Rejoice, sweaty squirrels! Fall is here, and humans are making some great music

The heat of the summer, at long last, seems to be dissipating, and I have a new lease on life.

This transformation, from incurably grumpy to not, is a yearly one for me as the seasons change from summer to what the rest of America knows as “fall.”

I’ve taken to calling it, “That Time of Year When I Finally Stop Sweating and Dreaming of Life in Nova Scotia.”

From mid-May through September, I convince myself that only alligators, snakes and sand fleas are truly meant to live in this swamp of a place.

Even squirrels seem to wear looks on their furry faces that say, “Can you believe this heat? Global warming is a myth, my gloriously bushy tail.”

It is only now, when our area’s rain forest-like humidity has finally loosened its death grip on my life and mood, that I begin to understand why human beings, myself included, choose to live here.

I no longer think longingly about the positively chilly prospects of nuclear winter or dread going outdoors for runs so torturous it’s like I’m committing Geneva Convention violations against myself.

We have survived another summer, and the rewards for such a triumph of the human spirit (and air-conditioning) abound.

There is plenty to look forward to this fall.

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the things worth living for between now and when those crazy Mayans believe we’ll float, untethered, into the cosmos.


The networks have trotted out their stable of predictably drab, and soon-to-be-canceled, new shows but some old favorites return to populate our DVRs.

Fans of such shows as “Top Chef,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Modern Family” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” are being treated to new seasons this fall.

Fox has even brought back “New Girl” to make television critics and fans regret evangelizing the show all summer.


A quick glance at the coming attractions would seem to suggest we’ll be spending our last months on Earth in the darkened, sticky-floored confines of the local megaplex.

Slated for release this year is Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited “Lincoln,” Bill Murray’s portrayal of FDR in “Hyde Park on Hudson,” Judd Apatow’s “This is Forty” and Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial “Zero Dark Thirty” about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.


It’s football season, and I’m told baseball still is being played.


It is shaping up to be a great couple of months for foodies and cookbook connoisseurs.

Cleveland chef and renowned swine enthusiast Michael Symon will release his meat-centric cookbook, “Carnivore,” on Oct. 16, joining the likes of “Top Chef” alum and Palmetto Bluff’s Music to Your Mouth guest chef Kevin Gillespie and Swedish savant Magnus Nilsson, who also have books hitting shelves.

This is just a small sampling of the pop culture smorgasbord before us this fall.

Think of it as payback for managing to go another sweltering summer without losing your mind.

This week’s playlist features eight songs from artists whose records represent the best of fall 2012.

Look on the bright side. If the world ends, at least we didn’t see have to suffer through whatever Baz Luhrmann is going to do to “The Great Gatsby.”

The Chevin, “Champion” — A pretty, perfect little rock song from this British quartet’s debut record.

Two Door Cinema Club, “Next Year” — One of a handful of gems from the band’s sophomore effort, “Beacon.”

Woods, “Is It Honest?” — A great chorus can sometimes save an otherwise unremarkable song. It does here.

Grizzly Bear, “Spent in Rounds” — Expect to see this album on a lot of year-end lists. This song is just one of the many reasons why.

The Mountain Goats, “Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1” — A whimsical, beautiful song. A lyrical masterpiece.

Band of Horses, “A Little Biblical” — Critics didn’t love this band’s new record, “Mirage Rock,” but songs like this made me like it more than most.

The Avett Brothers, “I Never Knew You” — Can’t seem to stop listening to this song. As catchy and memorable a chorus as you’re likely to hear this year.

Mumford & Sons, “Lover of the Light” — One of the few songs I liked from the predictable and otherwise forgettable “Babel.”