Well, Lincoln, Nebraska made the CBS Evening News last week. It was not Chamber of Commerce stuff – not at all the sort of headline that a person is eager to hear: it was a heat index reading of 106 degrees. Actually, the following day was even higher at 113. That one didn’t make the news, though. The news reference was made while the anchorperson was going through a whole list of atrocious temperatures that blanketed the country that night. Lincoln’s circumstance was the result of temps in the high 90s and very humid conditions.
Many of the temps mentioned in the broadcast were made even more uncomfortable by smoke from the horrific fires in the northwest. The smoke extended all the way across the northern U.S. In Springfield, Massachusetts, where our daughter lives, it was thick enough to obscure the sky and create dark, grey conditions that lasted a couple of days. Closer to us, in Omaha, it affected people and pets with asthma and other breathing issues.
As is often the case here, the weather is doing its usual roller coaster routine. These past few days have been delightful, almost fall-like, with temps in the 60s in the morning and highs in the70s and 80s during the day. That is all supposed to change this Friday when the hammer comes down with temps again in the high 90s. The cat and I plan on toughing it out in the recliner. If the International Olympic Committee ever installs a power napping event I’m pretty sure the cat would win it. I occasionally take lessons from her.
Nita and I have enjoyed many of the Olympic events. Some of the swimming and rowing competitions have been especially exciting to watch – nail-bitingly close and fast. It seemed like some of those wall touches in the swimming pool were decided by the length of a finger nail. The gymnastics stuff is always good and the track and field events are underway as this is being written. It is good to see baseball again being part of the games, although it seems as if we never send our A Team to compete. The women’s volleyball matches have been of special interest to us. Three former University of Nebraska players, two of them in the usual starting lineup and the other often the first sub off the bench, are on the team. There is also a former Nebraska All-American on the Canada’s beach volleyball team.
Writing News: There is a small poem of mine titled “When Chores Were Done” in the July/August edition of Nebraska Life magazine. I don’t know what the reception to it will be. I suspect that it may strike a chord with readers who grew up on a farm. Those who don’t have a rural background may wonder what the fuss is about. At any rate, it is always a delight to have something published in Nebraska Life. It is a marvelous little magazine that has become kind of a model, the gold standard, for publications of its type in other states and regions of the country. It was a pleasant surprise to see the poem when I opened the magazine. I didn’t know beforehand that it had been selected for publication.
My Air Force colleague, Brigadier General Chip Franck, has completed his review of “Glory in the Shadows: America’s Forgotten Military Leaders – the Cold War to the Global War on Terrorism.” Great job as always and – also as always – most appreciated. The good news is that Chip didn’t advise me to trash the manuscript and resume my attempt to pitch for the Cubs.
Some editing work still remains to be done and I am in the process of collecting pictures and securing maps to complement specific sections of the narrative. There will probably wind up being about 24 portrait-type photos of the officers whose stories are told in the text. I also hope to include a few special shots of things like bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan – the one that the SEALs raided -- and the famous picture of the Berlin Airlift with the plane coming in at almost house-top level above the ruined city with a massive crowd waving and cheering their arrival. I think I will also need about 10-12 maps to help readers make sense of the stories.
Other stuff: I’ve been reading an unusual book titled “First Friends.” The book tells the stories of nine presidents and their special friends – unelected, (and in some cases mostly unknown) companions who helped shaped their presidencies even though they had held no official positions in the government. There are some interesting stories. JFK was apparently a close, longtime friend of David Ormsby-Gore, the British Ambassador to the U.S., who helped advise and steer Kennedy through the Cuban Crisis. Bill Clinton’s friendship with Vernon Jordan was so close that Clinton asked Jordan to convince Hillary to stay in their marriage after the Monica Lewinski scandal. It is an easy read, with a mix of serious and humorous moments.
We are apparently not out of the woods on COVID. The stats on the latest variant are ominous indeed. Please take special care.
And now – stop with the groans, please – some TRULY AWFUL PUNS.
Where did Noah keep old bees?
In the Ark Hives.
I looked up the definition of opaque.
It wasn’t very clear.
Best wishes to all. Stay cool and safe.