Department Of Perhaps It’s For The Best That I Am Not An Artist
Because, were I an artist, this is the summer squash I would paint. Over and over and over. It’s the most interestingly-shaped Romanesco zucchini I’ve ever seen.
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In the WTF is happening to summer time-warp I’ve been experiencing, I’m already mourning the dearth of kayaking opportunities. Correction: the opportunities are there, of course, it’s just that the pesky time-space continuum keeps getting in the way.
I’ve been out twice this summer, both times with MH: once at a new entry point along the Tualatin River, and last Sunday, when we decided to check out the hitherto-unvisited-by-us Lacamas Lake, across the Columbia River in Washington State.
I was unimpressed by Sunday’s “venue” – I am a paddling snob purist and detest sharing the waters with stinky, loud, polluting boats inhabited by sedentary slobs motorized craft.  Still, I would have liked Sunday’s paddle trip to have been longer. But when I felt that blast from the past – the long-ago-but-still-familiar sensation of tightness in my bronchial tubes, which takes me back to those dreary days of the 1970s Southern California Smog Alerts – my lungs stopped enjoying the outing.
Sure enough, both MH and I received Air Quality Alerts on our respective AccuWeather apps. The air was icky – sorry to get all science-y on y’all. Translation: the air was brown and hazy from a combination of the record-setting heat wave we’ve been having combined with the smoke from 37 ( !!! ) wildfires burning in the Northwest U.S. and Canada.
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Department Of Early Morning Earworms
Last Sunday, as always with my early morning earworms, apropos of seemingly nothing I awoke with a Mitch Miller tune bouncing between my ears.
My parents both loved Mitch Miller’s music, and had many of his albums and watched his television show. Thus, my early childhood memories include listening to Sing Along With Mitch. But, why now, and why Bell Bottom Trousers ?
On further reflection, the apropos of nothing was probably a big something: Tuesday, August 8, was what would have been the 93rd birthday of my father, Chester Bryan (akak “Chet the Jet”) Parnell. And Mitch Miller, or more specifically, the musical stylings of Miller’s all-male chorus, was one of the few things my father and I ever argued about.
My arguments with Chet were memorable, mostly because there were so few of them. My father adored his “Robbie Doll”  – he and I were of similar temperaments and got along famously. Thus, it took me by surprise that one night, all those years ago, when he teased me about how it wasn’t really possible for me to claim to like both Mitch Miller and The Beatles (this was after he’d run across a quote from Miller dissing rock ‘n roll music).  I responded with the righteous indignation only a grade-schooler can muster, spewing the counter charges I’d heard from Miller’s critics, who accused him of namby-pamby, gimmicky song choices and arrangements…
I can’t remember how I “won” the argument, only that it was obvious that I did. Although, it didn’t take me long to realize that it was also obvious that he’d let me win. My father thought the sun shown out of my ass…and for a time it actually did, thanks to a tragic childhood flashlight accident, the details of which I won’t go into right now. 
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May you be free from Air Quality alerts;
May you enjoy these times, which are the good times;
May you be able to appreciate the balance of whatever in your life approximates both Mitch Miller and The Beatles;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Which paddlers encounter more frequently on lakes than in rivers.
 Chet’s childhood nickname for his second daughter, the nickname a high school friend would memorialize with a drawing of me as a doll, wearing a bank robber outfit and holding a gun. Yes, I’m talking about you, Ruth Rockliffe.
 “Rock’n’roll is the glorification of monotony. A certain element of juveniles accepts almost any form of it, even the lowest and the most distasteful, because everybody else in their group does.” From the UK Independent’s obituary of Miller.
 Which is, of course, a totally fictitious story, but one he would have loved.