Wham-O Summer: Back to the Backyard (via Sports Illustrated)

Children shrieked, Weber seethed, cicadas skree’d from the trees. Can you hear the hissing of summer lawns, circa 1975, when Joni Mitchell sang of suburban ennui, of a woman stuck at home in July? In a ranch house on a hill / She could see the valley barbecues from her windowsill / See the blue pools in the squinting sun / Hear the hissing of summer lawns.

After a terrible spring of pandemic, the stuck-inside season just past, the summer of 2020 is already looking lost, unrelieved by the small mercies of attending a big league baseball game or visiting a public pool or taking an epic car ride to a distant amusement park. If many of us are left to gaze across the fence at the neighbors, bereft in our own backyards, marooned on our own Maple Streets, it may help to remember that the backyard—and the suburban subdivision, the city block, the local playground—was once a world unto itself, a place of sport and diversion, of tragedy and ingenuity, of derring-do and derring-don’t, of fun and boredom and mortal danger. … Read More

(via Sports Illustrated)

Mellow anticipation Friday

For some reason, I was having a little trouble selecting a suitable jam for today, but then my unconscious floated me this hip seasonal number. It is advisable to engage the snow machine ignition switch:

If you’d rather go full-throttle, cut to the chase, pop the clutch and drop the hammer, direct yourself over here. Either way, merry Christmas.

A Thanksgiving tradition for over 30 years

If there’s one thing upon which all of us can agree, I think it’s The Last Waltz at Thanksgivingtime. The following is from an invitation I’ve sent to friends in years past when I was living elsewhere:

On Thanksgiving, 1976, at Winterland in San Francisco, the Band gave its final concert: The Last Waltz. The group was in top form, playing all of their best songs from their multi-decade lifespan with their best friends and influences there to help them. From early mentors and collaborators like Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan to Canadians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young to bluesmen Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton to songsmiths Neil Diamond and Van Morrison and many more, this was a one-of-a-kind event, captured and beautifully preserved by Martin Scorsese.

A true landmark, both in the worlds of music and cinematography, The Last Waltz has been a part of my Thanksgiving observation for years now, and I would like you to take it in with me. 

Wherever you find yourself this year, the 35th anniversary of the event, grab a copy of the movie, give thanks, wear something nice, and above all else, remember,