June 2011 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Hey, it’s still June out here in the boonies. We get our seasons on dialup. But I’m not gonna miss this month when it’s gone.

Would it be unpatriotic to say that I hate summer? This is, after all, the United States of Beach Party and Backyard Barbecue, right? But I do, and I always have. I grew up on the shore of Long Island Sound (my parents had left me in the care of some seagulls), but I actively hated the whole sitting-on-the-beach thing. I liked sailing, and I really liked going down to Tod’s Point in the winter, but the beach? Meh. I do miss the ocean, though.

Anyway, it has rained almost constantly for the past month, and this place is beginning to look decidedly tropical. Trees that were on their last legs have blossomed into spectacular health. The grass grows inches every day. The thistles proliferate, as do the mosquitoes. You can’t turn around without encountering a snake, and last week I saw the biggest spider I’ve ever seen, right there on the front porch. Seriously, this thing was the size of a teacup, a genuine nightmare, and it wasn’t afraid of anybody. I more than made up for that deficit by nearly having a heart attack on the spot and nightmares for days afterward. When your house is as porous as ours is, the distinction between “outside” and “inside” is largely statistical, and there’s no reason that thing couldn’t find its way inside if it chose to.

I have decided that I would very much like to live in a high-rise apartment with central air and wall-to-wall carpeting, a shower that works, windows and doors that fit, no flooded basement, no bugs, no blackouts, no tornadoes, no coyotes, no farmers spraying their crops (and us) with chemicals banned in every other advanced country, no idiot neighbors “accidentally” shooting at our house, and water you can drink right from the tap. If I ever win the Lotto, I am back in NYC so fast…. But I wanna live in NYC circa 1980, not the Disneyfied Trustifarian strip mall Manhattan has become.

Speaking of tornadoes, we had a tornado alert the other day and the county warning sirens went off. Twenty minutes after the warning had been issued by the NWS, ten minutes after the storm had passed just south of us. This is all too typical around here.

What else? I finally got around to watching the final episode of the first (and last) season of The Event, which NBC canceled to make room for more cowflop reality shows. The Event producers apparently didn’t know they were about to be axed, because the show ended with a really fine cliffhanger, one good enough to make me very angry that it will never be continued and resolved. I didn’t mind when Carnivale and the ludicrous Invasion dribbled out a few years ago because they had already lost steam and any reason to continue, but I really liked The Event. The Event had actual ideas.

Oh well. I’ve been watching TNT’s Falling Skies, but the jury’s still out. Parts are interesting, but there are way too many cute kids to be healthy. The Executive Producer of Skies is, of course, Steven Spielberg, who also produced the recent Super 8, a fawning homage to the oeuvre of, wait for it, Steven Spielberg. I didn’t like Super 8 while I was watching it, and over the next few days I came to absolutely hate it. Apart from the fact that big hunks of it made no sense, it seemed like little more than a plodding, checklist concatenation of ET, The Goonies, and Close Encounters, three treacly American classics that I’d vote to deep-six for eternity. Dude shoulda stopped with Jaws.

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