If you noticed a cosmic blip at 1:44 a.m. Wednesday, that wasn’t your imagination. Holy Azimuth, Betsteroids! Yes, that was the time we’ve all been waiting for, the exact moment of the Winter Solstice. The Betster won’t get all sciencey on you and trot out the astronomical explanation. In practical terms, it means this:
• Daylight hours will get longer,
• The night will fade away until by June it will be but a sliver of twilight still bright enough to fish by, and
• The sun will appear to rise higher and higher in the sky.
Note that last sentence. Don’t be a smarty pants, either. “Appear,” the Betster wrote. Yours truly knows that the sun doesn’t move across the sky and that the planets orbit around the sun, with the Earth spinning on its axis. We’re the big rock moving, not the sun. From our perspective the sun will rise and set, rise and set, and each day the sun move more and more to the north and rise higher in the sky.
That’s the big deal, you know. All this month during the daytime, if you walk the Spit beach the sun barely clears the top of the Kenai Mountains and casts a pathetic light. With the Solstice the sun gets higher and you might even get a nice warm glow. It’s almost like Hawaii, but with icebergs.
We have a whole parcel of holidays coming up you might have noticed: Christmas and then Hannukah and Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. The Betster likes to think of it as a bonus of two three-day weekends in a row. Sweet! Christmas and New Year’s Day both come on Sunday this year, so we get Mondays off.
Well, most of us. Again the Betster puts in a pitch thanking those whose jobs require them to work at the fire halls, answer the calls at the police station, patrol the streets, nurse the sick and stand by at the Emergency Room. You’re giving up a holiday or two to keep us safe.
But don’t make it worse for them, Betsteroids. Celebrate responsibly. Enjoy the growing light and the warmth of family and friends, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST FREEBIE BET: Well, your tax dollars do help support the Pratt Museum, so it seems fair that locals get free admission this month. If you haven’t checked out our local treasure lately, swing by before the Pratt closes for annual maintenance in January. Don’t miss the Inspired by Diaries exhibit, too. For more on the art and history show, see story, page 6.
BEST EASY LISTENING BET: Several local bars have acoustic music this weekend. At 9 p.m. today Tyler Munns plays on keyboard and guitar at the Down East Saloon. Then from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, J.C. Smith performs dinner music at A.J.’s OldTown Steakhouse.
BEST WEAR ’EM OUT BET: Do you have some little ones getting a wee bit nudgy with all the holiday excitement? Take them down to the Kevin Bell Arena from 1-3:30 p.m. Christmas Eve for Skate with Santa. Admission and rental skates are free, but bring a donation of canned food to benefit the Homer Community Food Pantry.
BEST HOLY DAYS BET: Local churches have lots of choices for celebrating Christmas, from candlelight services on Christmas Eve to worship services on Christmas Day. See the Calendar, page 14, for details.