Heller does summer in Michigan …

∫ I’m just going to say it: I like Renaissance festivals. I’ve always been a fan of hokey, and there’s nothing hokier than a guy dressed in tights telling you in a bad English/pirate accent where the turkey leg stand is. Sheer, dumb bliss.

∫ I wonder if, someday, there will be festivals depicting 21st century suburban life?

∫ If you want to hate your fellow man, I suggest kayaking the same river with him. Between the plastic Jell-O shot containers floating past and the flotillas of 12 massive inner tubes loosely strung together blocking the river, it was a special back-to-nature day.

∫ Drunken inner tube lady whose flotilla stretched bank-to-bank to her even drunker friend: “Don’t worry about them. Kayakers are supposed to adjust to us, not us to them.”

∫ The DNR confirmed a cougar sighting in Gogebic County in the Western Upper Peninsula, which gives me the willies. The idea of a cougar stalking me while I hike has always freaked me out. I’d rather run into a bear, honestly. Bears are only likely to attack if you startle them or get between them and their cub. A cougar is a cat. I’ve owned cats for decades, and they’ll mess with you just for fun.

∫ This is always the part of August I dislike. It’s lovely, but the cicadas are out, and that means the leaves aren’t far from changing, and, when the leaves change, that means winter in nigh, and we never seem to have an average or mild one of those anymore. Don’t leave me, summer! You just got here!

∫ Remember when everyone in Michigan was freaking out about low water levels just 10 years ago?

∫ My favorite smells of summer: 1) Sweet grass, 2) Warm pine needles, 3) Elephant ears. I don’t even like elephant ears, but I like the smell of them. My favorite Michigan fruit: Traverse City cherries. My favorite Michigan vegetable: Corn on the cob. My favorite sound: Pine forest in a stiff breeze.

∫ The other day, I described someone who was paddle-boarding as engaging in “water-boarding.” It took me a minute to figure out why the lovely-yet-formidable Marcia thought that was funny.

∫ By not even trying to try, the Detroit Tigers have sucked some of the fun out of summer. Where is it written that the only way to rebuild is to suck for 10 years? Teams like Minnesota, Tampa and Oakland seem to compete most years. So why are the Tigers on this never-ending boom/bust cycle of two good seasons followed by 10 horrific ones? Seems like a lousy philosophy to me.

∫ It’s my opinion that roadside wildflowers are prettier than their domesticated cousins.

∫ I know everyone says don’t buy a boat, but my resistance is weakening, even though my friend says, “If you’re gonna buy a boat, you might as well get a ‘For Sale’ sign to go with it because that’s what you’ll be doing in two years.”

∫ I don’t like to eat fish, so I don’t fish. But I think I might get a rod, anyway. Casting seems like good, mindless fun. I think I could do it all day long.

∫ My other summer guilty pleasure is watching a sprinkler. Hey, you’re not normal either.