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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
July 24, 2009
/ 3 Menachem-Av 5769
The dog days of summer are upon us. But wait. What in the heck ARE the dog days of summer anyhow? Well, since you asked I'll tell you, but let me warn you, it's a lot more complicated than you think, so if you really don't want to get into this thing this would be the ideal time to stop reading. For the rest of us, here it is.
Webster's dictionary says:
1: the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2: a period of stagnation or inactivity
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirus, the Dog Star)."
Columbia encyclopedia states it this way:
"Dog days, name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun. In the latitude of the Mediterranean region this period coincided with hot days that were plagued with disease and discomfort. The time of conjunction varies with difference in latitude, and because of the precession of the equinoxes it changes gradually over long periods in all latitudes."
Answers.com defines it as the following:
"Hot, sultry summer weather; also, a period of stagnation. For example, It's hard to get much work done during the dog days, or Every winter there's a week or two of dog days when sales drop dramatically. The term alludes to the period between early July and early September, when Sirius, the so-called Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. The ancient Romans called this phenomenon dies caniculares, which was translated as "dog days" in the first half of the 1500s."
Here's a more detailed explanation. The term "Dog Days" was used by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle's Physics, 199a2), as well as the ancient Romans (who called these days caniculares dies (days of the dogs)) after Sirius (the "Dog Star", in Latin Canicula), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun. The dog days of summer are also called canicular days. The ancients sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Now here's the really interesting part, so pay attention. Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" according to Brady's Clavis Calendarium, 1813.
Get it? Dog Days (which are where we are right now) are an EVIL TIME. Things go wrong at this time of the year and bad stuff happens. And that is why, boys and girls, you all had better beware of the creepy goings on in Washington. Obama is attempting to push through his socialistic agenda of cap-and-trade and universal health care, both of which will add up to bigger government and less freedom for individuals.
Most of us are just not paying attention right now. We're on vacations, we're traveling, we're kickin' back, we're not thinking. We're doing anything we can to get through the "dog days" of summer. And Obama and his liberal Democrat cohorts are depending on all of us not paying attention, but pay attention we must. Because if we don't, then one day we will wake up to an America that looks a lot less than the America we all know, and a lot more like Europe.
If you don't know much about the environmental cap-and-trade scheme or about what national health care will really mean to you and your loved ones, please dig into it. Find out the facts. It isn't what all the catch phrase slogans purport it to be, I promise you that.
People voted for Obama because they wanted change. These two governmental initiatives will bring about change, all right, change like you won't believe. Remember the actual words of Barok Obama himself: "My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join me as we try to change it."
The Dog Days of summer are upon us, folks, and the mad dogs are loose. Wake up before you get bitten.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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