End of summer housekeeping

"Summer's leaves hath too short a date."

Shakespeare got that right.

The last days of August are like the remaining drops of a fine wine. I wish they could be corked. The evenings have been especially beautiful as the earlier dusk settles over the sound, and the sky over the Olympics flushes nectarine.

August 2006, we're told, is the driest on record. We've had one-one hundredth of an inch of rain-a single splat on your big toe-rather than our normal half-inch.

School starts Sept. 6-the real end of summer. I still feel a certain chill when I see the kids trudging off to the September classrooms. As a 10-year-old it felt as if I'd been recaptured by pirates.

For us older folks, before that happens, there's Bumbershoot Sept. 2-4.

Bumbershoot takes a lot of heat from the hipsters for being too commercial and too middle class. I'm not so sure.

This year's headliners include Kanye West, Blondie and the Steve Miller Band, but beneath those marquee names there's a lot of musical talent. It could be worse: Herman's Hermits are playing the Puyallup Fair.

Lower Queen Anners understand the Bumbershoot drill: traffic, crowds, the big-beat thump, thump, thump into the night. Which is why some folks ride a Washington state ferry out of town for the Labor Day weekend.

If you do, you'll get to hear those recorded, post-Sept. 11 safety messages sporting a new twist. Some of our local "celebs" have been recruited to do the voice-overs.

Try ignoring Kevin Calabro reading the script as if the Sonics were about to take the floor for a playoff game. Or the caressing tones of Dave Niehaus, once those pesky safety details are disposed of, segueing into a plug for the Mariners and his "My O My." Can't be done.

I called up Susan Harris, WSF spokesperson, about those new voices storming the waterborne ether. I wondered about entertainment values being mixed up with a safety message.

"The safety announcements weren't being listened to," Harris said. "We needed something with a little more pizzazz."

No, she said, neither the Mariners, nor KIRO nor anyone else was paying the ferry system for the loan of their signature voices.

Not everyone is thrilled.

Harris said the positive-negative feedback has been running about half and half.

So enjoy your trip aboard the ferries. And don't forget to enjoy the last sip of summer.[[In-content Ad]]