Actually, draggin’ is probably a much more accurate wording.
I am a-draggin’ — and just about everybody I talk with says the same.
You folks feeling kinda lethargic — er, I mean, draggin’, too?
You see, I don’t know if you folks have noticed or not, but it’s gotten a tad warm around here lately.
It brought to mind that older song, titled “Heat Wave” (as in, “We’re having a heat wave ...”), that I found out, surprisingly enough to me, was written by Irving Berlin for the 1933 musical, “As Thousands Cheer,” and first sung in that show by Ethel Waters. Next, it was sung by Ethel Merman in the 1938 film, “Alexander's Ragtime Band.” The next time it was heard on screen was by Marilyn Monroe in the 1954 film, “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
And for those of you out there who may have been wondering, there is no official definition as to what a heat wave actually is. Who would have thunk it? Webster’s definition is, “A long spell of hot weather.” The National Weather Service, however, has no specific definition as to what a heat wave is. No temperature. No length of time. Nothin’. Supposedly, The Weather Channel defines a heat wave as “a minimum of 10 states having 90 degree-plus temperatures and these temperatures must be at least 5 degrees above the norms for at least two days.”
Anyway, I do believe temperatures have gone up a bit.
And yes, I know it’s officially summer and it’s supposed to be warm, but I just didn’t know if anybody else noticed.
Actually, this coming week is supposed to bring a “cool down” with temps only in the 90s. What a relief! Only joking!
Anyway, the recent heat wave was brought home to me particularly poignantly when I turned off the ignition in my car and my car kept running.
Well, I have since actually been told that my car wasn’t actually running. Just the fans and such were. But it sure sounded like the engine was running. I was completely taken aback. Actually, I thought I was hallucinating the first time it happened. The second time it happened I went to work and asked some of the guys there if they also heard my car still “running” and, if they did, what on earth was going on?
Some made faces, others politely explained to me that because of the recent intense temps, my car was cooling itself down before it shut off completely. That would help the car run better. At least, that’s what I got out of their explanations.
I was relieved to say the least.
All this time driving the car — about seven years — nothing like this had ever happened. At least, not that I can remember.
So, that really confirms it to me how hot it has been, if you couldn't just tell by going outside, that is! I like getting facts confirmed from at least two sources. It’s the reporter in me.
Speaking of the “reporter” in me, I thought you folks might also be interested in some warm weather facts I uncovered in my research on warm (OK, correction ... hot, hot, hot) weather.
For example, did you folks know that the highest world temperature ever recorded was in Al Aziziyah, Libya, on Sept. 13, 1922, at 136° F/58° C?
Do you know what the highest recorded temp in the U.S. is? It’s 134° F/56.7° C in Death Valley, Calif., on July 10, 1913.
Here is some more hot weather trivia:
n By the end of August 1995 in Missouri, within big bales of freshly cut hay, methane was released, causing spontaneous combustion.
n Only Alaska and Hawaii have never recorded temps higher than 100 degrees.
n Temperature directly affects the rate of tree-cricket activity. Just count the number of chirps in 15 seconds’ time and then add 37. The total will be very close to the actual outside Fahrenheit temperature. This way of marking temperature has been called “the poor man’s thermometer.”
n Right here in the U.S., Yuma, Ariz., is the sunniest place in the world. It averages of 4,055 hours of sunshine each year out of a possible 4,456. That’s a lot of sunscreen, wouldn’t you say?
And, have you folks ever heard the phrase “the dog days of summer” to describe hot, humid, overwhelmingly oppressive summertime weather? Well, do you know where this phrase comes from?
No, it has nothing to do with your lazy old bloodhound lounging around on your porch all day long.
Nope. Nothing to do with our four-pawed friends.
Well, not really.
The phrase actually originated with the Romans when they noticed that the brightest star in the sky rose when temps started to heat up and started falling as they also started to fall. The name of this star? Sirius — also known as “the dog star.” The Romans called it “caniculares dies” or “the days of the dog.”
Ahhhh, now I get it.
At the time, the Romans also believed that Sirius was actually responsible for the increase in heat at that time of year.
Who knew? Again.
Who also knew that the dog days of summer have specific days assigned to them? These 40 days are between July 3 and Aug. 11. These dates match up with the 20 days right before the conjunction of Sirius and the sun to 20 days after this conjunction. Conjunction in astronomy means two or more heavenly bodies being at the same celestial longitude.
Nowadays, however, the dog days still start in early July but continue into early September — unofficially.
Maybe we should all hope for a solar eclipse. You see, during such an eclipse, the temperature can drop by 6°C or roughly 20°F.
Hang on a sec. Let me Google.
Sorry, no reprieve here.
We missed the last solar eclipse on May 20 of this year. The next solar eclipse won’t occur until well into fall of this year, on Nov. 13.
Oh well. No relief from this front.
Now, I’ll just have to remember to do to some cold-weather facts in January.
Actually, now that I think about it, I probably should have given cold-weather facts now and hot-weather facts in January. Might have made everybody feel a little better.
Oopsy. My bad!
Blame it on the weather.