You know it is hot outside when, even at midnight, the bank clock thermometers still read 90 degrees plus. We were driving through downtown Nashville after Samantha returned from hanging out with a few of her friends from the political realm. I have enjoyed hearing her stories, but the thought of sitting outside in the heat while getting frustrated with our elected officials makes me prefer my evening plan -- making a post-season run in NHL 2K9 for the Wii. Video games have been an escape from the heat, and I have started occupying my free time with them a lot here lately. I am sure that it is a juvenile thing to do, with little benefit for my notably un-cultured self (I can count on one hand the number of books I've read from cover-to-cover since college). Still, my weary mind could use the escape.

We are about a week away from the start of August. With it brings the county elections and the statewide primaries. I would say that I have voter fatigue, but I have paid so little attention to all of it that I am genuinely still curious about it. Some of the candidates have mostly been sideshow-entertaining (thinking of "End Universal Jihad!" billboards, embarrassing interviews on WSMV and the one with the incredulous fly-in-fly-out Sarah Palin endorsement). Other have been even more ridiculous ("Giving Washington the Boot", "Meet 'em at the state line" and "I hope we don't have to secede"). National pundits are certainly getting a laugh at Tennessee's expense, but it is a position that we have grown accustomed to -- reinforcing every hillbilly, backwoods stereotype known to man. I could tell anyone from the east coast that our Governor must wear a coonskin cap while giving his "State of the State" address, and nobody would bat an eyelid.

August also brings the start of football season and the beginning of training camp for the Nashville Predators -- I will let you guess which one I'm a bit happier about. Despite playing an 82-game season between October and early June, even the short months in between seem to drag on. It is too early to get much of a sense of whether the team will be a contender this year, but shoring up the ownership "situation" and making a couple of other strategic moves certainly sounds like a better start than a few years ago when I was contemplating whether the team would even be around at this point.

My wife's birthday is in three weeks. Suggestions. Go!