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Story last updated at 6:04 PM on Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homer's Best Bets

Last week the Betster achieved the perfect fall trifecta — experiencing at least three events showing the season is upon us. First, there were those mongo tides that looked like Kachemak Bay might eat the Homer Spit. Next came a good fall storm on a trip across the bay. It started out a little gloomy, light rain with a chance of deluge, and turned into heavy rain with a respectable northeasterly. The rain wouldn't have been all that bad, but try bucking a swell on top of that and you're talking extreme moisture.


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Back to the bay Merlot heads toward Kachemak Bay while Parmesan waits in his kennel. The two Pacific harbor seas were released last Thursday at Bishop's Beach by volunteers with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The seals had been rehabilitated at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. Parmesan was found as a 4-week-old pup in July at MacDonald Spit. Merlot was found in May alone on the mudflats near Tyonek after a storm.

The big sign of the season came with a pounding of precipitation on Chez Betster's cold tin roof. After the bappety-bap-bat stopped, a carpet of hail covered the ground. A weather pedant pointed out that technically this wasn't hail, but ice pellets caused by snow — that's s-n-o-w — falling, melting and then refreezing. It kinda looked like that spring slush you get at the end of the winter, not the start.

Technically, that's called "white stuff," but here in the news biz we try to avoid clichés like "white stuff." Do that and pretty soon you're writing Onion-worthy headlines like LOCAL MAN SURPRISED BY WHITE STUFF. It's Alaska. We're not surprised by anything, or shouldn't be, and certainly not at the prospect of snow, hail, ice pellets and other frozen matter falling from the sky.

Soon you'll wake up to the real thing, a nice snowfall, and curse yourself for not getting out and enjoying the season while you could. Grab it while you can, perhaps with some of these Best Bets:

BEST BOOK 'EM INDY BET: Archaeologists don't just dig up old places. Sometimes they help solve crimes. Learn how archaeologists and anthropologists train cops with "CSI Meets Indiana Jones," by Alaska State Archaeologist Dave McMahan at 7 p.m. today at the Pratt Museum.

BEST HOT STUFF BET: For the past two weeks musician and Artist in School instructor Eddie Wood has been teaching salsa dance at Homer Middle School. See what students have learned in a performance 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Friday.

BEST ART AND ABOUT BET: Yup, it's the first Friday of the month which means it's, uh, First Friday, Homer's monthly run of art openings. Just because summer's over doesn't mean local galleries have slowed down. See new shows from midtown to Old Town, including the Pratt Museum's Ritz preview — even an opening at a hair salon. See schedule, page 14 for details.

BEST SWEET STUFF BET: After First Friday, catch some of Caressa's folksy and jazzy tunes when she sings in concert at 8 p.m. Friday at Bunnell Street Arts Center. It's another Bunnell "pay as you can" event, but hey, the Alaska Permanent Fund dividends came out today, so you ought to be flush, right?

BEST MOOP MOP UP BET: At Burning Man they call that "matter out of place," and on Bishop's Beach we're talking pop cans, cigarette butts, styrofoam, buoys and all sorts of trash that's washed up. Join the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies with a community clean up from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday.