In which we whine about going back to school

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After a two-barbecue blowout weekend, Adages shuffled grouchily back into work last week, reluctant to let go of yet another summer of sin but determined to make most of another fall of foolishness. But it got us thinking. Were other folks in the industry mentally prepared for the end of summer? So we asked around.

"Mentally prepared for the end of summer?!? I'm not mentally prepared to pick out my own clothes each morning," replied Josh Kilmer-Purcell, partner and creative director at SS&K and author of "I Am Not Myself These Days." He went on to add: "I, for one, enjoy ending the ruse of it all. The carefree, Kennedyesque, ain't-life-a-beach, slo-mo montage illusion. I had five summer Fridays this year and I was too busy to take any but one. And that was such short notice that I hadn't made any plans to get away for the weekend. So I sat around and shot the shit with my cleaning woman. Who comes every Friday. Except in summer. Then she gets every other one off."

Josh wasn't the only one who said "bring it on" regarding summer's end. "Sweltering subways, blackouts, heat waves, pouring rainstorms, no time for vacation, hundreds of lost golf balls ... I say bring on the fall," said Joe Guerriero, publisher of Success magazine.

Gail Simmons, a judge on Bravo's "Top Chef" and the special-projects master at Food & Wine, wrote: "Not only am I emotionally prepared, but I am thrilled! End of summer means end of bikini season. I can now indulge without guilt." We know exactly how you feel, girl.

But Gail's colleague, Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, wrote in with perhaps the strangest answer: "Summer? With all the turkeys and party food in the office, I thought it was already winter."

Of course, some people will try to extend the season. Tom Nolan, publisher of Golf World, is one. He wrote in: "Back to school already? My solution is plenty of golf with clients on the West Coast to keep both summer, and business, going strong." Tough life.

But our favorite answer, by far, came from Kevin Lynch, partner and writer at Hadrian's Wall, Chicago. While he says he's mentally prepared for fall, he contributed this Zen koan: "There is no such thing as 'end of summer.' There is only 'beginning of football season."' Amen, brother. Amen.

Smoke gets in our eye

A few weeks ago, Adages pointed out that we were insanely jealous of Reader's Digest Association Chairman Tom Ryder because he and his brother and their wives spent some time writing about the Central Texas BBQ Trail. We even offered to go along on the next trip. And while Tom hasn't taken us up on that offer, he and his wife Miss Darlene were kind enough to invite Adages (and our better half) up to one of his son's Cookhouse restaurants in Connecticut (but only after a screening process in which we proved our Louisiana credentials). Adages doesn't get paid to do restaurant reviews, but we will say that we're infinitely more qualified to judge barbecue and Southern food than a certain New York Times reviewer who whined that the meat at the Cookhouse was "too smoky" and that the brisket came with no broth (which caused a Texan coworker to fall out of her chair laughing). So we can say that after seven long years of searching, we found the best barbecue in the Northeast, enjoyed perhaps the only Bunkie meatpies in the region, finally ate fried okra (something our own grandmother couldn't get us to do) and crossed paths with the BBQ Sundae (a concoction too good to be true). Sadly, despite the recent recipe he shared with Forbes, Ryder didn't offer us any opossum.

Helpful hints for PR professionals

Adages receives a great deal of press releases in the course of an average day, most of which go directly to the trash bin. But we got a good giggle at the opening of a recent one that read: "Sorry to be the one to break the news, but John Persinos-who used to be one of your ranks-has let the beast out of the bag. Never again will you be safe from the hordes of PR and marketing hacks constantly vying for your attention." Right. But the press release did its job, and we cracked open "The Confessions of an Ink-Stained Wretch." Despite Persinos being a turncoat, he speaks to our own heart when he writes of the McPaperization of print media, what with super-short articles, graphs, charticles and such things for all you ADD people too lazy to read all the way through anything longer than ... what were we saying? At any rate, Persinos offers up some practical advice for the clueless PR person: Be courteous, offer free food, write coherent sentences and do most of the work for journalists. After all, Persinos writes, "There's a dirty little secret about the press that I'll reveal right now: They're mostly lazy bastards." We'd get offended, but it takes entirely too much energy. And not to undercut sales for Persinos' books, but we can simplify everything for the beleaguered PR professional. Looking for easy access to journalists? You need know only two words: Free. Booze.

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