As we Alaskans know, living here brings many benefits: an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, no state sales or income taxes, and not being pulverized by chunks of Chinese spacecraft plunging to earth. Holy Fireball XL-5! Sometime this weekend, the experimental space station Tiangong-1 will come flaming down, perhaps on April 1.
No fooling. The 9.4-ton space station has lost its battle to gravity and will return home. The good news for Alaskans is that scientists have predicted Tiangong-1 will fall south of British Columbia. Even in the crash zone, much of it is open sea, so odds are it will not hit anyone. Most of the station will disintegrate in the atmosphere as friction burns it up. Scientist have calculated the chance of getting hit between 1 in 1 trillion and 1 in 300 trillion. But someone could get unlucky, like Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma, hit by a chunk of space debris in January 1997. According to Space.com, she got whacked in the shoulder and wasn’t injured.
We have a long tradition of buffoonery in Alaska, starting with that shyster Soapy Smith during the Alaska Gold Rush and continuing today with the current crop of elected officials. Kidding! If you’ve ever traveled in the Bush, locals like to tease visitors with elaborate tales like 10-legged polar bears prowling the tundra or vicious parasitic jaegers that steal small children. It’s a bit of an honor to be so snookered.
Sunday might be April Fool’s Day, but more important, it’s also Easter, a major holiday in Christianity. OK, the Resurrection of Christ pretty much defines the religion, eh? It’s also Passover in Judaism, and just to top it off, a blue moon, a second full moon in one month. You can’t get any more cosmic than that.
In short, we have cause to celebrate this weekend. The sun shines higher, the days grow longer and it will be a tad warmer. Look for crocuses sprouting and pussy willows budding. Rejoice, Betsteroids, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST TALK ABOUT IT BET: The Pratt Museum holds another Behind the Scenes Collections Tour at 2 p.m. today, a chance to get behind the walls and see the collections. Friends of the Pratt will be talking about collections, too, at 5:30 p.m. today with a Community Conversation: Past/Forward with Collections. Discuss how the museum collects items, what it might collect over the next 50 years and what’s in your own collection of cool stuff.
BEST YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK BET: Remember that bond we passed last year to expand the Homer Medical Clinic? The paint has dried and the remodeling is finished. See what the new clinic looks like in an open house from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at the clinic on Bartlett Street. Meet new staff and the new South Peninsula Hospital CEO, Joseph Woodin, now on the job.
BEST ROUND AND ROUND BET: Get out your spring shirts and skirts for the monthly Square and Contra Dance, held at 7:30 p.m. at West Homer Elementary School. More than a few romances have started there, but it’s also just a whopping good time.
BEST OLD TIME BET: The Foghorn String Band will get your feet a stompin’ with a concert at 8 p.m. Sunday at Alice’s Champagne Palace. They’ve pretty much nailed down the tradition of Americana music. Tickets are on sale at the door.
BEST S-CUBED BET: Spring wouldn’t be spring without the Super Saturated Snow Ball, Bunnell Street Arts Centers big end-of-winter do. The Super Saturated Sugar Strings return for the festive ball starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, also at Alice’s. Tickets are on sale at Bunnell.