Have you talked to Cortana lately? Cortana is the annoying avatar that hitched a ride on your Windows 10 operating system. She is like that smarmy kid you knew in elementary school, who hung around trying to be your BFF, and then turned snarky when you turned your back. The one who always raised his hand to answer questions, always shoved ahead in the lunch line, and always thought he knew everything there was to know about everything.
Is it me, or are the Minnesota sports teams cursed? Let's think about this. Blair Walsh, the kicker for the Vikings, finished the 2015 season with a whopping 87.2 percent average. He is one of the top 10 kickers in the NFL. In fact, ESPN has him at No. 8 in this year's fantasy rankings. Not shabby, right? But then on Jan. 10 in the playoffs, with seconds on the clock and a nearly sure-thing Super Bowl berth on the line, Blair lined up a 27-yard field goal, to kick for the win. And missed. Whaaaaat?
Don't you just love back-to-school time? Fresh boxes of crayons. Notebooks with cute puppies or cute boy bands on the covers. Pencils with erasers that have not yet been erased into nothingness. And then there is school itself. If you are in elementary school, you don't get much choice in your classes. But you get recess. And if you are in junior high, senior high or college, you get to pick out your classes. You still have recess, too, but it is called phys ed, and you can choose cool stuff like volleyball or folk dancing.
The crickets arrived last week. And, by Jiminy, it’s good to have them back. Crickets mean that summer is at its peak. That it’s warm enough to nap on the grass, without needing a goose down comforter. And you can wish upon a star, too, while listening to the cricket concerto. So how much do you know about crickets? Do you know why they sing? Do you know how they sing? OK, people, it’s time for the Cricket Quiz. True or false: only male crickets chirp.
What do computer code and steampunk fiction have in common? A Dickinson native, now living in the Phoenix area, who writes both, that's what. You know about computer code. That is the stuff which makes life, as we know it, work properly. It is the DNA of all things non-living. Steampunk is a neo-Victorian style of design and storytelling that the cool kids have embraced. It began with H.G. Wells and continues with movies like "Wild, Wild West." And with author Vaughn Treude.
Last week we were the proud parents of 1,500 ladybugs. That is because we also were the unhappy enablers of a gazillion aphids. Actually, aphids are measured in gigabytes. With the emphasis on bites. For about 30 years, aphids have been our biggest garden crop. Slugs run a distant second. Oops, bad choice of words. Slugs slog along slimily, but they do not run. Because they only have one foot. That foot covers the slug’s entire undercarriage, though, so what it lacks in speed it makes up for in stickiness. With the emphasis on sticky.
As I write this, the thermometer is sitting at 99.75 degrees. This cannot be a good thing. It cannot be a good thing at all when you have to use your meat thermometer to figure out how hot the patio pavers are. Hello, Okefenokee Swamp, we seem to have your weather. We’d be happy to send it back to you, preferably by FedEx’s overnight delivery. So which one of you, in the deep dark iciness of winter, wished for a hot summer day? Someone, someone other than me, must have been complaining long and loud about sub-zero January days. Because it is karmic payback day today.
Know how you can tell it’s summer? Yeah, you can read your Dickinson Press on the patio any time between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., and you won’t need a flashlight. And yeah, your boat is on your driveway and your Weber kettle is always fired up. But do you know something else that is getting fired up? First on First. That’s the weekly street par-tay down at the corner of Bernie’s Esquire and the U.S. Post Office. New name. New game. Day’s the same, be glad you came!
Memorial Day is one of those happy-sad holidays. We are way happy that school is out for summer and that we can get outside and play in the yard. Because there is only a slight chance of snow in June, July and August. Maybe not July. But we’ve seen shovelable snow in June and frost in August, haven’t we? And some “natives” who have been native here a lot longer than me have told me of July frosts, too.
Have you ever gotten that feeling, like you have done something or seen something before? Even though you know it is impossible? You know, like the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series. Or like the Cubs being the hottest team in baseball. It is called déjà vu, which sort of means, “Did you view that already?” This weekend, there is a very strange unfolding of events at the Odd Fellow’s Lodge in beautiful downtown Dickinson.