80 degrees and you’re wearing a coat?

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By Jack Sparacino
Well, there’s nothing like a summer break to get your perspective back and reach a few more conclusions about the vital issues in life.  Here are a few that dawned on me recently.
1. Sure, it gets cold down here sometimes but obviously it’s more likely to be quite warm or at least comfortable. When I see older people walking around wearing a nice looking coat when it’s 80 degrees, I can only conclude they’re not just trying to be fashionable.  Maybe for every year past 60 the air feels a half a degree or so cooler than it really is.
2. We may be overlooking the inherent beauty of harp music as the music and advertising people keep us focused on rock and roll. Harpo Marx (1888-1964) was well known for his expert, even concert level performances.  In Marx Brothers movies, of course, they were a signature part of his act.  Even in an otherwise fairly forgettable film they made late in their careers in 1946, “Night in Casablanca,” Harpo played a lovely solo toward the end of the film that still endears him to us some 65 years later.
3. Apparently almost anything can be used as a weapon. This is made abundantly clear in Lee Child’s amazing Jack Reacher mystery series as Reacher manages to pound the bad guys to a pulp using everything from his fists to pool cues. In one book, he manages to overcome 6 to 1 odds in a bar by hurling bar stools at the evil doers.
4. Bagels may be just about the most perfect anytime food.  They’re just plain good to great 24 hours a day.  With eggs in the morning, made into a sandwich for lunch or dinner, maybe a late night snack.  Seems like you can put almost anything on them and they practically smile back at you.
5. Is somebody getting to the bottom of all those bogus warning lights in cars?  You know, like the “check engine” light which seems to often signify nothing.  And what about my car’s persistent warning that I’ve lost a headlight when there’s not a thing wrong with them?  Maybe there should just be a little “F.A.” (False Alarm) light that goes on to let you know for sure that there’s nothing going on.
6. Speaking of cars, lots of people love the smell of a new car, maybe mostly because they like the idea of having a new car and anything associated with it just takes on the positive aura.  This may account for my having developed a liking for the smell of new sneakers right out of the box.  Or a new bike.  Maybe it’s a transportation thing.
7. I’m almost ready to start believing in voodoo. How else to explain why so many of us walk confidently to a room for something but by the time we get there we can’t remember what it was.  Then as soon as you leave to go back to where you came from, that escaped thought comes right back at you.  Out of nowhere, it seems, since there’s seldom someone right there giving you hints.  Or how about when you start to blow your lawn or driveway and right away the wind changes direction and blows everything right back at you? What’s that all about?
8. A bow tie is one of those garments that is so geeky looking it’s almost cool, at least on men. On women, they can look great, even without a sequined top hat.
9. Calling something “Mickey Mouse” to signify that it’s trivial or worthless does a great disservice to all the great things Walt’s little mouse has accomplished over the past 75 years and his happy personality.  I say we turn “Mickey Mouse” into a compliment at our earliest convenience.
10. Among a dog’s many talents is the apparent ability to tell when people are sick. A growing body of credible research seems to demonstrate that dogs can sniff out various cancers and even Type 1 diabetes.  Their amazing sense of smell and the ability to detect odors in the low parts-per-billion range once again point to dogs’ incredible ability to enrich people’s lives.
OK, that’s my list, time to go back outside. Could look for a good used harp or a bagel.  Do I need a coat?  Maybe just a fright wig and a horn.