Four Seasons

by Bob Sparrow

Well with a title like this we could go anywhere – the luxury, five-star hotel chain who has Bill Gates as one of its majority owners; Jersey Boys backup group to Frankie Valli; the classical violin concerti by Vivaldi, or simply the four seasons.

All weighty subjects to be sure, but the oppressive heat in our part of the country over the last several days, begs the question, “Isn’t summer over?”

Unofficially, Yes; officially, No.

You see when I don’t travel I have to write about stuff like Mayberry, Margaritaville and the weather. Unfortunately, for you, I haven’t been anywhere exciting in the last couple of weeks (OK, I was in Vegas last weekend, but I was reminded that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – I know my money stayed there!), so now you get to read about the changing of the seasons. I can sense the anticipation building already!

I thought the subject appropriate since we’re just sobering up from the Labor Day holiday, which is the ‘unofficial’ end of a summer, which ‘unofficially’ started on Memorial Day. Officially summer begins with the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in terms of light in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer officially ends with the Autumnal Equinox, when days and nights are equal (almost) with 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of no sun; equinox actually means equal nights. Am I going too fast for those taking notes?

If you’re wondering, like me, whether we get more ‘official’ or ‘unofficial’ days of summer, here’s the math:

Summer officially started on Wednesday, June 21th this year and ends on Thursday, Sept 21nd (at 1:02 PDT to be precise) – that’s 93 days. ‘Unofficially’ summer started this year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (perhaps some cheated and started early on Friday night), May 27th and ended on Labor Day, Monday, Sept 4th – that’s 101 days. So we took eight ‘unofficial’ days of summer this year that I suppose we’re going to have to give back at some point, aren’t we?

One would think that because we declared these ‘unofficial’ starts and stops of summer, borrowing several days from the end of spring and giving a few back during the dog days of summer, that summer would be the season that people like the most – that all depends.

A recent survey by YouGov was conducted on this very subject (are you on the edge of your seat yet?), and depending on your age group and the particular region of the country in which you live, the results vary. But if we’re looking at all age groups across the entire country, the results are as follows:

  1. 29% favor Fall
  2. 27% favor Spring
  3. 25% favor Summer
  4.  7% favor Winter

Favorite season by age group:

55+                Spring

35 – 54           Fall

18 – 34           Summer

While Winter didn’t score high enough to even rate a place on the chart, we all know that winter in Scottsdale, Arizona is slightly different from winter in Bemidji, Minnesota, so let’s look at favorite seasons by region. Isn’t this fun?!

In answer to the question, “I like the weather where I live” the results by region are as follows:

  1. West 66%
  2. South 59%

3.  Northeast 59%

  1. Midwest 47%

The ‘West’ is probably skewed by Alaska at 33% and Hawaii at 100% (my figures, not theirs)

But, those who DON’T like living in the:

West say it is too rainy (26%) or too dry (36%)

South say it is too hot (70%)

Northeast say it is too cold (68%)

Midwest say it is too cold (62%) or too hot (26%)

Ok, maybe what happens in a YouGov survey should stay in a YouGov survey.  Hope you’re enjoying these last ‘official’ days of summer.

 

Finding Margaritaville in the ‘Hood

by Bob Sparrow

Late best friend, Don Klapperich, introduced me to Jimmy Buffett’s music in the late ’80s via cassette tapes from Saudi Arabia. I have since collected all his music, videos, read all his books including the Margaritaville Cook Book. My Sirius Radio in mostly on  the ‘Margaritaville’ channel, I’ve seen him live in concert numerous times and recently went to San Diego to see the play, Escape to Margaritaville, based on his music and lyrics, much like the play Mama Mia is based on ABBA’s music. The production is hilarious and is eventually headed to Broadway. I am clearly a big fan – a Parrothead. What is the appeal of a singer whose voice is more a kin to that of a carnival barker?  The vibe he creates!

Marge, Jeanne, Diane, Julie, Reta, Linda, Althea

Last weekend, we decided to celebrate the first weekend of summer Jimmy Buffett-style by hosting a ‘Finding Margaritaville’ party for our neighborhood. How do you find Margaritaville? Where is it? Some people say it’s in the Caribbean, other say it’s in Key West somewhere around Kokomo. According to Mr. Buffett, “Margaritaville is a state of mind where there is booze in the blender, good weather and colorful characters, just on the edge of paradise with a dash of reality thrown in to add flavor.”

Dianne, Pam, Kathy, Shelly

Well, that comes very close to describing the neighborhood we’ve lived in for the past 32 years, especially the part about the colorful characters. It was here I was going to start listing some of the characters and their accomplishments/antics, but there are 20 some couples that live on the two streets that make up ‘the ‘Hood’ and there is not room here to do them all justice and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, so let’s leave it at it’s a neighborhood filled with interesting, giving people where you can always find booze in the blender.

Banana Dolphins

Marge, her monkey and parrot in her tree

A good example of this giving neighborhood occurred when I asked if anyone in the ‘hood wanted to donate money to help the guide we had in Nepal after his home was destroyed in the 2015 Kathmandu earthquake – I had $1,200 on my doorstep that afternoon!   If someone is sick or housebound for any reason, neighbors will take turns preparing dinner for that family – and we have a number of outstanding chefs in the ‘hood (Rob Warren & Richard Wade immediately come to mind). When our kids were growing up and playing at each other’s house, wherever they were at lunchtime the mom would fix lunch for the whole gang. No one ever worried about where their kids were or if they had eaten lunch. It is an amazing group of people with whom we are lucky to be associated.

Phyllis & Starlet

Captain Jack

At 6:00 on Saturday, the house and yard were in their final stages of decoration; inside the ‘food island’ highlight was the pineapple palm tree, thanks to Marge Dunn and the dolphin fruit plate, thanks to Linda and Starlet. The best decoration outside was the Margarita machine; the surrounding palms and pool complemented it nicely. Partygoers arrived in full ‘Parrotfanalia’. Aside from the 40 attendees who were within walking distance of our house, more importantly within crawling distance home, we had a few family members to add a bit of spice to our already colorful cast of characters; including Linda’s 91 year old mom, Phyllis, who didn’t miss a beat, Linda’s sister, Starlet both in from Minnesota and my brother, Jack, who lent his deft bartending skills to the party, his wife Sharon and her son Brad.

‘Creative’ winners, Dunns, Baldwins & Webbs

Marc Webb, the Pied Piper, started the ‘pool party’

We had a contest to find out “Are You More Creative than Jimmy Buffett?” where couples had to change the titles of Buffett’s songs to something more original.  I can’t write all the answers we got here due to our PG rating, but needless to say the ‘hood is very creative.  So of course the party was a success, how could it not be with this group? As they say, a good time was had by all, especially those who jumped in the pool with their clothes on later in the evening – alcohol may have been a factor.

I’ve probably forgotten a few things that happened that night, but I know this, the ‘hood has been a great place to raise our little kids and a great place to raise a little hell.    Fins Up!

Phyllis bracing for the start of the party

 

Tanis, Stefanie, Lisa, Doug, Keren, Sandi

Are You Ready For Summer?

by Bob Sparrow

stonehengeWhile some people like to call Memorial Day the ‘unofficial start of Summer’, I like to call Memorial Day the official recognition of those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for preserving our freedoms.  The ‘unofficial start of Summer’ when I was a kid started at about three o’clock on the last day of school – which was typically around the middle of June.  However, the ‘actual start of Summer’ in the Northern Hemisphere occurs this year next Monday, June 20th at exactly 9:34 a.m. PDT when the sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator, but you probably already knew that.  So during this last week of Spring I’m going to help you prepare for Summer.

As sister Suzanne explained last week, preparing for summer for those in Scottsdale means getting out of town.  But some of us, who actually have to live in the same house all year long, have to ready ourselves in other ways. To wit:

Summer Songs – Nothing says summer like a great summer song, so I’ve put this compilation of ‘A Baker’s Dozen Summer Oldies’ together, burned them onto a CD and will be listening to it all summer.  If you’d like a copy, send a self-addressed CD envelope to me and if your among the first 25 to do so, I’ll throw in some old Ginsu knifes that I’ve had lying around here for several years.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

A Summer Song – Chad & Jeremy

In the Summer Time – Mungo Jerry

Summertime – Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John

Summer (from Four Seasons) – Vivaldisongs-of-summer-660x265

Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams   

Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful

Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra

Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

The Boys of Summer – Don Henley.         And for my friends in Michigan . . .

All Summer Long – Kid Rock

 Or you can just put on some Beach Boys.

Exercise – Remember the New Years’ resolution about losing that weight and really getting into shape?  Yes, round is a shape, but just a reminder that you have about 4½ months before you start nibbling on that Halloween candy and attending those holiday parties.  Now is the time, even if it’s just walking, to get out of the house.  What are you doing still sitting at your computer?  Go outside!!  You can finish this later.  It only goes downhill from here anyway.

Summer attire – No, you haven’t lost that weight and so you’re not buying that new wardrobe, but hey, it’s summer, buy some loose fitting Tommy Bahama or  Margaritaville stuff along with a pair of Sanuk ‘beer cozy’ flip flops – the most comfortable flip flops you’ll ever own! Find them at REI – you may even find other cool stuff there that will get you outside.

BBQ – Yes, you can still do your favorite chicken or ribs recipe, but make this summer the one that your bbqguests rave about your ‘new’ barbecuing skills.  Try some rack of lamb as well as grilling some fruit and vegetables – watermelon, pears, how about grilling some lettuce for a Caesar salad?  Corn and artichokes are awesome on the grill.  Be different this summer.  You can find a recipe for grilling almost anything on line.  Go crazy – you’ll thank me later.

Summer Blockbusters – I understand that it’s early, but so far it doesn’t look like Tinsel Town will bust too many blocks this summer. So far we have The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, X-Men Apocalypse; Alice Through the Looking Glass (featuring Johnny Depp wearing his wife-beaters).  Clearly Baby Boomers are no longer the ‘target market’.  Reruns of M.A.S.H. and The Twilight Zone may be of more interest.  You should be outside anyway!   
crowds

Travel – What about travel? you’re asking.  Summer used to be the time for those trips to the mountains, the beach, the national parks as that’s when our kids were out of school, but most of our reader’s kids have kids of their own, so I suggest that you stay away from those places and spend the summer planning to go there in late September or early October when the kids are back in school and the weather is still nice.  Beside, ‘summer gas’ is more expensive that ‘winter gas’.  What?!  Yes, the oil companies would have us believe that they are two different products, but we understand supply and demand economics.

Sunblock – If you take nothing else away from this blog (which is very likely), take this: being tan is no longer cool, it’s asunblock sign that you don’t understand actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma.  I don’t either, but just put on sunblock!

Summer Quotes – I’ll leave you with some summer quotes.

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability” – Sam Keen

“Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most  beautiful words in the English language” – Henry James

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco – Mark Twain”

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops” ― Kellie Elmore

“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it . . . in summer school” ― Josh Stern

Enjoy your last days of Spring and next week, don’t forget the sunblock!

 

Buffett Philosophy

M Casino & ResortNo, this isn’t about how billionaire, Warren would invest your money, but rather about another Buffett, one who has a decent net worth himself – somewhere north of $450 million – and invests so little in his concert attire that he doesn’t even wear shoes.  Yes, I’m talking about Jimmy.

I got a chance to see Mr. Buffett for the umpteenth time two weeks ago in the Hollywood Bowl and once again came away totally entertained by this man whose voice has been likened to that of a carnival barker.  So what is the attraction you ask?  A little history is probably in order . . .

scan0540-1

———–Don———-

I was turned on to Buffett’s music by my late, great best friend, Don Klapperich, back in the 80s when he was in Saudi Arabia, and prior to the common use of the Internet, we regularly  communicated by exchanging cassette tapes filled with music and patter.  Like most casual fans of music, I was familiar with the songs Margaritaville and Come Monday, but probably couldn’t have told you who sang them.  Don sent me a Buffett song called Somewhere Over China, a song with interesting lyrics that I asked him about, which apparently was his cue to start sending me more Buffett.  He did, and implored me to listen to the philosophical lyrics.

Philosophical lyrics?!!  To me, and perhaps to most casual fan of Jimmy, philosophy and Buffett didn’t seem to go together – what deep meaning or life lesson was I supposed to garner from “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville” or “having a cheeseburger in paradise”?  But between the songs Don sent me and the ones I subsequently purchased, I started to learn and appreciate the ‘Buffett philosophy’.  Now don’t get me wrong, he’s no Confucius or Descartes, but he is a fairly accomplished individual.

Serious Jimmy

Businessman Buffett

fun Jimmy

Balladeer Buffett

At 68, Jimmy not only still plays over 20 U.S. concert dates and several foreign locales each summer, but he is the head of a juggernaut business enterprise.  He has turned the brand ‘Margaritaville’ into resorts, casinos, restaurants, clothing and record labels, tequila and more.  You can thank Jimmy if you’re ever had a Landshark Beer in a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant. He’s written numerous books and appears frequently on TV and in movies, and does a ton of charity work.  He’s a veteran pilot who occasionally ‘buzzes’ his concert parking lots, which are filled with partying Parrotheads, prior to his concerts in his seaplane, the ‘Hemisphere Dancer’.

So here’s a primer of his philosophy from the songs and books of this Renaissance man . . .

On a general philosophy of life . . .

“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party. ”

Hemisphere Dancer

‘Hemisphere Dancer’

On staying young and living life in the ‘now’ and not worrying about how you’re thought of after you die . . .

“I’m growing older, but not up, my metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck, let those winds of time blow over my head, I’d rather die while I’m living than live when I’m dead”

On self-inspection . . .

“We are the people our parents warned us about”

On keeping a good attitude when life brings changes . . .

“It’s those changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes, nothing remains quite the same.  For all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn’t laugh and if we weren’t all crazy, we would all go insane”

On being in the right place with the wrong person . . .

“The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful”Landshark

On birthdays . . .

“It’s just another trip around the sun”

On why you should travel . . .

“You do it for the stories you can tell”

On looking back at a full life . . .

“Through 86 years of perpetual motion, if he likes you he’ll smile and he’ll say, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way.

On rationalizing a drink before the cocktail hour . . .

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”

104.3 WOMC partied with Parrot Heads at The Loungin On The Lagoon Beach party before the Jimmy Buffett concert at Comerica Park on Saturday, July 28th 2012 (Photo by Steve Wiseman / 104.3 WOMC)

Pre-concert parking lot party

From the mouth of Buffett . . .

“We’re all somewhere over China, heading east or heading west.”

“Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late.”

“If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me.”

I will admit that most of his philosophical stuff gives way to Fins, Cheeseburgers, Volcanos and Margaritas during his concerts, and that’s OK, as having a good time is a very big part of Buffett’s philosophy, but in a rare quiet moment, I still enjoy putting in an old cassette tape and listening to Don introduce a philosophical Buffett song.

Fins up!