Best Bets week of March 16

To all the glorious women in the world, the Betster apologizes for not wearing red on International Women’s Day. In the 1910s and 1920s the Suffragettes wore white. Back in the 1960s people wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. Other than a splash of red, that’s the way social activists rolled in the grayscale era. Just like television, we now live in a glorious and colorful world. It can be hard sometimes to keep track of causes and dates to show your colors.

We have the rainbow for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual cause, green for environmentalism, red for the Republican Party and blue for the Democratic Party. That’s not to mention colored ribbons to raise awareness for various diseases, like pink for breast cancer, purple for pancreatic cancer, red for heart disease, blue for arthritis, cream for spinal cord injuries, and orange for Agent Orange. Whew. No matter your political or social cause, hurrah for using colors to show your support. In a winter that tends toward brown and white, a splash of brightness not only sparks civil debate and raises awareness, but livens up the dreary scene.

All this color confusion makes the Betster long for simpler days, when the only thing a grade-school kid had to worry about was not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day — this Friday, by the way. Forget to wear green and you ran the danger of getting pinched. Ouch. Kids could be cruel in the days before anti-bullying efforts.

Somehow Americans have made a big deal of March 17, like celebrating the day with corned beef and cabbage. That’s on the menu Friday at the Homer Senior Center and AJ’s OldTown Steakhouse if you’re pining for some. Given the historical contributions of the Irish in America, it’s appropriate to honor them. We’re all Irish on Friday and some of us actually can claim a wee bit of heritage from the old sod.

St. Patrick’s Day leads into another good day to celebrate: March 20, when we move forward into Spring. OK, that might not be current in this time zone, but sooner or later the cold spell will break. We have sunshine at least, and warmth to come, so what better reason to enjoy these Best Bets?

BEST ALL SALES ARE FINAL BET: President Putin might be regretting that Tsar Alexander II sold Russian Alaska to the Americas, but for the United States it turned out to be a good deal. Learn about the history behind the sale when journalist Michael Dunham presents “Seward and the Tsar” at 5 p.m. today at the Pratt Museum. Dunham wrote two books on the Alaska purchase, “The Man Who Sold Alaska” and “The Man Who Bought Alaska,” and will have copies for sale.

BEST GO GREEN BET: Is your business ready to get a Green Star? Learn about becoming an environmentally friendly business when the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies speaks on the program from 5-7 p.m. today at Grace Ridge Brewery. Also learn about reducing marine debris in our oceans.

BEST BE KIND BET: People sure have been grumpy lately what with the weather and the political situation. Step back, take a breath and share ideas on “Practicing Compassion in Challenging Times” form 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at Homer United Methodist Church. Local religious and spiritual leaders offer guidance from many faiths.

BEST FUNNY SNAKES BET: If you see weird tracks on the beach that look like a python has slithered in the sand, don’t panic. Thanks to a secret trip by St. Patrick no one talks about, we have no snakes in Alaska. Those would be tire tracks from fat bikes, which you’ll be seeing a lot of this weekend for the Big Fat Bike Festival. It opens Friday 6-8 p.m. with an obstacle course and bonfire at Mariner Park and continues with events through Saturday. For information, visit