SlowNewsDayFullby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 7/2012

Back by popular demand! Slow news day, random thoughts, summer edition! And that means we throw the “organized, well structured” narrative style out the window. So if you’re having trouble following along, it’s you, not me.

Summer began on June 21, the Summer Solstice (an old Latin expression meaning, “School’s… out… for… the summer”) meaning we officially have less than six months until the end of the world! That’s right, sports fans, the Mayan-predicted Apocalypse arrives on December 21, 2012, so dig into those nachos and max out those credit cards NOW because touchdown is in less than five months!

Mmm, about credit cards… I’m really in a dilemma what to do about Christmas. I mean should I shop early or not bother? I mean, what’s the point if the world ends BEFORE the 25th? Maybe we should do the gift-giving earlier this year? And what do you give to the person whose planet is exploding?

Apocalypse or not, a sure sign of summer is that the cooking and kitchen magazines have the summer recipes and that fantastic picture of the American flag cake — you’ve seen it: white frosting, strawberries or raspberries for stripes, and blueberries for stars. I need to make one of those to show my patriotism, and let’s face it; the recipe contains my favorite ingredient: Food.

Speaking of food, you just cannot beat the taste of summer foods in their prime season: Plums, watermelon, peaches, raspberries, corn on the cob, frozen Charleston Chew bars, ice cold beer… — it’s all good!

I miss ice cream trucks. And Hoodsie Cups still taste better when eaten with the little wooden spoon. Resolve that this summer, you’ll eat all the ice cream you can; it’s got calcium for strong teeth and bones! Especially when covered in chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

That’s the excuse I give my doctor, anyway.

“Fenway Franks” may or not be your favorite dog, but it has been scientifically proven (Wikipedia) that they taste precisely one million times better while sitting at Fenway Park. Remember, Fenway on a summer night equals all kinds of awesome. Red Sox may win or lose, but Fenway is summer magic.

Also (shameless plug) the Foxboro Jaycees are offering another season of free summer concerts on Foxboro Common every Thursday night featuring some pretty awesome talent; it’s a great way to spend a summer night right here in town. Bring a chair, a blanket, the kids, and enjoy the show!

And there are few greater summer pleasures than clams and hot dogs at Sullivan’s on Castle Island. I am consistently amazed what a perfect place the Island is to visit — great walking, great food, great scenery, girls in summer clothes…

Speaking of distractions, I saw some kids TEXTING during fireworks. Look, I understand that kids like to spend their entire lives in the virtual world, and not, you know, actually talk with other humans and all, but look UP once in a while, willya? The fireworks are really pretty, and there’s, you know, explosions and stuff, just like a “Transformers” movie, without the giant robots.

And stop taking pictures of fireworks with your cell phone! The quality stinks, they’re all blurry, and you’re wasting time and missing the show! If you DO want to take GOOD pictures of fireworks, use a real SLR camera, a secure tripod, ISO 100, F11, “bulb” mode, and experiment with the timing for proper exposure.

Damn, I just lost half my audience with that one. Here, this will help: Bumblebee is my favorite “Transformer.”

Speaking of movies, despite the need for a second mortgage in order to afford it, taking in a summer blockbuster — in a real movie theater on a big screen with a bucket of popcorn — is always a nice treat. This summer we’ve got Spider-Man, Batman: Dark Knight Rises; and next summer, Superman: Man of Steel and Star Trek… Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme to my movie tastes.

Speaking of theme, I try to read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution around this time every year — seriously, I really do. It’s compelling reading and it’s what we’re all about — if you get the chance, do it. These precious documents, crafted by people much smarter than us, are the blueprints for our country and they are inspirational reading and a nice thing to do as we celebrate our Independence… Damn, I just lost most of the kids reading this…

Aw, who am I kidding, they’re not reading this. They’re texting, “I’m bored, hmu.”

Still on the subject of Fourth of July (wait, were we?), every July 5th my grandmother, God rest her soul, would say that summer was over. Nana was a “glass half empty” sort of person, I guess, but it didn’t help that when she said it, we had been out of school for only like, a week.

Speaking of school, a plea to parents: Please let your kids relax a little this summer. They really DO work hard in school all year. When you make them paint the house, two coats should be fine. And make them wash the car only ONCE a week. And wait for a cooler day (say, under 98) to make them clean the attic, where temperatures can reach 400 degrees — in Kelvin. Oh, and be sure to take your teen-agers grocery shopping with you — they like nothing better than helping carry groceries, watch you decide which type of lettuce to buy… Look, kids, I’m sorry, but you’re going to blame your parents for everything in therapy years from now anyway, we need to get in a little payback while we still can.

Oh — and tell your teens to “chillax,” because kids LOVE it when you speak like their school friends.

Still speaking of school, please boycott any store that starts a “Back to School” sale in July. Despite having graduated college more than a few years ago, I still hate those summer “back to school” sales.

I mean, c’mon, summers are to be enjoyed! When I grew up in Dorchester, we knew it was summer because you’d hear firecrackers popping all the time, and we were outside from early morning until the street lights came on. And when I was a kid a sure sign of summer was Dad watching a Red Sox game, a nice breeze coming in, and the crickets chirping. Simple pleasures.

Summer music is awesome, and think about it — how many of YOUR favorite songs are “summer” songs? More than half, I’ll bet. I just did a computer search and found 100 songs with “summer” in the title. See? A silly column and you still learned something, you’re welcome.

Speaking of computers, let’s wrap up with an important summer safety tip — it’s obvious, but I keep seeing people doing it — stop announcing your vacation on Face Book BEFORE you go! Post the vaca pictures and updates when you are BACK HOME. Seriously, do you REALLY think burglars don’t read Face Book and can’t find your address in three seconds? Example post: “We’re off to California for three weeks!” Just brilliant! Why not post your alarm code as well and save the robber a few more seconds?

OK, on that note, I hope I gave everyone a laugh or two! Happy summer everyone!

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