Hey, gang, it's summertime and you know what that means.

We sure do, Jimbo. It means going to the beach where we can lie in the sand, splash in the surf, and play on the boardwalk.


It means piling into the car and going out to the country with a basket of fried chicken, some homemade potato salad, and a watermelon for a grand family picnic?

Um, not quite.

Oh, we know. It means wagering on how many minutes it will take till the beer falls from Uncle Lenny's hand as he falls asleep "reading" in the hammock.

OK, gang, maybe you don't know what it means.

It means it's time to get out the old camcorder.

If there is anything about summer that everyone looks forward to, it's going over to a friend's or loved one's house for an evening of vacation video viewing. Not only is their vacation better than yours (otherwise they wouldn't be calling you over to watch the tape of it), but the video is also really, really long. You get to relive the summer, every seven quadrillion trillion bazillion seconds of it, through the lens of somebody else's (better) vacation.

Now, that's fun! Unending, interminable fun.

Think of the jollity of a typical evening watching home videos. You get to sit on a hard-backed folding chair, eat chips and salsa, and enjoy the adventures of your friends in some faraway place that you can't afford to go to this year.

Your host: "There's Henrietta in front of the … what do they call that, again … oh, you know … there, in the background … the thing that you can kinda see rising up like a fancy table leg?"

You: "The Eiffel Tower?"

Your host: "Yes, yes, that's it. Eiffel Tower. Never can remember that. Magnificent piece of architecture, eh?"