A Proposal for Adding 15 Days to August

The headline speaks reams about the disconnect between reality and government schedules: "Despite the heat, it's time for pools, beaches to start closing." Why is it time? Because it's time. Stop asking stupid questions. 

In the canonical list of things about which you can be rightly steamed, this falls somewhere between cold fries at the drive-through and shirt-collar tags that scratch your neck. But it’s instructive. Sunday was the last day for lifeguards at Minneapolis beaches. St. Paul will close Phalen on Sunday. Ramsey County yanked the lifeguards August tenth, for heaven’s sake. One of the hottest, driest months in recent memory, and this is how we’re served.

Why? Because they can, I suppose; because we’re used to it. There’s a fountain in our neighborhood kiddie pool, and it always shuts off long before the toddler swimming season is over, weather be damned. They have their schedules and they have their budgets. Whether anyone involved in these decisions realizes the message sent by an empty lifeguard chair is irrelevant; if it’s over for them, it’s over for you. Deal with it.

When I read the story I almost gave in, and decided to post the inevitable slumped-shoulder signs-of-summer’s-end thread. But rather than concede in advance, why not go on the offensive? Why not posit that summer does not end with Labor Day, but terminates with dignity in the middle of September? The leaves will still be green; noon will still have strength; the flowers don’t know anything’s changed. If August can last 31 days, why not 45?

Give October its full ration; we all love October.   Carve two weeks out of November’s dead brown hide. No one would mourn the halving of November, and the winter ahead would seem easier to bear if we could sprint through the month, pause for turkey, and schuss into Christmastime.

I can’t think of a month less deserving of the full ration than November. It’s just March, backwards.

But if we’re going to start reallocating the days, it might be wise to leave September alone. It’s a well-mannered month, and all the back-to-school connotations have deep roots in our childhood memories. It always seemed long; let it be long. Give the extra days to June, perhaps – but then again, June’s charm is its slender quality, its perishable nature. July, then? Fine. But July starts with a bang, and has nothing to add after the fourth; just imagining “July 42nd” makes you feel hot and hellish. May? Well, May already has a full ration, and if it can’t do it in 31 days, there’s no reason to ladle on another week.

Come to think of it, there’s not a month I’d shorten. Or lengthen. They seem to be perfectly proportioned, somehow.  All the more reason for the cities to find the cash to put a teen on the tall white chair until they need a parka. Life is short and summer is shorter.

The neighborhood pool is visible from my daughter’s school. It would be cruel to see the fountain spraying when you’re stuck inside, crammed into rows, retuning your brain to the rhythms of institutional instruction. It’s also cruel to shut off the fountain a week before school resumes. If the Park Board would like some free advice, it’s this: run the fountain until school starts.  Wait until noon, when the kids are out for recess. Shoot it as high as it will go – then cut it off. Nothing more needs to be said.  

They might even cheer. That was awesome. The bell that summons them back inside might even seem welcome. Of course, there's a bell now.  Of course.

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November and March

"I can’t think of a month less deserving of the full ration than November. It’s just March, backwards."

That's an exquisite line. You ought to go into Bartlett's for that one.

We all love October?

No - we do not all love October. It's rainy. It's cool. Slow death is now beginning. Depression sets in. Leaves die. Winter is just around the corner. Maybe I will love October when I retire and move to Mexico.

I love October

It's got my birthday (which isn't so important as an adult) Halloween and postseason baseball.

January, on the other hand, is useless. February at least has spring training so while I'm freezing there's at least the promise of light at the end of the tunnel. January is just one cold day after another. Maybe there needs to be a break after Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Years Eve, but January is just too bleak.


It has my birthday too, although in my 40's I can't say that my birthday brings me the great wheezy joy it once did.

December would be unbearable - the long slide into progressive darkness - if the Church in Her wisdom had not put Christmas just after the shortest day in the northern hemisphere. When all the Christmas lights are shining, you don't notice how doggone dark it is.

Calander Changes

Ok, how about this - add 3 days to the week. FUNday after Sunday to promote a 3-day weekend. Threesday after Teusday, and another day between Thursday and Friday. Then, make each month three weeks long, and the 'extra' 5 days (or 6, in a leap year) get used as 'festival' days leading up to the new year.
Just think on it.

Oh, and what in thunder is the DFK still hanging around for? Thought he was headed to the scrap heap before the PREVIOUS redesign... ???

A lone voice in the wilderness for January

Hey rbjacoby1; January is MY birthday month so don't be puttin' it down! Yes, it's cold and long and bitter but at least with January you know what you're getting. Nobody is shocked by January unless there's a thaw and then it's like a gift.

All that aside, I do have to confess that October is probably my favorite month with the changing leaves, cool crisp weather and, of course, high school football. Since my nephew graduated last year I now get to go to the games to cheer on my niece who starts her first year as a cheerleader!

Half of August at bargain rates!

You can have half of August from Florida with free extra bonus Hurricane Watches, Warnings and Innuendos complete with tracking map and weather radio! Then we could just jump right smack into September without noticing one bit of difference one way or the other. Except for the transplants wandering around wondering why they're still so sweaty and the leaves show no inclination for change.

logistics question

Just out of curiosity--if we wanted to email a comment about a bleat(tm), where would we do it? James@lileks.com is perpetually full. And I know buzz.mn isn't the place.

I am aware this comment won't be approved, since this is buzz.mn, not lileks.com. But at least you'll see it! And perhaps you might put a note in a future bleat on the topic.

A faithful fan


Try Twitter. James rediscovered it when he bought his new iPhone.

Ah....yeah, Right.

Hate to burst your bubble but Lileks rarely reads these posts (watch, I'll prove it).

Hey, Lileks! Yeah, You. NA, NA, NA-NA NA! Your mother wears army boots! I've seen gelatinous mollusks write better prose!

See? Despite my hostile challenges, he's nowhere to be found.

Our host

It's worse than that. James Lileks doesn't actually exist. He's actually a nom de plume for Garrison Keillor, who finally became unable to entirely repress his common sense, and had to assume a false identity.

Nom de plumes

Aren't Lileks and Keillor both different facets of dog faced kid -- who's actually not a child but rather an adult with a youngish looking face.

I for one welcome the retiring of the lifeguards each August

I'm sure a lot of folks didn't see it but there was a really good op-ed piece in the Strib a few weeks back about the Orwellian rules at Minneapolis beaches. I agree with the author, and I for one welcome the retiring of the lifeguards each August. It allows me the chance to pick my favorite city lake and run, yell, use a floatation device, swim past the buoys, and basically have fun at the beach; as opposed to just sitting near the water quietly and not doing anything as required by the posted rules.

There's nothing sinister

There's nothing sinister about closing the beaches. Now is when all the lifeguards are getting ready to go back to college.

I blame the lawyers

...there was a really good op-ed piece in the Strib a few weeks back about the Orwellian rules at Minneapolis beaches...

I'll wager that all those rules came about after somebody sued the city over somebody's own lack of personal responsibility. That's how it all starts... People expect the government to protect them, and when something happens, the courts get involved, and then everybody loses because the government will take whatever steps it can to prevent more legal trouble.

Personal responsibility is dead. And as a result, individual freedom is dying.

has anybody ever seen Garrison and James together in public?

we need to whistle up Lance and do a little background investigation here. I've heard of being neutral in public print, but doing it by two opposing personalities is not the standard.

will have to see if James is at the Strib fair booth this year, and if he has an old DX-77 mike in front of him. and his notes are on fire.

Our Host can't be the Old Scout

The Old Scout can't criticize anything boomerish. Our Host won't slavishly worship the totem of boomerism.

The Old Scout isn't Minnesota Nice. Our Host is.

The Old Scout is Minnesota Lean. Our Host is actually lean.

He is watching...

...I've seen his screen name in the online users list before...

you sure that isn't his dippy twin?

there is a consipiracy everywhere, if you just look hard enough ;)

Jamison Keilleks

"James Lileks doesn't actually exist. He's actually a nom de plume for Garrison Keillor"

Bwa ha ha! Funniest comment in weeks. Thanks!

Lawyers and lifeguards

Oh kay then. If the lifeguards have to head off to college, there should be a bunch of lawyers tethered to each empty guard tower. Then, when a swimmer starts glugging, just throw out the next lawyer, grab the rope around his neck, and reel in the glugger. What could be simpler?

Lawyers as Lifeguards question

You mean, lawyers float?
Then they WOULD be good for something.

"He is watching"

"...I've seen his screen name in the online users list before..."

Only when he's posting his next update. He's not wasting time reading our comments. It's true.

Only we read the comments by other readers, and sometimes I wonder about that considering the comments that duplicate other posts above them.

comments posts and blogs - Lileks Barry Bleats and Buzz

A comment is not a post and, as Instapundit likes to point out, a commenter is not a blogger. If you really have something to say, get a blog. Then, try to get readers. Me, I'm just killing time.

Lileks doesn't have comments on the Bleat. He has them here because this is intended as a "community" site, not just his personal site. That doesn't mean he reads them or cares what we say - and he's entitled. As jimchig points out, we often don't even read each others' comments. Pretty funny. Everybody shouting down a barrel and nobody listening .

Funny, though, I first discovered Lileks because he left a comment on Dave Barry's blog years ago. Dave read the comment (!) and made a big deal about what a star Lileks was, and linked his site. I've been hooked ever since.

Once in a while comments get read

Both by us and by our host. I remember one time I think BG Bear or one of the regular commenters posted a picture of some fancy S.W.A.T. clothes, I believe in response to the personal squad car Segway thingies that the MPD were rolling out. James mentioned that gear in a post the next day. I also recall a couple of Lance Lawsons where he remarked about an especially funny comment when posting the "Official Solution".
That's not to say he reads them all or even a small percentage, but once in a while I think he does.

He's like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny — you just have to believe...

November vs. January/February

The early winter months are worse than November easily. November has Thanksgiving, coming right off of Halloween, and the drawn-out built-up to the super holidays. And these days it may even have some not-so-bad weather once in a while. The weather and post-holidays depression of early in the year are the worst. And Valentine's is an anti-holiday if you're not in a relationship.

If budget is the reason for shutting the pools in Minneapolis, the city should be glad the summers are so short in MN. It could be much worse. Why such a hurry to close it down?

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