July 25th, 2012 at 5:00 am
Today’s forecast here in Chicago calls for a high of 93°F. According to one local meteorologist, we are on a record-pace for days in the 90s this summer. I make it habit to avoid complaining about the heat. In my mind, that would preclude me from complaining about the cold in February, and I would much rather complain about that.
But for most people, these are the “dog days” of summer. I know what the idiom means—the long, hot, sultry weeks between the beginning of July and the middle of August, but I’ve always wondered where the phrase came from. So, here’s the scoop.
The dog days of summer are actually named after Sirius, the Dog Star. During this time of year, Sirius (the brightest star in the sky), is very close to the sun. The ancient Romans and Egyptians believed that when Sirius and the sun were in conjunction, Sirius added its heat to the sun, causing the blistering hot days of summer (at least in the Northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere, the dog days of summer fall in January and February).
I’m not at all surprised that these are called the “dog days”, because when anything goes wrong in our house, my kids blame it on the dog.
To make it up to our poor maligned canine friends, you might like to know that July is also dog house repair month. So, take a little time and put a little elbow grease into fixing up your puppy’s palace.
And when you’re done, reward yourself with a frankfurter, because July also happens to be National Hog Dog month. You can find out anything you ever wanted to know about hot dogs (and then some) at Hot Dog City, sponsored by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. This year’s winning slogan—”Hot Dogs: Relish the Moment.” We take our hot dogs very seriously here in the Windy City. This is how you eat a hot dog, Chicago style:
- yellow mustard (as Chicago native Joe Montegna says, Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog)
- two tomato wedges
- pickle spear or slice
- two sport peppers
- “neon” green relish
- fresh chopped onions
- dash of celery salt
- poppyseed bun
Enjoy the rest of your summer, even the dog days, and check back again in February, when we’ll talk about three dog nights.