Homer’s Best Bets

We American journalists like to think we’re tough. Cover up a political scandal and we’ll go all Woodward and Bernstein on ya. We dig into stories, not afraid to offend politicians and ask hard questions. Sure, one Alaska journalist got handcuffed once, but last week the cartoonists and staff of “Charlie Hebdo” set a new standard of heroism. Gunmen burst into their Paris offices and shot dead 12 people, including two police guarding them.

The satirical weekly had received death threats for publishing cartoons criticized for offending Islam. Even after their offices were firebombed in 2011, they kept publishing.

“I am not afraid of retaliation,” said one of the cartoonists killed, Stephane Charbonnier, after he had been threatened earlier. “It perhaps sounds a bit pompous, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”

Nous sommes Charlie — “We are Charlie.” Nous sommes Ahmed, too, for one of the gendarmes, a Muslim, who gave his life trying to protect freedom of the press. The murders of journalists and the aftermath when Jews were killed at a kosher supermarket have had the same effect on France that Sept. 11 had on America. Shocked and sad, the French rose up in defiance, millions strong in memorial marches, many of them raising clenched fists holding pens.

In the midst of mass terror, it’s worth taking a moment to recall smaller terrors, the struggles of families standing up to bullies in their own homes. Women, children and sometimes men get beaten and abused in a place that should be safe, by spouses and partners who should love and protect them. Somewhere in town this year  brave women or men might finally say, “Enough,” and call for help. Maybe cops will respond or the victim will seek help from South Peninsula Haven House. Maybe they’ll break the cycle of violence. Maybe hearts will be healed.

We live in a hard world, but we live in a beautiful land, too, surrounded by family and friends who love us. How can we endure? We go on by living on, by celebrating life, and what better way to do that than these Best Bets?


BEST TOO MANY CHOICES BET: Mountainfilm or Met Opera? Today lovers of outdoor films and opera will have to make a choice. The Telluride Mountainfilm shows at 7 p.m. today at the Mariner Theatre while Met Opera’s Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” also shows at 7 p.m. at the Homer Theatre. Fortunately, Mountainfilm also shows at 7 p.m. Saturday with a second batch of films.


BEST ALL ICE ALL THE TIME BET: While the Homer Hockey Association is on its push to raise money for the Kevin Bell Ice Arena, dang, is that sports gem getting a lot of use. Check out the Women’s Winter Jamboree this weekend Friday-Sunday and the Mariners games today, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday, with the last home game on Tuesday. See page 14 for all the details.

BEST TAKE IT AS IT COMES BET: Snow, sleet, rain, what-evah, it’s all outdoors fun for Natural Play Sunday from 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wynn Nature Center, Mile 1.5 East Skyline Drive. Enjoy free family activities sponsored by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.


BEST WHAT WOULD MARTIN DO? BET: If you’re a state or federal worker, you have Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Day. Celebrate the day with a talk at 6:30 p.m. at the Kachemak Bay Campus when writer Mark Trahant presents “Alaska Native Soveriegnty.” A community discussion follows.


BEST E.T. BET: The bold pioneers of Biosphere 2 tried a big experiment: creating an extraterrestrial habitat completely separate from biosphere 1 — the earth. Homer’s own Dr. Tony Burgess helped design Biosphere 2. A wicked smart guy, he speaks at the Homer Native Plant Society’s meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday on “Lessons from Biosphere 2” at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies at Lake Street and Smokey Bay Way.