Give Blood, Replenish with Merlot

How to live during the summer of our discontent

Looking to take a summer vacation? Some of my smart pals live in OC and vacation here, too, figuring why go somewhere else when so many people come here to vacation? They and their friends just rent a beach house for a week or two and act like they're a thousand miles away from home, with the convenience of being able to go home if they forgot a toothbrush. If you're really on a budget, maybe you could just trade houses with your next-door neighbor for a week.

If you want a get-outta-town sort of vacation, I must stress just how superfine Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival is for topping off your summer over the Labor Day weekend. It's a beautiful time of year to be in Seattle and only a cheap flight or doable car jaunt away. (Enjoy the hippie pancakes of Eugene, Oregon!) The fest is more than a fest should be, with blackened-salmon burgers, adventurous art, a film fest, a book fair, dance events from hip-hop to classical, and a bunch of crazy music from all over the place. Some of the acts confirmed for this year include REM, Wilco, Nickel Creek, Donovan, Leftover Salmon, Common, De la Soul, Black Eyed Peas, Daniel Lanois, Wanda Jackson, Robert Walter's 20th Congress and Solomon Burke.

Right now, you may be wondering, "Hey, wasn't this guy, before he got all juiced-up, talking about this being the summer of discontent and fighting the power and such?" Well, as Emma Goldman said, "What good's a revolution if you can't bang some foxy guys?" by which I think she meant she had the hots for Trotsky or maybe that you shouldn't get so caught up in fighting the buzz-

kills in this world that you become a buzzkill yourself.

What's needed is balance. Look at 1969, when folks protested the war, tripped out at Woodstock, seized campuses, listened to Iggy, made sandals and still found time to paint "Frodo Lives" on their VWs.

It is in experiencing the simple pleasures of life that we realize the common joys that bind us, freak and conservative alike. After a hard day of despoiling the planet or consolidating his power, even a button-up guy likes to kick back with a brewski at the beach. And it is in these shared moments, not at the ramparts, when you can best communicate with our sundered brethren, when you both raise your amber glasses high to celebrate the sun's beneficent rays refracted therein, breathe in the salt air, and open a door to reason and comity by starting a dialogue rooted in the basics, such as, "Hey, bro, would you stop peeing on my leg, please?"

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