Best Bets

Holy Gridiron, Betsters! Can you believe the results of the big exciting event this week? Was that ever a nail biter of a tussle.

Wait — we’re not talking about the Super Bowl, but as long as we are, how about those Chiefs, eh? And isn’t it cool how we all learned a lesson in geography courtesy of our Teacher in Chief? I mean, who knew there was a difference between Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas?

Nope, the Betster is talking about the grand start of the Presidential campaign with the Iowa Caucuses. In the Republican Party race, it looks like President Trump is skating to victory. In the Democratic Party contest, at press time on Wednesday it’s unclear who has prevailed. Mayor Pete? Bernie? Elizabeth Warren? Uncle Joe?

The Betster will refrain from any political commentary here because, boy, that way lies madness. The lesson there for Alaskans is one we already know. We have our own version of Murphy’s Law. Not only is it, “If something can go wrong, it will,” but, “If something can go wrong, a whole bunch of other somethings also will go wrong, and the next thing you know you’re stuck on a remote highway with four flat tires, a broken fuel pump and a leaky roof.”

Arctic explorer Hudson Stuck said it best: “Traveling at 50 below is all right as long as it’s all right.” In Alaska, that can be literally true as well as a metaphor for living on the edge in the Last Frontier. In extreme cold, yeah, stuff breaks. Also, living at the end of the road with only one highway in and out can mean if an avalanche, wildfire or flood shuts down the highway, don’t expect fresh milk for awhile.

The power goes out. The Internet sputters. Heaters quit working. Cars won’t start. Boats leak. Props hit rocks. Nets break. We’ve all been through it. Alaska has 1,000 ways she can mess up your weekend, some of them new and fiercely creative that you would never imagine.

So while Iowa Democratic Party leaders might be ohmygosh who could imagine an untested app might fail to report exciting caucus results, we Alaskans yawn and say, “Not surprising.” We expect break downs. We are not surprised when technology fails. We are the ultimate testing lab.

But we also are resilient, and we have a Plan B — heck, a Plan Z. That’s why when we get running water, we keep the outhouse. That’s why if we convert to natural gas heating after years of chopping wood, we hang on to the wood stove. When we travel we carry sleeping bags, food, water and a small library. You know how preppers — people who prepare for the end of the world like a zombie apocalypse — have go-bags and food stashes all over the place? Alaskans smile at that and say, “Oh, that’s so sweet.” We are the ultimate preppers.

So as the days get longer and the weather a bit mellower, don’t let down your guard. There’s always a little surprise coming. Fear not: You’re tough, you’re cool, you’re Alaskans. We’ll roll with it, just like we know how to have fun, like with these Best Bets:

BEST GET OUT OF HERE BET: If you’ve run out of outdoor adventures to try, Grace Ridge Brewery is always coming up with something new in its monthly Barley & OATs (Outdoor Adventure Talks). At 5:30 p.m. today, Kris Holderied talks about Skiing in Denali National Park. Find out what you need to pack, best time to go, and where to start your next adventure in the park. This is a free event and open to the public.

BEST GET WILD BET: Filmmaker Mark Titus shows his film, “The Wild,” about the proposed Pebble Mine, wild salmon and threats posed to Alaskans and our cultures at 6 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. Stick around for an update on the Back to the Bay project, which will celebrate our maritime heritage by sailing a renovated Bristol Bay double-ender from Homer to Naknek in July 2020. Free Admission, but donations accepted.

BEST STAY WILD BET: Speaking of wilderness, First Friday features two shows inspired by wilderness: Deborah Poore’s “Many Moods of the Wosnesenki” at Grace Ridge Brewery and whole passle of artists for “Denali Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness” at the Pratt Museum. Check out these cool openings and more on Friday. See page B1 for all the details.

BEST KEEP IT WILD BET: Yep, you know what’s up on Saturday. That’s right: it’s the annual Homer Winter Carnival Parade. This year’s theme is “50 Years of Winter Wilderness: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Kachemak Bay State Park.” Catch the big parade at noon and hang out for other cool carnival events. See story, A1 for more information.

BEST STABLE GENIUS BET: Think you’re smart? Prove it at 6 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palce for the 3rd Annual Cranium Cup Trivia Challenge. Sponsored by the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary, the cup challenges teams to show their superb knowledge of weird little facts. The entry fee is $100 and supports Rotary projects.

BEST BE CHILL BET: Warm up inside and out with the first ever Chili Challenge from 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church, which also is celebrating 50 years of ministry in Homer. This is your chance to taste all different varieties of chili made by locals. It costs $10 for individuals and $30 for families. Call 907-235-7600 to submit your own chili entry.

BEST NSFW BET: There might be a question or two that’s not safe for work at the Sex Trivia Contest at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Alice’s Champagne Palace. Think you know your Kinsey Scale? Are you sure about human anatomy, um, down there? Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic’s fun contest will test your knowledge of things like sex in movies or sexual antiquity. The entry fee is $10 and supports the clinic’s work in supporting reproductive health. This is for mature audiences only; children under 16 admtted only with a parent or guardian.

BEST YOUR GREAT-GRANDMA BET: Want to know more about family history? Need help researching your genealogy? Check out the monthly Genealogy Peer Support group at 6 p.m. Monday at the Homer Public Library. Learn about genealogy from each other and bring your knowledge to share and learn from others about contemporary genealogy. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month in the library meeting room.

BEST GET MESSY BET: Challenge your creativity and artistic skills and help support Bunnell Street Arts Center with its all Plate Painting project. It started at the gallery on Wednesday and continues through April 15.

Paint an Art Plate and contribute to the well of creativity that nourishes this community. Art Plates are handmade by Homer potters and painted by you: artists, community members and Bunnell supporters. The Plate Project is one of the gallery’s most dear campaigns, that directly fuel Bunnell Street Arts Center’s mission and programs. The beautiful, collectable and functional Art Plates are available as premiums for memberships of $125 and above.

Waves pound the Homer Spit by the Seafarers Memorila on Jan. 30 in Homer. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)

Waves pound the Homer Spit by the Seafarers Memorila on Jan. 30 in Homer. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)

A man surfs off the Homer Spit on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 30, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)

A man surfs off the Homer Spit on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 30, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)

Waves pound the Homer Spit by the Seafarers Memorila on Jan. 30, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)

Waves pound the Homer Spit by the Seafarers Memorila on Jan. 30, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)