Friday, August 13, 2010

Jim is on an extended-family canoe trip along the Connecticut River, which, along the stretch he'll be traveling, divides Vermont from New Hampshire. It's been a few years since he's been on this trip, and it's the first time his entire immediate family will be going. Along the way, the assembled campers will honor the memory of Ted Sizer, who, in his good long life, enjoyed canoeing this river before his death last fall. He remains vivid in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

As of this writing, Jim is weighing whether to take his iPad along, or to really rough it with an organic paper book and a flashlight, all of which stand a good chance of getting wet and leaving him with the terror of facing nature without words set in type (get your own book, Smokey). His recent e-book reading has included Carl Hiaasen's latest novel, Star Island, which skewers celebrity culture from Hiassen's longtime environmentalist angle. This includes a fixture of novels, the former governor of Florida (literally) gone wild, Clinton Tyree. Alas, Hiassen's fiction, so long laugh-out loud hilarious, has become predictably formulaic, though Star Island is still good for a regular chuckle. In this regard, his descent has not been as sharp as late, once-great, Robert B. Parker, whose Spenser novels, among others, have were nevertheless good for decades of pleasure. Thank you, Mr. Parker, for another life well lived.)

Wow: It's really late summer now. The dread and anticipation of a looming school year seems like a pretty good synechdoche for the human condition. May you stay cool and dry.