Editorial: The Season Finale; Clinging to a Summery State of Mind

This being the unofficial last weekend of summer — yes, it pains us to say that — Upper Valley residents will be challenged to squeeze every last drop of pleasure from the season finale. Traditional activities include grilling, hiking, biking, gardening and picnics — options that will soon enough become unavailable. Yes, it pains us to say that, too.

But summer is as much a state of mind as it is any particular physical activity, and the appropriate seasonal attitude falls somewhere between disengagement and indifference. Offered the chance to fret about the most recent domestic or international crisis, a person who has adopted the correct seasonal frame of mind will: a.) turn on the ball game; b.) pour/mix a tall glass of iced tea/beer/gin-and-tonic; or c.) take a tour of the garden and admire the vegetables and blooms. As a public service, we offer the following list of recent news stories that all but scream out for utter inattention. That the mental checking-out we hope they will inspire coincides with both the spirit of Labor Day, when we are supposed to take a break from all manner of toil, and the end of a slow news month is purely coincidental.

Arizona claims to be in the same league as Vermont in the fall foliage department.

We initially paid more attention to this one than it warranted because, in truth, the state’s foliage has not been up to snuff in recent years. But the day that Vermont’s leaf-peeping prowess is threatened by a state best known for its colorful rocks is the day we pour cactus juice on our pancakes. It’s not happening. Turns out that the claim is just a publicity stunt by Arizona Highways, the state’s tourism magazine. The magazine’s editor readily admits that two states aren’t close; he says he just wanted to let people know that his state has more than canyons and deserts — that people can find deciduous trees that turn color.

If they look really hard.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announces he will renounce his Canadian citizenship.

The man who is vying to be simultaneously The Most Conservative and The Most Obnoxious member of the U.S. Senate has what might be called an Obama problem, albeit one more grounded in fact than fantasy. Unlike Obama, Cruz really was born in a foreign country — Canada; Calgary, Alberta, to be more exact — although to an American mother. That gives him dual citizenship and lends a patina of importance to the circumstances of his birth only because there has been discussion of a Cruz presidential run. Most legal experts say Cruz’ dual citizenship wouldn’t prevent a presidential candidacy, but the Obama-haters have taught us that facts and law need not put to rest such questions. Cruz’ pre-emptive renunciation of a citizenship he never exercised may be great news for Canada, but it is of no consequence to the rest of us. Cruz a serious presidential candidate? The day that happens is, yes, the day we consider moving to Canada. We’ll start paying attention when he renounces his U.S. citizenship.

Members of Congress gear up for a debate about raising the debt ceiling.

The blessed summer recess, when Congress takes a break from accomplishing squat, is about to be over, and one of its first orders of business will be the looming expiration of the federal government’s borrowing authority. Yes, we know. This a grave matter. Allowing the government to actually default on its obligations could cripple the U.S. economy, deliver a body blow to global stability and blah, blah, blah. We don’t care. Well, we do care, but nothing could induce us to pay attention to Round 6, or whatever it might be, of this tiresome production. Wake us up when Congress has decided to either engage in one of the most foolhardy acts of economic self-destruction ever or, more likely, to kick the can down the road once again.

The “Farmer’s Almanac” predicts a nasty winter.

Bitter cold, lots of snow ... it’s going to be the real deal, according to the annual publication. We couldn’t care less, and it’s not just because we suspect that the Almanac may be more accomplished at ginning up publicity for its forecasts than getting them right. Rather, we don’t care because we’re living in a state of denial, and we’re not moving. You say winter is coming? We say the Sox are in first place, and those tomatoes are looking fine.