Best Bets

Even though the Betster toils in the word mines here at the Homer News and has a modest understanding of the news business, apparently journos do things a bit differently Outside. The ways of travel writers are strange, Grasshopper. Inside of six weeks Homer has appeared in two publications.

In late August, U.S. News and World Report named Homer one of “50 Small Towns Across American with Gorgeous Fall Foliage.” It illustrated Homer with a photo of that dead boat graveyard and brown alders lining the Spit Trail.

“You’ll find pockets of incredible color amid the pines,” they write. They probably meant spruce trees.

Meanwhile, Conde Nast Traveler writes that Homer is “Alaska’s most charming town.” At first it illustrated the web story with a photo of Halibut Cove, but got a clue-by-four and now has a picture of “Homer’s marina.” It also called the Spit “Homer’s main drag,” which is pretty funny now that most every business there has boarded up for the winter.

Holy Chamber of Commerce! Any press is good press, of course, but when reporters parachute in for a quick recon, sometimes they smash the pushki. We’d probably mess things up if we wrote about New York. Is the Battery up or down? The Betster can’t remember, but knows it’s a wonderful town.

Accept no imitations, visitors. If you want the skinny about the Spit, check out our awesome local press. We’ve been here almost as long as Della Banks — OK, not quite — and if we don’t know what’s up, we just ask an old timer and divide the truth by half.

So, yeah, we do have awesome autumns. U.S. News and World Report got that right. New Englanders may scoff, but here we do fall subtly. Those rich reds and pinks you find in maples unfold at your feet in fireweed, cranberry bushes and kinnikinick. Cottonwood and birch turn the hillside into swirls of bright yellow. Leaf peepers have to be fast, though, because the season can turn on a snowfall. But that’s life at the end of the road: beautiful, dramatic and ever changing — kind of like these Best Bets:

BEST AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE BILLBOARDS? BET: Yes, the annual blight of campaign billboards put up in bold defiance of Alaska’s outdoor advertising prohibitions signals that once again it’s a election season. At 5 p.m. today at the Homer Elks Lodge, Kenai Peninsula Borough mayoral race candidates Dale Bagley, Linda Farnsworth Hutchings and Charlie Pierce visit for a forum sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Assembly candidates also appear.

BEST BOTTLES ACROSS THE BOW BET: Local Homer writer Nancy Lord breaks out of her nonfiction mode with her first ever novel, “pH,” about quirky scientists and ocean acidification. At 6 p.m. Friday, she officially launches her book with a reading, conversation and book signing at the Homer Public Library.

BEST BREAK OUT BET: Man, this sounds like the plot of a feel-good Hollywood movie. Alaskan Seth Freeman stopped in at a Salmonfest “aftershock” party and festival headliner Karl Denson also shows up. Karl mentions to Glenn Caldwell that he’s looking for a new guitarist, and Caldwell says, “Hey, how about Seth? He’s right here.” Seth does an audition on the back of a pickup tailgate and gets hired on the spot. Whew! You can hear why Freeman is so great when he plays at 9 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palace, part of the Salmonfest Music Series. Admission is $10.

BEST WHO’S THE NEWCOMER NOW? BET: What does it mean to be an Alaskan, especially in the context of our indigineous people? Who’s the insider and who’s the outsider? Performers Ryan Conarro and Gary Upay’aq Beaver explore that concept in ALASKA / ALAXSXA, a multimedia with puppets and other cool special effects. It shows at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Bunnell Street Arts Center.

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