At the Battle of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa., as Union troops rallied to hold the strategic hill, U.S. Army Col. Strong Vincent, commander of the 3rd Brigade, gave his orders to Col. Joshua Chamberlain, leader of the 20th Maine Regiment: “This is the left of the Union line. You are to hold this ground at all costs!” Chamberlain stood fast, though the legend has it he said to himself, “Hold the line? How the heck do I do that?” At one point he mounted a list-ditch bayonet attack at the 15th and 47th Alabama of the Confederate Army, routing the Rebels. The 20th Maine kept Little Round Top, and the Union won the bloody battle of Gettysburg.
Once again we get the great gift of a day off in the middle of the week, thanks to the Fourth of July falling on a Tuesday. If you’re a foreign visitor who happens to be in town next week, welcome to the quintessential American holiday. Like Bastille Day in France or May 17 in Norway, it’s a day we celebrate our roots as a nation.
Yo, visitors from far-off lands. If you want to see moose in Homer, here’s a hot tip from the Betster: stay up late. Recently what with city meetings and stuff, yours truly has been working past sunset. That’s an Alaska summer solstice sunset, too, at 11:30 p.m., not a wimpy tropical day ending at 6 p.m.
The other day the Betster stood in line at the liquor store between some nice guys from Yukon Territory, Canada, and a couple with British accents. While cruising the Spit on a photo safari recently, yours truly spotted a slick little 4-wheel-drive motorhome from France. Yep: it’s that time of year when we’ll see not only tourists from the Lower 49, but travelers from foreign countries.
Here on Kachemak Bay, we’re hip to the concept that tides can change quickly and rise dramatically. Mariners know not to push certain channels, and beach walkers keep an eye on the time so as to not get forced into the bluffs while walking from Diamond Creek to Bishop’s Beach.
As regular readers of our Cops and Courts section know, the pace of police activity changes come summer. In winter Homer’s finest deal with the usual small town despair: driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, domestic violence assault and drug possession. As soon as the sun starts shining and the snow melts, things can get a bit, uh, odd.
Batten down the hatches, Betsteroids. Get out the barbecue grills. Go find the garden tools. If you haven’t noticed, we’re coming up on the last Monday of May — Memorial Day, the traditional start of the tourist season, the weekend when the rest of Alaska seems to invade Homer, the day when finally all the tourist shops open up —
All over town this weekend, parents and emerging young adults will be preparing for The Big Day. What nice clothes will you wear under that gown? Should the graduate be adorned with flowers, leis or a combination? What snappy saying can you write with duct tape on an 8-inch-square mortarboard cap? And how do you get that dang thing to stay on your head without ruining your glamorous hair-do?
Who loves you, Betsteroids? That’s right — your mama. Don’t forget the annual celebration of mothers this Sunday, May 14. That’s the second Sunday in May. Sunday, kids. Sunday.
Last weekend the first cruise ships of the season pulled into Juneau, and what did Homer get? A big gray ship armed with enough missiles to flatten every town on the Kenai Peninsula, that’s what. Last Saturday the Betster went out to the Spit and got a bit confused. Much of the town showed up to wave flags and toot horns and welcome the first big ship of the season — but it wasn’t a gleaming white floating hotel.
The obvious joke today would be to write something about it being 4-20. Holy sinsemilla, dude! You don’t know about 4-20? Let us just say that in cannabis culture, 4:20 p.m. and April 20 count as cosmic moments. It’s a long, convoluted explanation that only makes sense if you’ve consumed a few bowls of Kachemak Krush — done responsibly, of course.
Sharpen those pencils. Get out the shoebox of receipts. Gather togther your W-2s, your 1099s and your Schedule Ks. The time has come, brave citizens, for all working schmoes to do what must be done to keep our military mighty, our roads running and our social safety-net taut. Yup. It’s tax time.
We live in a time of great transition, Betsteroids. Chaos has descended upon the world. What once seemed black and white has become a muddled, confusing gray. Great things will happen this month as forces more powerful than any of us get unleashed.
If your social media newsfeed has been clogged with talk about fake news and alternative facts, boy, do we have a holiday for you. Be afraid, Betsteroids, because on Saturday’s it’s the biggest celebration of the year for jokesters.
Last Thursday at his talk about William Seward and Tsar Alexander II, writer Michael Dunham tossed off a “what-if” that got the Betster thinking. In the Crimean War of 1853-56, the British war fleet attacked Petropavlosk and could have taken Russian Sitka, but didn’t. What if they had? Dunham asked.
To all the glorious women in the world, the Betster apologizes for not wearing red on International Women’s Day. In the 1910s and 1920s the Suffragettes wore white. Back in the 1960s people wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. Other than a splash of red, that’s the way social activists rolled in the grayscale era. Just like television, we now live in a glorious and colorful world. It can be hard sometimes to keep track of causes and dates to show your colors.
One of the odd effects of Real Winter have been sightings of things people have not seen in recorded history, or at least the past five years. Unless you’re a small child waiting for spring break, time passes by in such a blur that memory becomes fleeting. So let’s review:
Whew. Homer dodged that bullet. Just when we thought the town might get really stirred up over the annual February Controversy, pfft, the maelstrom died down after the Homer City Council spiked the inclusivity resolution.
Reading some of the comments lately about Homer on social media, the Betster wonders if maybe some of our fellow Alaskans have ever met any of us. Yeah, we have a reputation as a hotbed of social justice special snowflake warriors who haven’t worked since the Reagan administration. We’re a bunch of slacker stoner atheists quick to protest anything, some say.
Wise people who know more than the Betster have been talking about alternate facts. Apparently a spokesperson for the 45th President of the United States suggested a different group of inauguration attendance figures were “alternate facts.”