Best Bets

Best Bets

Vacations in the 21st Century quite frankly baffle the Betster. Intrinsic in the meaning or common understanding of the word “vacation” is the expectation of relaxation — of vacating one’s stress, right?

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With all the hoopla surrounding the annual summer solstice (aka the best day to be an Alaskan), the Betster worries the special day’s less popular sibling, winter solstice, will be all but forgotten among the merriment of the holiday season. After all, who has time to think about a potential solstice celebration when there are pies that need baking and presents that need purchasing and extended relatives who you aren’t really that close to — just close enough to merit a major holiday dinner invitation — need placating?

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If you have hopes of a white Christmas, Betsteroids, you might think of a getaway to one of Alaska’s snowier spots. Thompson Pass could work — you know, the place where the national news went gaga because it set a record when 10 inches of snow fell in an hour. That’s more snow than has fallen all winter in Homer.

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If you’re one of the lone survivors of the Greatest Generation or a child of one of those World War II heroes, today has the same meaning as Sept. 11 or Nov. 23. Seventy-six years ago, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. On that infamous day on Dec. 7, 1941, the world changed for America. Ready or not, we got sucked into the fight against fascism. Some soldier or sailor known only to history became the first American casualty among thousands. Heroes at home and abroad joined the fight against Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan and Italy. In a day where some people now think it’s hip to wear swastikas — and not as prison tatts — it might seem quaint to remember a day when patriots killed fascists. Russians were our friends and not some internet troll trying to influence our elections.

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Now that that pesky formality — some call it Thanksgiving — is over, the Christmas-crazed among you may breathe a collective sigh of relief.

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Well, it’s officially here. Sleet, powder, the white stuff — whatever you call it, it’s here in force. If you were one of those doing dances and singing songs to bring on the snow, congratulations: you got your wish. To those of us who are truly only happy in the throws of summer, my condolences. (Though, really, you might consider a different state to live in.)

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Can you feel it? The slow but merciless onset of the winter doldrums? The Betster sure can.

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The Betster would like to put in a request to Mother Nature that the snow make a decision. It drops by a for a quick chat, a bite of cake, a sip of tea, then disappears without warning. The barren winter ground — or if you’re among the lucky residents of Diamond Ridge and Skyline, slushy ice — it leaves behind is hardly as fun.

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The Betster wishes to provides a public service announcement to remind you that while Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is still between us and Christmas so put away that holiday music.

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The Betster hopes you weren’t planning on one last weekend of fine fall weather, because the great Mother Nature clearly had other plans.

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There’s a chill in the air, says the Betster. And the ground, and the car, and the corners of the house that can’t seem to be reached by the heating system.

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As short as our Alaskan summer may be, it still seems to be enough to embolden us and lull us into a pattern of traveling at speeds an ornery moose would surely love to take advantage of in the dead of winter’s night (or, you know, 3:30 p.m. in January).

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The Betster has an announcement this week of utmost importance — it’s here. Our most beloved National Coffee Day is finally here on Friday.

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For those keeping track, the signs that summer might be ending continue. Kids back in school? Check? Most of the Homer Spit businesses boarded up? Check? Fireweed turning crimson. Check? Last cruise ship of the season. Check? Burning basket burned. Check? Sandhill cranes left? Check.

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Even though the Betster toils in the word mines here at the Homer News and has a modest understanding of the news business, apparently journos do things a bit differently Outside. The ways of travel writers are strange, Grasshopper. Inside of six weeks Homer has appeared in two publications.

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The Betster wonders how many other Homerites were kept awake the other night by the gale force winds that ripped through town at all hours of the night. PeEking out the window around 1 a.m., one might have thought the alders were fixing to uproot and hightail it out of here.

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As we all know, Homer along with the rest of the country was recently subject to a solar eclipse.

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As idyllic as our little corner of the world can be, sometimes one finds oneself in need of a vacation. Maybe we find ourselves in a rut creatively, maybe our job has been weighing on us, or maybe we just really need a change of scenery — though the Betster fails to see what scene could be more perfect and picturesque than the mountains looming across Kachemak Bay.

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