I say that, like always, like it’s been a normal year.
A few things:
A new TPC column is in the hopper. It will covertly bring to light a project I’ve been working on, in addition to being excellent reading.
Several major projects have been underway and more are kicking off. More on that later.
The 7th anniversary of this “highly respected web log” is right around the corner.
A hot, busy summer awaits. Stay tuned.
People of the Northern Hemisphere: Summer has arrived!
I sense this season will be cooler than average. However that might just be because you’re here. Yuck. Yuck.
Happy beach season, folks!
I’m more confused than Rodney Dangerfield.
This afternoon I checked my voice mail and discovered a message from my daughter’s school. It was a kindly robo-call to remind me that my little girl starts school tomorrow morning. I knew that! It’s in my calendar … I checked to make sure… I forget a lot. I forget a lot.
The calendar reminded me of something. Yes, tomorrow is August the 10th. That seems so early for the school year to begin. Some schools have already started this week or even last week. A little sleuthing on the inter-webs taught me that a few systems even started in July! What’s going on? I remember the days when summer lasted until after Labor Day or at least until the end of August. It just seems to me the children are getting shafted out of big chunks of summer – a month or more in some places.
Photo by Piotr Lewandowski/FreeImages.
I checked on a historical hunch to confirm my own fading memory. I forget a lot. Ancient school calendars are somewhat rare so I couldn’t be picky with sources. I did find that, sure enough, in 1980 the Orange County (I didn’t bother with which Orange County) Public Schools started back the Tuesday after Labor Day – just like I remembered.
Further research revealed that there are still a number of systems that allow students to enjoy summer. These are mostly in the Northeast. I suppose there summers are shorter than most and so they let the kids enjoy it while they can. If I know anything about school calendar trends (and I don’t), then I suspect that more and more schools are starting earlier and earlier. At this rate, at some unspecified time in the future, American schools may only break for a summer weekend or maybe summer week.
Out of desperation I searched internationally. Scotland, England and Wales still start later in August (not sure about their calendar histories). Desperation turned to folly when I was forced to accept hemispherical adjustments. Due to the reverse of seasons down under, schools in Australia and New Zealand start back in January or February. Mind blown I returned to reality.
My little sweetie starts middle school (which used to be called JR. HIGH school!) tomorrow. I’m a little nervous for her or maybe for me. Maybe it’s a dad thing. Or a forgetful thing. I do know she’s looking forward to it all. Some of her old friends will be going to school with her, some won’t. She makes new friends easily; I know she’ll be happy. She’s also super-bright. We’ve never encountered any grade level changes that presented unexpected challenges (any challenges really); I suspect she could just as easily skip into high school (if it’s still called that).
She went to a terrific elementary school and this middle is top-ranked. It’s going to be a great experience.
I have been down on modern education on this site previously. However, there are decent schools out there. I just wished they started later than they do now. In my humble opinion school shouldn’t start until after Labor Day and should let out no later than just before Memorial Day. They should have a lot of breaks too. And shorter hours. Less homework. I’m a rebel.
Maybe a rebel without a cause. Maybe even a budding curmudgeon. Times have changed but I have not. Short summers. Four-cylinder engines. Remote controls. Mmmmmm. I hope my daughter has a blog some day so she can tell us why “daddy is wrong”. Unless, she turns rebel. One can only hope.
I realize I’m leaving off the entire subject of when schools are dismissed for summer break, now versus then. That will give me something to ramble about next year at the end of May … or is it the end of June?
Summers in the South are always warm yet often unpredictable. Some are blazing, burning, horribly hot. Others are mild, they pass into Fall with little fanfare. This one is what I call a slow summer; it seemed to ramp itself up out of nowhere and now, barely halfway through, it’s just hot. Constantly hot. 99 degrees with high humidity hot. I am officially over this season and ready for Autumn.
Being as such, I give you a fun list of things to do in the sweltering heat of July and August:
- Sweat. A lot. Outside. Inside. Early in the morning. Late in the afternoon. Better drink plenty of water (before it evaporates).
- Stay inside all day pretending it’s snowing outside. Yankees have cabin fever. We develop something similar. It’s really not that bad out there but one gets so comfortable in the air-conditioning. Then, stepping outside, it feels so much worse than it really is. Or, maybe it is. ???
- Do the fun less than half an hour drive, midday, and get all wet down your back with a profuse sweat because the car AC can’t cope. It will be running ice-cold just in time for you to get out at your destination.
- Loss weight. This one is fun and positive. I always drop pounds in the Summer. You? I just don’t feel like eating anything – especially anything warmer than ice cream.
- Ponder how the pioneers and the old-timers did it without AC.
- Call the AC repairman and/or the electric company to find out why the unit crashed in the middle of the hottest day on record.
- Write a blog post complaining about how hot it is.
- Melt. Or catch on fire – your choice.
- Search weather.com for northern cities or mountain locations to see how much cooler they have it at the moment. They do it too; the jealousy usually turns around mid-January.
- Know it’s hot. Feel that it’s hot. Then, inexplicably, go out at 3 p.m. for a jog or a few fun hours with the lawn mower. This is a rite of passage, especially for men. A time to show “we still got it”. Whatever “it” is is a mystery. Amnesia, maybe?
- Have a mild heat stroke and forget to stop with ten things to do in the heat…
Fall, where are you?
Summertime is almost here … officially. It’s felt like summer in the South for a good month now. Welcome, rest of the country; glad you could join us. The thermometer has been flirting with 100 lately but tonight there is a strange yet welcome cool breeze blowing. I’m out back listening to the crickets and other vocal bugs. The bats are out, wheeling around in search of dinner. Lightning bugs. A few stars.
The news has been a little heavy lately. Allow me to suggest a few fun ways to enjoy summer and temporarily forget about the ills of the world. A little list:
- Sit outside. Day or night. I’m out right now; it’s nice. By the way, a cigar is a natural mosquito repellent – fear no Zika.
- Exercise. Summer is a great time to shape up or maintain. Just remember the water.
- Take a road trip. I’m on the road a lot this season. Please just remember to drive attentively, with courtesy for the other guy.
- The beach. Sand castles. Swimming. Sun burns. A family favorite. My daughter is there right now … lucky. Okay, I was just there too.
- The mountains. My favorite place any season. It’s always a little cooler and slower at higher elevations. Take a hike!
- Visit a small, local amusement park – like Tweetsie.
- Go fishing. Have fun. Relax. Bring home something to fry up. That, or bring back lies…
- Take the family to the gun range. Send a picture to your Congressman. Remember the four cardinal rules of safety, please.
- Turn off the television. Leave it off. It’s poison.
- Read a book. I’m working on a few for this summer. They will be great reads, beach or hills. One will even be a comical work of psuedo-fiction. Buy multiple copies…
- Write a book. Or a blog. A letter. Anything. Tell us what you think.
- Take a little break – from everything. It’s the “lazy days” – it’s okay.
I’ll be back soon with more hard-hitting information. Have a great almost-summer evening.