Seventy-eight years ago yesterday and today, gangs of Nazi thugs raged through Germany. In two days of terror known as Kristallnacht, Nazis broke windows of Jewish stores, burned down synagogues and humiliated and killed Jews. They rounded up young Jewish men and sent them to concentration camps — the beginning of the Holocaust.
Type in “cute kitten videos” and Google shows 3 million hits. Type in “Trump Clinton” and 450 million hits pop up — more hits than the population of America. The Betster has a question: Why aren’t there more cute kitten videos?
We live in tough times, Betsteroids. Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and Independents can agree on one thing. This has been the weirdest dang election ever. In times like this, we need moments of joy. We need something to distract us from politics that have gotten so low reading the news is like being in a limbo contest.
Who could have imagined it, Betsteroids? For the first time since women got the vote, something extraordinary could happen. That’s right: the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series. If you like underdogs, the Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians contest is a win-win. The last time the Cubs were at the World Series, Rosie the Riveter welcomed GI Joe back from the war. Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since 1948, and the Cubs haven’t won a series since 1908.
For the past few days a car has laid on its side by a hairpin curve on West Hill Road. The Betster sure hopes no one got injured in that crash. Tow truck drivers probably have been a bit busy this week. Maybe leaving a few VIDs — that’s cop talk for “vehicle in the ditch” — on the side of the road would be a good idea to help people slow down. Someone could spray paint on the car’s bottom “The laws of physics are strictly enforced.”
As we toil here at Homer News election central into the wee dark hours of the morning, the long night holds promise. OK, yeah, we won’t have to cover elections until the big “Homer reacts” story in November, but never mind that. We’re talking northern lights.
Surprise, Homerites. If you thought you could pop into your Subaru and dash to work this week, oops. We have now entered Vehicle Ice Scraping Season. Some people call this “fall,” but we know better. Now is the time when we must allow 5 minutes in the morning to scrape ice off our windshields. This assumes you don’t keep your car in a garage, in which case, the Betster hates you.
Almost as regular as the closure of businesses on the Spit and the last cruise ship of the season, along comes our annual big storm on a big tide. Add in a typhoon giving up its last breath in the North Pacific, and boy howdy do we have problems. It’s almost a cliché to go out on the Spit and snap photographs of waves crashing on the road as daredevils try to make it out to the Salty Dawg.
Well, that’s fall in Alaska. It’s also the time when you can count on someone getting a truck stuck in the mud at Bishop’s Beach and praying for a tow truck as the tide laps at the tires.
Some of you seemed surprised recently when a big howling rainstorm blew in over town last week. Whoa! How did that happen? Well, it happened because a) it’s September in Alaska and b) also moose hunting season. The whole idea of moose hunting season seems to be to pick a time of the year when hunters most likely will get drenched by a cold, miserable rain.
Once again we enter our usual fall topsy-turvy universe. Some things seem to be going as planned. At the end of Labor Day, half the shops on the Spit closed. On the other hand, on Tuesday, the cruise ship Maasdam visited — and she’ll be back Sept. 20 for a final visit.
Out on Beluga Slough, for the past week more than 100 sandhill cranes have been massing together ready to fly south. Getting together to leave doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, though conventional wisdom has it the cranes leave about the fall equinox. Also ganging up are robins and varied thrushes. Stay tuned.
The other night while hanging with visiting friends and relatives, the Betster had an awesome idea for a Best Bets column. Alas, despite carrying a pen and notepad, the Betster forgot to write down that thought. It came about from a conversation in which Aunt Ellen asked why Alaska roads had so few road kill. The Best Bets idea disappeared like a fat raven dragging a porcupine off into the weeds.
We all know visitors come to Homer for our scenery, our art, our fish and the way neat people who live here. Apparently Homer has a new attraction. It’s cool.
Hurrah! Congratulations, Betsters. You’ve survived the big August primary election. After weeks of debates, robocalls, push polls and campaign mailings, the big dramarama is over. Now that the election is over, you can look on the bright side. All those fliers should make good kindling in the woodstove when it starts cooling off in about, oh, two weeks. Also, hard working graphic artists, printers and telemarketers got a little extra income.
If you’ve been paying attention to nature lately, you might have noticed that all the little birds born last spring have grown up. Over at the ever-popular Lake Street stoplight eagle nest, some eagle triplets have poked their heads out of their twig home. Sandhill crane colts have been strutting around town, stretching out their legs. Out on Beluga Lake, a slate-gray cygnet is learning the finer points of swan feeding.
Why is it that just when you get into the groove of summer it starts to end? The signs are plenty. Look at the month at the top of the page. That’s right: A-u-g-u-s-t. The Kachemak Bay Campus course catalog arrived recently in the mail, too, with reminders of cool stuff to learn. Kids, we won’t even discuss an event looming like a shark. Whatever you do, don’t look at page 6.
For the past two weeks as the Republicans and Democrats have selected their presidential candidates, it has been nonstop political commentary. Hey, it’s a good living if you have a thick skin, a tough stomach and get excited by things like how many superdelegates can dance on the head of a pin. The debate has gotten fierce, too. You’re a poopy pants. No, you’re a big doody head. Your momma wears combat boots. Your papa wears spike heels.
The other day while shopping the Betster noticed a disturbing trend. S-c-h-o-o-l supplies are on sale. For you carefree kids enjoying your summer holiday with nothing more taxing than maybe mowing the family lawn, ruh-roh. S-c-h-o-o-l is just around the corner.
Holy three-hole punch! The thing whose name we shall not speak starts in a month. It will be back to the books, kiddos. Not that you should have abandoned reading, but we’re talking “Silas Marner” and not “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” — stuff you’ll be forced to read and not just plain fun.
Remember in winters past when it snowed so much you had to keep a snow shovel inside the front door to get out in the morning? That’s how the Betster feels with this summer’s explosion of green. To keep a decent lawn, you have to mow at least once a week — sometimes twice a week. Holy Tropicana!
Recently in the newsroom we got talking about an issue once not a problem in Homer: traffic. OK, we might have had some traffic back when all those horse teams tried to round Bluff Point on an incoming tide. We’re talking modern traffic, like this week, and the ordeals we must endure trying to drive from downtown to the Spit.
Here’s the problem of living in a small town that grows by a few hundred people in the summer. For most of the year we hang out with folks we’ve come to know and sort of tolerate — maybe even love. It’s not that our neighbors are necessarily wonderful human beings, but that over time we have learned all their quirks and foibles.
While driving home to Chez Betster, yours truly passed a caravan of Land Rover campers with French flag decals that looked like they had come from Patagonia. In fact, as the Betster later found out after catching up with the campers on the Spit, one family had driven to Homer from the other end of the world, way down there in South America.