For the past few days the Betster has been chasing owls and comets. The Betster has been on a mission to find that great gray owl for the Betster Spousal Companion, who has yet to see it. You'd think this would be easy what with all the cop reports of cars blocking West Hill Road. Nope.
First the great gray was on the uphill side of West Hill, then on the downhill side. On Tuesday the bird hotline reported a sighting of it being on the trail below the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Nada.
Have you noticed this month how every date in March falls on the same day of the week as in February? Feb. 1? A Friday. March 1? A Friday. It will go on like this until March 29 to 31, of course, seeing as how February only had 28 days. Except for Leap Year, February is a sensible month that can be divided into four seven-day weeks. If all months had 28 days, and Jan. 1 started on a Sunday, every date would fall on the same day of the week. Cool.
The big hot tech news this week had something to do with a thing called Google Glass. At first the Betster thought that was Google Grass. You can search the Web just by lying on a lawn? Sweet. It turned out the Betster got that wrong, which is just as well, seeing as how in Homer if we tried to lie on a lawn all we'd get would be a cold back.
You know how everyone says that modern social media is like way cool? On Facebook you can connect with old high school classmates, long lost relatives and people stalking you under made-up accounts. Seriously. The Betster read about this recently, where a woman got fired because she accepted a friend request from a fake friend who turned out to be her boss spying on her. Why would someone accept a friend request from someone she didn't know?
Notice the red color on this page? The words “love” and “Valentine’s Day”? Consider this fair warning that today might be a day those romantically involved won’t want to forget. The Betster gave ya a week’s notice already, so if you go home tonight with not even a bag of M&Ms, well, don’t blame the Betster if you spend the night on the lumpy couch.
Yo, Betsteroids, note the date on this issue. That’s right, it’s Feb. 7, a week out from National Strike Fear Into Men’s Hearts Day, more popularly known as “Valentine’s Day.” Fair warning, you romantic fools wishing to impress your sweetie with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Here’s the first rule of Valentine’s Day gifts. There is no perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
Worried that Homer had settled into a nice, calm stable weather pattern? Did you fear that our reputation as the banana belt of Alaska had been tarnished after that little subzero cold spell over the weekend? Holy goose down! Once again we had to dip into our coat closet and find just the right jacket for life in a coastal maritime climate. Big fluffy parka or light pile jacket? Decisions.
Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been mixing up its status questions. One week it was “How are you feeling?” and lately it’s been “What’s happening?” The Betster admits to being confused about these questions. Does Mark Zuckerman, the genius who created Facebook, think he has become the world’s psychologist? Do we really need prompts to fill in that status box?
You know how in the police blotter sometimes cops pull over motorists because they crossed the center line? Or, sometimes alert citizens call in a “report every dangerous driver immediately” complaint because someone weaves all over the road? Here’s the Betster’s question.
How the heck can they tell?
Yours truly does not like to be the town scold, always grumping about something that really doesn’t matter. After last week’s snow, you may have noticed the streets are slick — if you miss Erebus and Terror, the killer potholes on Lake Street.
Starting at midnight today, there are 521,280 minutes left in the year. You already blew the first 1,440 minutes on New Year’s Day, possibly by reaffirming your obeisance to the porcelain idol in your bathroom. OK, some of you might not have been hung over and spent the first day of the year writing thank you letters (72 minutes), going for a ski (80 minutes) and cleaning up the holiday mess (950 minutes). Good start, Betsteroids!
Oops. Santa Claus seems to have messed up the Betster’s Christmas wish list. “A new snow shovel,” the Betster asked for. And what did Santa send? Snow. None of that scenic Currier & Ives stuff, either — we got the full onslaught, about 2 feet by Christmas morning.
Fortunately, hard-working plow people put in some overtime and got our streets mostly clear. Power crews slogged through heavy, wet mashed potato snow to get electricity back. Whew. The Betster hopes they got some time with families on Boxing Day.
How can you find joy in a season when in a small New England town 26 families bury their loved ones? How do you find peace even in honoring a fine senator who lived a long and honest life of public service? Why is there evil in a world so full of good? How do you hope for light on the darkest day of the year?
If you’re reading this on Thursday morning or anytime after Dec. 13, well, whew, the world didn’t end. Or maybe it’s the beginning of the end, which is supposed to happen on Dec. 21, 2012. Students of eschatology — that’s a fancy word for “end of the world studies” — say that the Mayan Long Count calendar runs out of pages on Dec. 21. That kind of makes sense since the
Mayans carved everything important on rocks and after a while you can imagine Mayan rock carvers going, “Whew. When is someone going to invent paper?” and “Let’s quit writing down future dates.”
With only 19 shopping days left until Christmas, now is when seasoned shoppers get frantic. We Alaskans know you can't put off mailing packages to the Lower 49, so check off that list, wrap those packages and get ready to stand in line at the post office. Chop chop, time's a wastin'.
Recently an alert citizen called the paper saying a friend overheard some government types at a café talking about a secret project to change the weather. “Hope you like clear weather,” the government guy was alleged to have said, “because that’s what Homer’s going to get for a while.”
Slouching into middle age, the Betster has been facing the bitter reality of a youth-deficient body. Things just break down and wear out. Yeah, growing old sucks, but the alternative is a lot worse. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “He not busy getting root canals is busy dying.” A physical problem that can be fixed with routine medicine and the price of a used Subaru isn’t a problem at all. It’s just another life challenge.
Slip sliding down West Hill Road the other day in a thermally confused snowstorm, the Betster realized that some drivers don’t live in the reality based world. Apparently, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, but a slick road here.
Many Homerians have yet to acknowledge that the gripiness of tires has nothing to do with the truthiness of your beliefs about weather. Hello! Do you think the laws of physics go on hiatus just because you still believe it’s summer? This is basic stuff: the road’s slick and all that dang fool driving will get you is deeper into the ditch.
Did this year’s election drive you nuts? For future reference, the Betster has discovered a sure-fire way to avoid the madness of a ruthless presidential campaign. Leave the country, even if it’s just to Canada.
News of Super Storm Sandy’s destruction on the East Coast and beyond has the Betster thinking: Alaska is the place to be when it comes to weather. Sure, snow may blow sideways here some days, but we’ve never been through anything like the havoc Sandy wreaked. Our hearts go out to those who are picking up the pieces after the storm. While life on the East Coast has slowed considerably because of the storm, there’s still plenty to keep us going at Latitude 59 and some change. We even get an extra hour this weekend to enjoy some of these Best Bets: