Sunday, August 06, 2006

These Are the Dog Days

I could write about the ongoing craziness in the Mideast - Lordy, there is enough insanity there to fill a thousand blogs. There is the Connecticut senate primary on Tuesday, but better writers than me have been opining on that for weeks. The weather is Southern California Normal, so I can't write about that. These are the lazy, Dog Days of August.

Dog Days
Go back over 3000 years to find the origin of the Dog Days. We call the brightest star in the sky Sirius. The ancient Egyptians called it the "dog star." For the Romans, too, it was the brightest star in the constellation the Great Dog (Canis Major). The greatest scientific minds of their time concluded that when the "dog star" rose in conjunction with the sun, as it did every August, their combined brightness made for the hottest weather. Hence, these are dies caniculares, Latin for "days of the dog."

Homeland Security
The department dedicated to protecting our cities and homes from attack is featuring Responsible Dog Ownership Day as part of National Preparedness Month in September. Glad to see they are focused like a laser beam on their mission.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Or, more accurately, Americans. U.S. servicemembers will be patrolling Baghdad in temperatures ranging from 113 to 117 degrees. In the old days, British colonial masters from India to Iraq and into Africa lacked the sense to avoid the boiling heat of summer. Now it is American colonial masters leading our new sepoys, the Iraq Army, into the midday desert frying pan. Is it any wonder they give us so little respect.

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