equal to roughly a sip of coffee. But chapstick-happy Alaskans, who routinely endure brutal weather that calls for fiendishly frequent application, could conceivably notice a difference.

But a man like Holschen clearly believes a crazy idea should be complemented with an equally crazy marketing strategy. He's created a Web site for his product which explains all about how the product is made -- "in a beautiful little Eskimo Village called Kaktovik, AK, by the inventor ... and his hordes of worker trolls in a vast underground volcano lair" -- and answers some seriously sideways FAQs like"I've been bitten by a squirrel; what do I do?"

For example, when asked whether Spazztick is tested on animals, Holschen provides spins this yarn:

"No, Spazzstick has never been tested on animals. The only animals in the area are Arctic Fox, Caribou, and Polar Bears. We can't catch the Foxes, and putting lip balm on a Caribou is no picnic, so we don't even try. No one was willing to get close enough to a polar bear to put lip balm on it.

"Except for Dwayne. He once tried to put lip balm on a Polar Bear. He said the Polar Bear looked like he had chapped lips. He also thought the Polar Bear wanted to be his friend.

"We miss him."

Thanks to Out There reader Steve R.

Jailbirds Belly Up to Bars All the Time ... Vertical Ones

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Town officials have nixed an idea for a jailhouse bar.

The Select Board, acting as the town liquor board, rejected an inmate's application to sell liquor from the state prison.

Paul Murphy of Worcester, Mass., is serving time at the Southern State Correctional Facility for aggravated assault, escape and passing bad checks. He said in an application for a first- and second-class liquor license that he wanted to sell liquor from his home, which he listed as 700 Charlestown Road. That also happens to be the address of the state prison just east of downtown Springfield.

Regardless of the bid to have liquor delivered to a prison, town officials say many portions of the application were left blank.

"We determined that the application was incomplete," said Town Manager Robert Forguites.

Springfield officials were surprised to receive the application.

They assumed prison officials would have caught it before it was sent and they believed the state Liquor Control Department also would have stopped it.

Prison officials say they review incoming mail in the presence of an inmate to ensure it doesn't contain contraband. But they don't look at mail sent by prisoners. And Liquor Control Department officials say they had not received the application.

They said they don't conduct a background check on an applicant until town officials have approved. If they'd received Murphy's, they said, it would have been rejected.

Thanks to Out There reader John M.

Highly-Trained Clothes-Removers Plan Randy River Raid

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) — In the midst of attempts to crack down on raunchy and rowdy behavior during traditional summertime tubing river trips through this city, a San Antonio topless club is planning a tubing excursion featuring strippers.

Trey Maddox, a manager at Palace Men's Club, said Sunday's excursion — during which men can pay $25 to join the strippers — isn't meant to fly in the face of the city's new rules.

"We're not hookers, dope dealers or Mafia thugs," he said, noting that the strippers will be appropriately dressed. "We're just coming to have a good time."

City Councilman Ken Valentine isn't so sure.

"I'm really disappointed that this is going to occur on Sunday when people should be in church," he said. "I hope they behave themselves and keep their clothes on, but I'm not sure they will because strippers are trained to take off their clothes."

The New Braunfels City Council has been cracking down on rowdy behavior on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers in recent months, banning volume drinking devices better known as beer bongs, increasing the maximum fine for noise ordinance violations, and prohibiting sound amplification on the river between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

A new ordinance banning containers with a liquid volume of 5 ounces or less — an attempt to ban Jell-O shots and the associated litter — will take effect after the next city council meeting.

Mayor Bruce Boyer said he thought it was unfortunate that the San Antonio club is taking advantage of the situation "to get free publicity."

"And all we're trying to do is make it safe and pleasant for anybody 8 to 80 to come and have a safe and enjoyable river experience," he said.

Thanks to Out There reader Tim B.

It's Like an Easter Egg Hunt for the Criminally Insane

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Some interesting items have been showing up in the potted plants at Wichita City Hall.

Since April, when the city installed a security checkpoint at the hall's front doors, guards have found several bags of marijuana and crack and other illegal goods in the potted plants, Capt. Joe Dessenberger said.

And it doesn't end at the plants. Police have found drugs, alcohol and other items stowed throughout City Hall, according to a report police gave to the city council Tuesday.

Among things found on both sides of the checkpoint: crack rocks, marijuana pipes and a bag of marijuana, an open bottle of whiskey in a man's bag and a woman carrying brass knuckles.

In the first 39 days of screening, City Hall security officers seized 3,457 prohibited items and detained 15 people, according to the police.

"We expected to be busy," Dessenberger said. "But not as busy as we've been."

Easy There, Voteforme Jones — This Goes for You, Too

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A political makeover is fine — but you can't pick a new name, apparently.

AxTax Davis wants Volusia County voters to put him on the county council. Trouble is, that's not his real name. The county elections supervisor says Davis has to go by the more mundane name of Jeff — his real name.

Davis tells the Orlando Sentinel, however, that plenty of people know him as AxTax. Some have even filed affidavits saying so.

He's filed a lawsuit saying that if he has to use "Jeff Davis" on the ballot it would cause him irreparable harm.

Davis isn't alone in this election identity crisis.

Hakim Aquil would like voters in Tampa choosing a replacement for state Representative Arthenia Joyner to have the chance to vote for someone a little more interesting: "Hakeem the Dream Aquil."

In a story this week in the St. Petersburg Times, election officials say they are quashing that dream.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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