Are we there yet?

July 2-8, 2012

During these hot days I find myself hanging out in the house a lot, watching too much TV, dreaming of the end of daylight savings time and start of Jack-O-Lanterns, of burning wood and a cold north wind.

Remember that “Twilight Zone” about the two women in the apartment who were slowly burning up because for some reason the sun was getting closer? Then one of them woke up and we found that it was just a dream, and that they were actually slowly freezing to death because the sun was moving farther away.

That crazy Rod Serling. He probably ended the episode by saying “There is another dimension, one where cold is hot, and hot is cold, but never, ever, lukewarm.” Ne ne ne ne. Ne ne ne ne. (Fade out as scary Rod takes another hit off his Lucky Strike.) 

How hot is it?

“I seen it so hot till you had to feed the hens cracked ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.” Richard Edwards in “Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States” by Zora Neale Hurston.

It is so hot I saw someone watering their roof as I drove through Hillcrest on my way home Monday evening. They weren’t up on the roof mind you, or even down below spraying it with a hose; no it’s too hot for any of that.

What they had done was position the sprinkler up on the roof, so that it could rain drops down on to the soft melting shingles. It was a first for me, and it must have been a first for the three ladies on the other side of the street too, who just stood there and watched, in wonder and amazement, at a house being watered. Well it’s hot, so normal takes a break.

“Hot today here in New York City. Hot also in Washington. It was so hot today that Dick Cheney waterboarded himself.” –David Letterman.

I wrote a column once about the year I got married – 1980. I called it, The hottest year, because that’s exactly what it was. If you were around back then you’ll remember. Check out the weather some night during these dog days and see if they don’t say the record for the hottest day came in 1980.

In the column I told about hot things that happened during 1980, like the Hunt brothers heating up the silver market, or Richard Pryor heating up his crack pipe; just your typical heat-related stuff.

Anyway, that made me want to look back a couple of years before that, to good old 1978, which was a hot year for me because that was the year I turned 21.

I was entrenched in the college life in 1978, and all it entailed. The age of Moon Doggy and Aquarius were long gone, replaced adequately by Jake and Elwood, The Bee Gees and King Tut.

While the Gibb brothers were the hottest band in 1978, we were more into Kansas, Steely Dan and Jackson Browne, and some of the new music from artists like The Cars, Dire Straits and Prince.

In 1978, “Johnny Carson” still ruled late night, while “Captain Kangaroo” and “Lawrence Welk” were also still going strong.

“Grease” and “Superman” won the box office war, while my favorite, “Animal House,” came in third. The “Deer Hunter” won Best Picture in a strong year for dramas that produced others like “Midnight Express” and “Coming Home”; not to mention other classics like “The Last Waltz,” “The End,” “Up in Smoke” and “Halloween.”

In sports, the Yankees were hotter than the Dodgers, Kentucky hotter than Duke (Hogs third), the Bullets (see Wizards) hotter than the Supersonics (see Oklahoma) and the Cowboys hotter than the Broncos.

Leon Spinks beat Muhammed Ali for the Heavyweight Title, which still sounds weird.
It was even hot in Alaska, as in dead heat, when American Dick Mackey held off eventual five-time winner and fellow countryman Rick Swenson in the closest finish ever in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

They were neck and neck at the end with Swenson’s sled actually crossing the finish line first. However he finished the race with six dogs to Mackey’s eight, and because the noses of Mackey’s lead dogs, Skipper and Shrew, crossed the line first, the judge awarded Mackey the victory.   

This seems like a good place to end, with strong sled dogs fighting for victory in the cold arctic snow.

Stay cool.