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July 01, 2012

Dog Days: Humid, High 90s with Increasing Existential Dread by Monday.


And the Humans Grew Mad. Summer. The Economy. It's not only tough times right now. It's hot, and bloody hot in much of the U.S. However, every year's been the same this time of year for centuries. So if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and feel a bit strange and out of sorts--and you're not too much of a whack-job or flake to begin with--that's probably okay. The six week period between July 1 and August 15 was named by the both the ancient Greeks and the early Romans after Sirius the Dog Star, the brightest star in the sky. In the Mediterranean region, the notion of linking that star to oppressive summer weather dates back well over 2700 years.

It's also a slightly weird time of year. Could be just the heat. But "Dog Days" were also associated with Chaos: "the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies". Brady's Clavis Calendarium, 1813. Just two thousand years ago, and after he had given up the study of law that his family had foisted on him, Ovid (43 B.C. - 17 A.D.), the playful poet writing during Octavian's long reign, gave us a more famous--and less grim--take on Chaos in Book I of Metamorphoses.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at July 1, 2012 11:59 PM


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