Because apparently I left stuff out of the last one.
1. The annual War for Darwin’s Basement is in full swing here in Our Little Town, as guys named Lefty and Claw hold their yearly contest to see who can be the first to burn down their garage with fireworks. On the one hand this happens – as noted – every year, so we’re used to it. It starts around Father’s Day and runs through mid-July, with the high point being Independence Day when they try to outdo the official city fireworks and the whole town ends up shrouded in a cordite haze. On the other hand, this year has been excessive even by the standards of people who think the secret to a good time is gunpowder and light beer. They don’t even wait for the sun to go down, which seems a waste since you can’t see the fireworks in broad daylight. On the third hand (hey – I’m an academic; I have an infinite supply of hands) some of these firework displays have been pretty impressive.
I’ve heard the conspiracy theories about the intensity of the booms this year, my favorite being that this is some kind of sinister effort to desensitize us to gunfire in the streets so we won’t notice the oncoming civil war. Dude, this is America. Gunfire in the streets doesn’t faze anyone here. I think we’re good on that score.
Mostly I suspect that after months of lockdown and with the official fireworks mostly canceled, people just want to blow shit up. MURCA!
2. So apparently in Britain the word “flapjack” does not refer to pancakes. Instead it refers to a sweet, chewy sort of oat and dried fruit bar. This came as a surprise to me. I’ve been following along this year with the acapella group Voces8, and since they can’t do concerts they’ve been doing all sorts of interesting livestream videos instead. It’s been a bright spot in an otherwise grim year. For a while they had the members share interesting recipes, and “Andrea’s Flapjacks” looked good so I tried them back in May. They did, in fact, rock. I made them again tonight and they were just as good. But I thought Andrea was being facetious with the name – that it was an analogy to pancakes, a claim that these were what pancakes ought to be, or something like that. Apparently not. This is what the British mean by flapjacks! No, no, no. That’s just wrong. Tasty, granted. But wrong.
3. In a better world Lauren would have come home from her year abroad last night and would be sleeping off some of the jet lag now. Sigh.
4. I have discovered how to stream Premier League games, now that they’re playing them again. For a sawbuck I got a subscription to the rest of the season – and with the streaming service you can watch replays whenever, so I can see games when I have time for them as long as I don’t go out of my way to find out the score ahead of time (and even if I do, they're still fun to watch). They offer two different versions – one with “natural sound” which means that’s its eerily quiet and one with “enhanced sound” where they pump in old crowd noise. I’ll take the latter, thanks. I miss crowds.
5. What do you think the odds are that der Sturmtrumper’s cultists will care that he has known for months that Russia has been paying bounties for dead American soldiers in Afghanistan and not only has he done nothing about it, he’s actually kissed up to Putin even further in that time? This is astonishingly criminal and he should be removed from office on a rail at the very least, but if events have shown us anything in this country it is that nothing matters more to the Trump cult than the Dear Leader – not morals, not laws, not preventable mass death from disease, not teargassing civilians, not putting children in cages, not anything – and I’ll put money on the fact that betraying American soldiers won’t matter either.
6. I suspect the military will remember it, though.
7. They keep telling us that Home Campus is going to have face-to-face classes in the fall, but nobody knows how that will actually work. A lot of colleges are pretty much in the same place right now. It’s not just us. On the one hand I don’t blame them for trying – they need a plan, if only to have something to deviate from. On the other hand, nothing anyone says before August 15 is going to mean anything, so hang onto your hats, folks.
8. I’m up to the newest Christopher Moore book now, and it’s kind of saddening to know that there won’t be another one after this, at least for a while (I mean, the guy is still writing after all, but the next one probably won’t be in stores for a couple of years). It’s been a fun ride.
9. I have a pile of boxes outside of my home office because at some point I am going to clean this room out and move some stuff on to the next happy home for it, but I’ve been saying that for over a year now and nothing has happened. Or, rather, everything else has happened. My classes end in August. Perhaps then.
10. It’s taken them three months, but the cats have finally figured out how to sleep with us home all the time and they’re not stumbling around like little furry zombies lashing their tails and demanding we get out and give them some peace anymore. So progress, really.