Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s the Friday before a long weekend and we’re bracing for “seasonal” temperatures here in the Northern Plains with highs in the 90s for the holiday.

Fortunately, I still have a stack of books to read, a big ole chunk of pork to throw on the smoker, and the first Tour de France mountain stages to enjoy on TV. The F1 show is still at the uninspiring Red Bull Ring for the second race in their double header, the NASCAR guys are at Road America (for a slightly different July 4th race), and the MLB season rolls with the NBA playoffs heading toward the finals. In other words, there are plenty of serious things to do this weekend.

I hope you have some fun midsummer plans and are finding ways to stay cool and enjoy the long days even as they start to get shorter again. In the meantime here’s a very small list of quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It is finally midsummer and I am relieved that once again days will be getting shorter. As the kids say these day, “thanks, science!” We can only hope that shorter days brings cooler weather and more rain for our farmer friends.

This weekend, though, looks to be sunny and mild which makes me think of long bike rides, strolls by the river with the dogs, and cocktails on the porch watching the life of our sleepy small town pass by. Now that the NBA playoffs are mercifully over (I’m as stunned as anyone that they just canceled the entire thing like that), I have the time to watch the Phillies play the Mets a bunch this weekend, the Formula 1 guys are in Austria, and the NASCARlers are inexplicably racing twice at Pocono. The highlight of the weekend, though, is Vasiliy Lomachenko return to the ring (although the Davis-Barrios fight should also be pretty good, but I’m not going to pay to watch it).

Otherwise, I have a couple of manuscripts to wend my way through and a massive stack of post-Scheidel reading to catch up on (starting in about an hour!). 

It should be a good weekend and I might as well kick it off with some quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

We are supposed to have a bit of a respite from the summertime weather this weekend and into the start of next week, and there is even the promise of a bit of rain! As for so much of the Midwest and Northern, we are caught in a drought and any precipitation would be welcome.

Speaking of precipitation, I am shocked, SHOCKED, that rain has delayed the start of the Men’s World Test Championship between New Zealand and India in Southampton. Who could have anticipated rain interrupting a much ballyhooed test match in England in the summertime? At least the England-India women’s test match seems to continue uninterrupted (although I suspect that India would enjoy a spot of showers right about now). I want to be excited about the second test in the West Indies-South Africa series starting today in Gros Islet in Saint Lucia, but much like the Sixers’ chances in the NBA playoffs, past performance by the Windies doesn’t give me much confidence. In other words, it might be just as well that I shift my attention to the buffet of boxing this weekend and look forward to the Naoya Inoue title defense on Saturday night. I’ll also almost certainly check out the Formula at Paul Ricard and the NASCARlers’ return to Nashville Speedway which this year will include the Cup guys.

Amid the summertime sports and fine weather there’s the constant drone of books to be read, manuscripts to edit, and data to be crunched. 

And of course quick hits and varia to herd:   

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

I’m watching a massive band of thunder storms track across the state and wondering whether we’ll lose power (or in classic North Dakota fashion even experience the storm! ND is one of these strange states where you can look at radar and see you’re in the middle of storm or a blizzard and look out the window and see blue skies!). In any event, it feels like summertime on the Northern Plains.

The weekend should be a nice with temperatures in the low 80s and plenty of sun. I’m hoping this nice weather brings luck to my Sixers tonight as they take on the Atlanta Hawks in game three of the Eastern Conference semifinals and my Phillies as they prepare for a West Coast trip with a two game series against the Yankees juggernaut. Saturday night is a packed card featuring Shakur Stevenson’s title defense at 130, which should be just a step below “must see” for boxing fans. The NASCAR guys are doing their annual All Star snooze fest in Texas.

With such an uneven calendar of weekend sporting events, I hope to get out for a vigorous bike ride and maybe a less vigorous jog as well as continuing to spend some quality time with a couple books. 

For your weekend reading pleasure, here are some quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Yesterday was the first day of the year that I actually felt HOT here in North Dakotaland and I suppose that means summer is upon us. Today, there’s a chance we’ll see triple digits and I’ve lugged the window-unit air conditioner (or, as we call them, egg-nishnah) to the second floor window.

Fortunately, there will be plenty of opportunities to keep cool this weekend as the NBA playoff roll on (apparently without Joel Embiid), the Phils face the Nationals, the F1 guys head to Baku, and the NASCARlers go to wine country. Plus, my summer research and writing schedule is coming into focus; so, there’ll be plenty of reasons for me to stay inside and chill out.

I hope your summertime is likewise rounding into shape and that you enjoy this modest gaggle of quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the US, and we have just survived the a frost warning (although I’m sure there were pockets that got frost last night). That said, we’re supposed to get to proper springtime weather today and it should warm over the weekend until it gets downright hot by the end of next week.

Memorial Day weekend means the Indy 500 and the Charlotte 600 back-to-back on Sunday. I am tempted to try to catch the Haney-Linares fight on Saturday night. The Phillies have a tough series against the Rays and the Sixers continue to grind their way through the Wizards. 

Of course, I have the usual pile of work to navigate this weekend, some of which I’m actually looking forward to doing and some, not so much, but hopefully more of the former in the end.

In the meantime, here’s a little gaggle of quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

The first part of this week was well and truly summertime and the second half has been spring. The good news is that we finally received some soaking rain turning my neighborhood from a kid of pickley brown to a vibrant green. In fact, it’s damp enough that we’re under something (and I kind you not) called a “dense fog warning.” Who even know fog was a THING any more?

In any event, this weekend should be a good one. The Formula 1 boys are finally back at Monaco after a year away because of COVID. The Cup guys are at Circuit of the Americas for the first time. And the Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor fight on Saturday Night has all the makings of a “fight of the year” candidate (and will be nice distraction from the endless Fury-Joshua-Wilder drama.)

Of course the main event of the weekend is the start of the Sixers playoff push with their opening round series commencing against Washington at noon on Sunday. The Phils face the Red Sox for what will be an early test for the up-and-down Philadelphia side.

I have plenty to do to keep my lap top humming when this or that game or race is on TV including getting my tiny Roman History class set up properly.

And continue my hunt for quick hits and varia:

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Friday Quick Hits and Varia

It’s a strange time of year in North Dakotaland. It feels like it really wants to be summer, but spring seems a bit incomplete. The temperatures have soared into the balmy 70s while trees continue to try their hardest to sprout leaves and the various flower wrestle forth from their winter slumber. Perhaps this is the appropriate weather for a bit of a uncertain end to the academic year. 

The awkward spring has not put a damper on celebrating the latest book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. If you haven’t already, check out Backstories: The Kitchen Table Talk Cookbook edited by Cynthia C. Prescott and Maureen S. Thomson for a culinary and intellectual journey through rural kitchens across North America. 

Backstories Cover FINAL SINGLEPAGE

This weekend is a bit of a lull in spring sports schedule. While the Cup guys are in my home state of Delaware this weekend, Dover hasn’t been a particularly entertaining a race recently. The Phils start a series against the Blue Jays in which I assume they’ll win game one, take game two into extra innings, and then lose game three. The Sixers should clinch the Eastern Conference championship with a win over Orlando as they’ve continued to coast toward the playoffs. 

I have a stack of books and articles to read this weekend too as the grind of the semester gives way to summertime projects and an effort to move my way through my reading and writing backlog. Stay tuned for my annual summer reading list.

In the meantime, check out this little gaggle of quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Part of the fun of the “Northern Plains Lifestyle” is trying to get comfortable with the weather. A week or so ago, I would say that we’re headed toward summer, but now I feel like it’s still springtime in the Red River Valley. I suppose it doesn’t matter. I’ll take temperatures in the 50s and sunny days over wintertime. 

Yesterday was my last day of classes for this academic year and the calm before the final wave of grading. This means that I’ll start on my summer reading list in earnest, take care of a bit of backlog in emails, and do some Digital Press work. I should also have time for a spin on the ole push-bike and to enjoy the Fighting’ Phils at Atlanta, the Sixers continue to coast toward the end of their season, the F1 party is in Spain, and the NASCARlers are at the Lady in Black. The big show, of course, is Saturday night when Canelo Alvarez fights Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO Super Middle Weight Championship of the World. The rest of the card looks pretty boring, but any time Canelo fights, it’s a kind of must-see TV.

Hope your weekend will be as relaxed as mine and that you find something that intrigues you in my little list of quick hits and varia:


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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Yesterday almost felt like summertime here in North Dakotaland with dry, blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. Today, however, we’re return to our regularly scheduled weather: grey skies, wind, and highs in 30s and 40s. Days like yesterday are a good reminder to enjoy every nice day here that you can.

Cooler weather this weekend will motivate me to keep focused. If I need a distraction, though, the Cup guys are at Talladega (and I mean that in a disappointing way as apparently Jennifer Jo Cobb was denied entry into the race despite having a ride) and the Indy cars are at St. Petersburg. More interestingly, one of my favorite boxers, Emanuel Navarrete is fighting on Saturday night on a card with knock-out machine Edgar Berlanga and blue-chip prospects Josue Vargas and Xander Zayas fighting down the card.

Otherwise, you can find me looking for some quick hits and varia: