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In Jim's Daily Opinion 07/06/2015

MONDAY, 7/6:

I think I’m ready to go.

Over the past year or so I've written in here about how I’d been stunned by the fact that it’s been (now) four years since I last updated the “107 Things To Love About Marquette County” list.  At that time, I mentioned that it needed to get updated because of the fact that several people, businesses, and activities mentioned in it are no longer around.  I also asked if YOU guys had any suggestions for items and/or pictures to be included.  Well, I did my part, you did your part (and I say thanks for that!) so beginning tomorrow, and taking however long it takes, I’ll start posting version number four of the list.

As I look at what’s going into it now, it’s actually gonna be longer than 107 things, but this is one of those lists that I really don’t feel comfortable in trying to winnow down.  I mean the 107 is an arbitrary (although chosen for an obvious reason) number and I really don’t want to leave off something that’s deserving just to get down to that 107.  So if it ends up being 112 or 116 things to love about Marquette County. . .well, so be it.  Just consider the extra 5 or 9 items bonus items that come free of charge, much like the extra set of Ginsu steak knives you get if you call in the next 10 minutes.

And you don’t even have to pay the extra shipping & handling!

There’s another reason I’ve chosen now to put together the newly revised list, and that has to do with time.  A good chunk of the list is already written; I just have to correct, revise, and update what’s already there, and make sure the pictures go where they’re supposed to go.  Hopefully, that’ll save a little time, which will be in short supply this week and next, as not only do I have to do everything I normally have to accomplish in a usual day, but I also have to accomplish most everything our office manager Carol has to accomplish in a normal day.  She's gone for a week and a half, and guess who gets to fill in for her?  Add to that the fact that I also have appointments, TV shoots, and meetings to attend to, and you can see where every extra second I can beg, steal, or borrow will come in handy.

So starting tomorrow, version number four of “107 Things to Love About Marquette County”.  It’s always a labor of love on my part, and it’s always one of those things that gets a huge response from people reading it.  I hope this version’s no different!

(jim@wmqt.com)

THURSDAY, 7/2:

Saturday is usually one of my favorite days of the year.

I mean, overall, Saturdays are usually my favorite day of the week, but this Saturday will be something special—Fourth of July parades in Marquette and Ishpeming, parades where for almost 20 years now we've been giving away cash in our little “July Parades of Ca$h” contest.  And trust me on this—there are few things as good for your self-esteem as being in a parade where people want money from you!

8-)

I have a blast at these deals every year.  Because I'm broadcasting while we're parading, and not giving out certificates, I just get to walk along the route, talk to people, and take pictures of the signs everyone's put together.  Many people just print out the sign we have else where on this site, and that's okay, but others go through a LOT of effort to get our attention.  Don't believe me?





That's one sign from last year.  In my office, I have a collection of signs from past years, signs that were so good that I just wanted to display them somewhere.  My favorite, in fact, sits on my file cabinet, and is a painting (on Styrofoam) of me chilling in the sun lying on a hammock.

It's gotten me through many a long winter afternoon, in fact.

The other thing that's cool about the parades is that, like many things around here, we've been doing it so long that it's become a multi-generational event.  I've heard from a bunch of young parents that they made parade signs when they were kids, and now they're doing it with their own kids.  I think that's neat; I mean, I'm not quite sure how I feel about being so old that people can make that comment , but I think it's neat that it's become the tradition it's become.

And THAT'S why this Saturday will be one of my favorite days of the year.  Hope to see you guys at one or both of the parades!

***

A note--because tomorrow is our “holiday” day at the station, there won't be one of these again until Monday.  So on that note,, have yourself a fun & safe holiday weekend.  And don't forget to bring your signs!!

(jim@wmqt.com)

WEDNESDAY, 7/1:

Okay...today's the day I talk about unicorns or rainbows or something, right?  Well, how about fruit?

Once again, I need your help in figuring out something plant (or technically, tree)-related.  Two summers ago, Loraine and I were walking down the Lakeshore bike path between Shiras Park & McCarty's Cove, when we noticed a lady picking berries off of a tree.  Being curious, we stopped and asked her about them, and she gave us a taste of of these amazing pieces of fruit (and they were yummy!)  Of course, we forgot what they were called, and while walking past the trees last year, we noticed that nothing was happening.  The fruit wasn't there.

Well, this past weekend (or, as we call it around here when it's 45 degrees on June 30th, our two days of “Summer” for this year) we walked past the trees, and low and behold, guess what we saw!





The berries are growing again.  Now, this leads us to wonder—exactly what kind of berries are these, and why didn't they grow last year?  Do they just bloom every two years?  Did someone or something pick them before the fully grew?  Were we just blind?  Since we were curious enough to stop when we saw the lady picking them two years ago; well, now we're curious again.  And since, as I mentioned last week, you guys are among the smartest people on the face of the planet, we're hoping you can help us out.

Thank you in advance!

*****

As I (snarkily) mentioned, the October-like weather as we're heading into July makes me glad we were able to get out and enjoy our “summer” this past Saturday.  One of the reasons was so I could take pictures for the new version of “107 Things To Love About Marquette County” that I've been promising you for a year and a half now.  Well, you know what?

I'm thinking it starts Monday.  I don't wanna promise anything I can't deliver, but I'm thinking Monday.  Wish me luck!!

(jim@wmqt.com)

TUESDAY, 6/30:

Repeat after me—the sidewalk is NOT a parking lot!

I'm sorry, but I'm gonna spend this blog complaining about something.  I know I seem to have been doing that a lot recently, and if you don't want to hear me do it again, you have my permission to come back tomorrow.  I promise to talk about something cheery, like sunshine or rainbows or unicorns.

Honest.

Now, on to my rant.  There is a household at the corner of Pine and another street in Marquette where the people do not know how to park.  I know this because I run and walk up & down the street all the time, and I always have to duck into the roadway when I come across this yard--





Not only is the pickup truck waaaaay too long to fit into their driveway, it even sticks out into the street, where it's (as you may be able to see) surrounded by two other pickup trucks on either side of the driveway.  That means that every single person who walks or runs down the sidewalk on the east side of Pine Street, every parent pushing a stroller, every child riding a bike, and every person who needs a wheelchair or some unblocked access to the sidewalk, has to veer out into Pine Street, past the pickup trucks into the middle of the street, where traffic, because it's on a hill, is often speeding past at 110 or 15 miles an hour over the speed limit.

All because one individual does not know now to park.

Now, if this was just a one time event, I wouldn't be raising any kind of ruckus about it.  But whoever lives here has been doing this for months now, oblivious to the both the fact that the sidewalk is not a parking lot and the fact that they could be putting people in danger by making them veer out into a very busy street. I don't understand people who do things like that.  I don't understand why people would break the law by using the sidewalk as a parking lot.  The sidewalks belong to everyone, not just whoever happens to live next to it. 

They're OUR sidewalks, not yours.

I think that's what getting my goat here.  It's the same thing that gets my goat when I see dog owners bring their pets on a beach or some other place where there are “No dogs allowed” signs.  These are public areas; they're not your personal playgrounds.  By using them as your own, and by willfully flouting the rules, you're disrespecting every other single person who might need to use them and every single person who does try to follow the law.  There are 22,000 of us living on a small piece of land, and the rules (like not blocking the sidewalk or not taking your dog on thee beach) are there to make sure that we can all live together in harmony.  I try not to disrespect any of the other 21,999 people in Marquette.  I'd hope everyone else would return the favor. 

Apparently, though, that's not the case.  At least for that's the case for one individual thoughtlessly blocking the sidewalk on Pine Street.

Okay; I'll shut up now.  I just needed to get that off of my chest.  Like I said, tomorrow we'll talk about puppies or flowers or chocolate.

And I won't complain about a thing.  Promise.

(jim@wmqt.com)

MONDAY, 6/29:

I wonder what you'd find if you DID look down there.

While in Chicago last weekend Loraine had a thought, a thought that popped into my head again this weekend as we were walking through downtown Marquette.  And Loraine's thought, as we were riding the L train, was this—what would you find on the bottom of yours shoes if you did a DNA test on them after a day in Chicago?

Odds are, the results would not be pretty.  Especially if you, like we were doing at the time, had just ridden the Blue Line.

Like I said, I thought about that again this weekend as we were walking through Marquette, past bars where you know some vomit had to have been hurled, through an alley where who know what had occurred the night before, and down a bike path where people had not (despite the bags everywhere) cleaned up after their dogs.  Add to that the spit & sweat of runners, the blood of bikers, and the, uhm, wastes of people who may have spent the night on one of the path benches, and your shoes would probably be covered with a gumbo of humanity.

But, sad to say, probably not a very tasty gumbo.  Or a very healthy one.

Until Loraine had made that crack last weekend, I never actually devoted much thought to what I walk through on a daily basis.  But maybe I should.  I mean, when I go running early on a Saturday morning, before people have had a chance to clean things up from the previous night's activities, I can see some pretty nasty things.  I don't run through them, but they're there.  And even after the clean-up occurs, I'm sure some trace lingers.  So when you consider everything that gets “expelled” by humans and animals on a sidewalk or a bike path, it's a wonder our shoes don't somehow mutate from all the DNA, and get up and walk off on their own.

Although that  could be an interesting concept for a horror movie, when you think of it.

Of course, we come in to contact with all kinds of disgusting stuff on daily basis, and don't give it a second thought.  I suppose if we did, there would be some among us so repelled by the thought of everything we're stepping in that we'd never want to step outside again.  Thankfully, I'm not one of those people, although, like I said, I'd never devoted an ounce f brain power to it before last weekend.

And now that I'm thinking about it...

8-)

Don't worry; I shan't become one of those people I just mentioned.  Too much of my life (many of my favorite parts, in fact) are lived outdoors.  There's no way especially during what passes for “summer” up here, that Id lock myself inside just to avoid a little “human gumbo”.  However, that does not mean that I won't be looking a bit askew at the bottom of my shoes next time I take them off.

After all, you never know what might be residing down there!

(jim@wmqt.com)

FRIDAY, 6/26:

We agree on an awful lot in life, but there is one thing on which Loraine and I will, apparently, never compromise.

I was reminded of the whole issue by my repeated listening to the latest song from Fall Out Boy, a cute little ditty called “Uma Thurman”, in which the group samples the theme song from “The Munsters”.  And that reminded me of the “issue” that has come between my dear wife and I in the 20-some years we're known each other.  

You see, she likes “The Munsters”, and I like “The Addams Family”.

The whole issue probably goes back to our childhoods, and the ways in which we grew up.  She grew up downstate, in a farming community.  I grew up in Marquette, a college town.  She had older siblings; I was the first-born.  She was a relatively normal child, while I was (and still am) a dork.  And I think that once you know those differences in our upbringings you’ll fully understand why we have this chasm separating us.

I like “The Addams Family” for the same reason I like two other shows Loraine’s not really that fond of, “Rocky & Bullwinkle” and “The Gilmore Girls”.  I like the shows because they’re hyper-verbal.  They feature offbeat characters doing offbeat things, and what they say is often much more important than what they do.  That’s the kind of kid I was growing up, and that’s pretty much the way I am now.  So I guess it’s no surprise that I would gravitate toward shows that feature characters like that, especially a show like “The Addams Family”.

It’s also not a surprise that Loraine would favor “The Munsters”.  Like I said, she wasn’t a dork, so she probably wouldn’t find appeal in a show full of dorks.  Not only that, but she had an older brother who gravitated toward movie monsters, and seeing as how “The Munsters” was a show put together so Universal could feature their famous movie monsters of the 1930s, I can see entirely why she likes the show.  And it’s not like it’s a really bad TV show.

It’s just not “The Addams Family”.

As I said before, it’s just one of those things about which Loraine & I will have to agree to disagree.  She feels, from the depths of her heart, that “The Munsters” is the superior show, while I feel, from the depths of my dorky heart, that “The Addams Family” will never be topped.  To quote a great American philosopher, “We’re obviously separated by denominational differences”.  And I guess we’ll just have to live with it.

8-)

On that note, have yourself a great weekend!

(jim@wmqt.com)

THURSDAY, 6/25:

You guys are among the smartest people on the face of the planet.

Now, I'm not saying that to butter you up for much of anything.  It's just that smart people seem to read this (as opposed to, say the person who writes it).  I base this on the fact that many times I've put out a question to which I did not know the answer, and before an hour passes at least one of you tells me what I need to know.

So with that in mind, can any of you tell me what kind of trees has blossoms like this?






They're on this tree--





Which I pass on my way to work each day.  I'd like to know because, after lilacs, the short-lived blossoms on the trees may be among my favorite smelling things on the planet, if only because they smell exactly like Faygo grape pop.

Go ahead, laugh.  I know you're dying to do so.

8-)

Okay, now that that's out of your system, I really AM curious as to what kind of tree it is.  I don't seem to come across too many of them in my wanderings, but when I do and when the tree's blossoming it's quite a treat.  After all, there aren't that many blossoms that smell like a Michigan-made soft drink, and I guess you should take 'em where you can get 'em, right?

It's ironic that the blossoms come out just as summer's beginning, because for me the taste of Faygo grape pop was always the taste of summer.  When I was a kid I always used to drink the pop when it was hot out.  I don't know why I only drank it during the summer; maybe there's something in the chemical makeup of it that my body craved when I was hot.  Or maybe I only wanted a purple tongue when I wasn't in school.  But for whatever reason I would only drink it during summer. 

To me, it just tasted like “summer”.

Over the years, as Faygo reformulated their sodas and added different sweeteners, I stopped drinking it.  But when the company brought out their “classic” line of sodas with real sugar (as opposed to the crap with high fructose corn syrup that they have now) last year I waited until a hot day to try the grape.

And you know what?  It still tastes exactly like summer.

I'm sure that's one of the reasons I like the smell the tree gives off, an odor that you can notice almost a block away.  That's how strong the smell is.  So if you have any idea as to what the tree is, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know.  My curiosity—and my weird sense of “summer”--thank you very much!

(jim@wmqt.com)

WEDNESDAY, 6/24:

I thought they were just a joke, things created in the minds of comedians for a cheap laugh or two.

Shows how wrong I was!

I promised you two more pictures from Chicago today, and I shall deliver.  I jokingly say that they both point out what's bad with my second favorite place in the world, and the second of the two pictures will deal with the item I thought was just a joke.  The first, though, is a little more serious--





The one thing I REALLY don't like about Chicago is the amount of cigarette smoke you encounter there, especially on the street.  I've joked in here on occasion that the only people in Marquette who seem to smoke are college students who come up from Chicago, but it was a joke that could've been based in reality.  Everywhere you go in the Windy City you run into people puffing away.  I'm sure some of it has to do with just sheer numbers; with millions of people living in the city, at, say, a 20% smoking rate, that's a lot of smokers.  There's nothing you can do about it.  And when you throw in the number of tourists visiting, especially foreign tourists from countries where smoking doesn't have the stigma it does here...

Well, I guess you have to take the bad with the good in a city.  But too often this weekend we saw exactly with I captured in the hastily-taken picture above, that being both parents smoking around a child.  Now, I'm not a parent (nor a smoker), so I'm really not in a position to judge. but if I had become a parent I'm sure wouldn't have done things like smoke right in front of my kids.  It may just be me, but that really seems like sending impressionable kids the wrong message.  I might be wrong, and not being a parent I probably shouldn't judge, but that just doesn't seem right.

But like I said, that might just be me.

Now, onto the picture showing what's “wrong” with Chicago.  Everywhere we went, almost as much as we saw smokers, we also say this--





Yup.  That's a family using a selfie-stick.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, I halfway thought selfie-sticks were just a figment of our pop-culture imagination.  But nope; they're real.  I lost count after the first three dozen or so so I can't tell you exactly how many people I saw using selfie-sticks, but they were everywhere.  Not only that, but just about every store we went into had the sticks for sale.

What IS this world coming to?

8-)

Like I said, though, if you can only find two things “wrong” with a place, it must have something going for it.  And that's one of the reasons I like going back to Chicago again and again.  You never know WHAT you're gonna see!

(jim@wmqt.com)

TUESDAY, 6/23:

Wow.  What a difference it makes writing a blog on a real computer!

I never thought writing a blog on a phone, like I tried to do Sunday from O'Hare Airport, would be so hard, but thanks to a phone screen that probably wasn't big enough and to an auto-correct program that should be thrown in the trash, I barely managed to get one out.  That's why it's nice to sit here, type like a normal person, and tell you about our adventures in Chicago, complete with pictures!

Like I mentioned in the phone blog, the weather wasn't the greatest, at least until Sunday afternoon, just as we were getting ready to leave.  I mean, it wasn't as bad as it was here (from what I heard), but it wasn't what we were hoping for.  The first couple of days gloom and fog filled the air--





I mean, if you're looking at fog, it's not a bad place to look at fog, but we were hoping for a little sun & warmth.  Speaking of nice things to look at, here's the view from our hotel room--





What did we do?  Well, we went to lots of places and saw lots of things, accompanied by many of our close personal friends--





I know for some people, being in a city of Chicago's size can either be intimidating or suffocating, and I can understand why.  But it energizes me; I don't know why, but it does.  Between the “seething mass of humanity” (as Loraine called it) and the non-stop symphony of sirens and car horns, there's just something so...Chicago about it all.

And that's the best way to explain it.

We went into a lot of stores, especially grocery stores, where we saw some strange, exotic foods--





And had lots of good eats, including perhaps the best Mole Chicken I've ever tasted (and I've tasted lots of it)--





Apparently, a Chicago sports team just won a championship, at least according to the lions at the Art Institute--





But mostly, you just have to go to Chicago to look at the skyline, whether it's in real life--





Or done up in Legos outside of the Lego Store--




So all in all, we had a great time in one of my favorite places in the world, even if we did put a damper on the weather the people in Chicago were expecting.  Next time, we'll make sure we bring GOOD weather with us!

8-)

Tomorrow, two more pictures, this timer pictures that show what's “wrong” with Chicago.  One is kinda serious, one is really, really not.  So until then...

(jim@wmqt.com)

MONDAY, 6/22:

For a while, I was starting to wonder if we were gonna owe the people of Chicago an apology.

First of all, I owe you an apology, because this is gonna be short.  I'm writing this on my  phone at O'Hare, and it's not working very well.  I'll write a LOT more tomorrow, but I did want to get something up.  And that something was this--as of 36 hours before we left, the Chicago forecast called for sun & temps in the 80s. But both Friday and Saturday, it was foggy & gloomy & chilly.

We seemed to have brought our weather with us.

Fortunately, at least for the people of Chicago, the weather warmed up the way it was supposed to.  It wasn't good for us, because we had to leave mid-aftrernoon, but it was good for the people of Chicago.

So I guess we lucked out there, at least apology-wise.  And we did have a great time, sometimes in spite of the weather, so I guess I can't complain, at least too much.

Okay...autocorrect is driving me crazy, so much more tomorrow, including pictures!

(jim@wmqt.com)

THURSDAY, 6/18:

I get to go to Chicago tomorrow!

Yup; Loraine and I are making a little getaway tomorrow to my second-favorite place on the planet, a short little weekend jaunt that'll allow us to walk around, eat a lot, are stare up at some of the most impressive architecture you'll see anywhere on Earth.

I can't wait.

Why a weekend getaway, and why now?  Well, we always try to get to Chicago at least once a year, and we're usually able to do it when we're flying to Europe.  You know the routine—we leave Marquette early in the morning and have 9 hours to kill in the Windy City, so we hope the Blue Line train to the Clark/Lake station, do everything we want to do downtown, and then get back on the train to O'Hare, where we then fly out.  It's a great way to visit Chicago and not have to pay for extra airline tickets.

Unfortunately, that's not in the cards this year.

This year, because of the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways, and because we're flying into Frankfurt instead of Paris, we leave Marquette, fly to Chicago, spend 4 hours at O'Hare, then fly to Philadelphia, spend 4 hours in the airport there, and THEN fly to Frankfurt.  We won't have the chance to play in downtown Chicago like we usually do. 

And that's why we're going this weekend.

We sat down and tried to figure it out, and we think this is the first time since 2007 then we're actually spending a weekend in Chicago instead of just the day.  That'll be nice, if only because we won't be rushed in trying to get everything done before we have to board another plane (plus, we won't be hauling carry-ons and laptop bags with us everywhere we go).  We can take our time, go places we haven't been in a while, and maybe even explore neighborhoods we've not yet explored.  That's one of the reasons we like Chicago; it's always changing, and there's always something new to see.

So hopefully this weekend, we'll get to see something (or a bunch of somethings) new!  And since the forecast is still calling for temperatures to be warmer there than they are here (keep your fingers crossed for us, please) we may actually get to enjoy the “summer” that we've not yet had here.

On that note, have yourself a great weekend, even if it's just at home.  I'll be back here and on the air Monday, and it wouldn't surprise me if I had a few pictures to share!

(jim@wmqt.com), Chicago-bound tomorrow morning!

WEDNESDAY, 6/17:

I'm not quite sure how my mind gets trapped into learning about these things, but once it does it does not want to let go.

Every so often I will find myself being introduced to an intellectual topic, and then wanting to learn more and more about it.  The latest subject that has piqued my interest is, for the lack of a better term, evolutionary paleo-history.  Or, to put it a little more reader friendly, the story about how modern humans became modern humans.  I read a book that kind of dealt with the topic a couple of months ago, and since then I've come across stories and facts that relate to how creatures exactly like us popped up in East Africa 150,000 years ago, moved across the planet, and then led to us sitting on the shore of Lake Superior complaining about the cold.

I guess I'm hooked on the subject.

Like I said, since I started reading about the subject I've recently come across a couple of things that either relate to it or shed light on it.  The first was a fascinating article on the subject of PTSD by Sebastian Junger in the June edition of Vanity Fair, which posits that being a soldier in a combat situation is the closest modern humans get to the living conditions of the first humans.  When they originally moved out of Africa, the first humans did so in small groups, where they lived together, worked together, and depended up the help of each other for survival.  In fact, that's how our ancestors lived up until the development of the agricultural age a mere 10,000 years ago.  And how humans lived until they settled down to become farmers is a very close approximation to what soldiers in a war zone go through; Junger says that it would be much better
treatment for their PTSD if they were left in  small group and recovered together.  That's how the first humans dealt with stress, and genetically, it's still encoded that way into our DNA.  Instead, soldiers are sent home to family and friends who have no idea what they've gone through, and really have no support system that helps them out.

The soldiers are basically having to go against everything encoded into their DNA while trying to recover from the trauma that's been inflicted upon them, at least according to Junger, and I can see where it makes sense.  We haven't evolved enough in 10,000 years to change the way we mentally deal with traumatic incidents.  Like I said, it's a fascinating article, and one that ties into this subject that I've been kinda obsessed with recently.

The other fact about the topic that's popped up recently?  Well, in a couple of books I've read, scientists have theorized that sometime after modern humans popped up on the planet, probably 20 or 30,000 after we evolved into what we are now, something happened.  It may have been a drought, or it may have been another natural disaster, but something happened that caused the number of humans to drop precipitously.  In fact, by studying the DNA of members of modern civilizations, it appears that for perhaps 100 or so years way back in our pre-history no more than 40 human beings were alive.

The modern human race came incredibly close to extinction, but somehow survived.

For some bizarre reason, I find that fascinating.  Seven and a half billion of us are descended from just 40 or so individuals, and if those 40 or so hadn't found a way to survive until whatever natural disaster wound down, life on this planet would be incredibly different than it is today.  If those 40 or so modern humans hadn't survived, would Neanderthals have taken over the planet?  Would some other intelligent and mobile species have arisen instead?  And are modern humans the only species this happened to?   Or was there another race or two or three of primates that developed intelligence, but didn't find the way out of a natural disaster that those 40 modern humans did 100,000 years ago?

Like I said, that fact blew my mind.  It blew it in a good way, but it blew it nonetheless.

So that's what I've been reading recently  I'll try not to go all gaga about it in here like I do the lilacs or the weather, but I just wanted to mention those two stories.  After all, they really made an impression on me.

(jim@wmqt.com)

TUESDAY, 6/16:

Does anybody remember when I wrote what follows?

First, let me explain how I came across it.  I'm in the middle of a long-term project—cleaning out my office.  Over the 12 years the station's been in Marquette things have, uhm, started to pile up on my office floor, on my desk, and in every nook & cranny you can see (and some you can't).  So for 30 seconds a day, I grab something and see if I need it.  If I do, I file it away.  If I don't, I toss it.  I figure it's a painless way to clean; after all, it doesn't take much time, and at the rate I'm going, my office should be spotless when I'm ready to retire in 20 or 25 years.  And it must be working—when my Mom got back from Florida and came over to visit she noticed something was quite strange, and then realized that my office actually has carpeting on the floor, that my floor is not just a collection of cardboard boxes and stacks of paper.

I guess, if nothing else, I'm on the right track.

Anyway, when I was doing my 30 seconds of cleaning Friday I came across a list I once wrote.  I have no idea when I wrote the list, nor do I have any idea about the context in which I wrote it, although I'm thinking it might've been during one of those bouts of “Is Jim a Yooper or Isn't He?” that seems to occur every few years.  I don't know if I ever used it on the air or in here.  All I know is that I wrote it, printed it out, and must've promptly stuck it in a wire basket, where it's sat buried under a bunch of other papers (and a thin layer of dust) for an unknown number of years.

So without further ado, here's the list:

SEVEN SIGNS YOU MAY NOT BE A TRUE YOOPER:

7. If you've never—even in a dream—thought about buying a pick-up truck.

6.  If, when someone says “hilltop”, you think of a mountain, and not a sweet roll.

5.  If you don't salute when you hear the name Vince Lombardi.

4.  If you don't own a single piece of clothing in hunter's orange.

3.  If you've never gone ice fishing, because you're afraid of cold feet.

2.  If you realize the Appleton is NOT the shopping capital of the universe.

And the number one sign you may not be a true Yooper?

1.  If you've ever—even once and even by accident—pronounced it PAY-stee


Well, that's the list.  Like I said, I'm not quite sure of its date or its origin, so if any of the lame jokes seem familiar; well, maybe you can help me figure it out.  I know I'd appreciate it.

See what I get for trying to clean my office?

8-)

(jim@wmqt.com)

MONDAY, 6/15:

“You owe me restitution”!

That line, from my second favorite Charlie Brown cartoon ever (and bonus points if you know from which cartoon that line comes) has popped into my head recently when thinking about the “summer” we've had, at least here in Marquette, so far this year. We've had many days when the forecast sounded promising then turned out to be nothing like what it was supposed to be, and we've had days when the forecast sounded promising yet a lake breeze decided to play tricks on us. Last weekend (with the rain and temps in the 50s) was a perfect example, and it marked the first time that I actually said the above-quoted line about restitution out loud.

And now I can't seem to stop.

Yes, I know that complaining about the weather is about as futile as trying to change the weather. There's nothing you can do about it. You get what you get, and you have to take it, no matter no much you may loathe it. You'd think that after living here most of my adult life I'd realize that. But for some bizarre reason I still think that Mother Nature is making this personal, that she's doing this just to make me whine. Yes, I know that I have absolutely no bearing on the weather, and whatever happens is not because of me. I'm self-aware enough to know that.

I just wish Mother Nature knew that, too.

8-)

I know I shouldn't complain, not when you look around other parts of the planet and see extreme heat or extreme drought or extreme rain (and as an aside, we're currently living through the hottest year, planet-wide, on record, with some areas being either dryer or wetter than they've ever been before. Maybe Mother Nature's just pissed we broke the planet, and is taking it out on us!). In that respect, we're lucky. We have enough water to live normal lives, we're not dying because of flooding or extreme temperatures, and our lives, unlike the lives of many people, aren't torn asunder by weather. Just because it's 10 degrees cooler than it should be, or a little foggier than normal, or because we have a breeze coming off the world's largest freshwater lake, a lake that still has water in it, is no reason to complain.

I know that. I realize that. So yes, I should stop complaining about it. Yet still, for some weirdly bizarre reason, I still think Mother Nature owes us restitution.

And no, I don't know why.

I'll shut up about the weather now. After all, I'm sure you're tired of me complaining about it, the same way you're tired of me waxing rhapsodic about lilacs. Besides, our summer has to show up SOME day, right?

Right?

(jim@wmqt.com)

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