Writer’s Workshop: Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer

My mind went immediately to this when I saw the prompt. You know me.

And, of course, as I was listening to that, my mind immediately turned to the pride of Seattle, Washington.

Jimi Hendrix is generally thought of as the greatest guitar player ever to strap on a Fender Stratocaster. At least that was the impression I got. In high school, guitar players worshipped Hendrix. My personal guitar hero was Terry Kath of Chicago, but you knew that.

Turns out, Terry was Jimi’s favorite, too.

Anyway, these are the Dog Days of Summer, about which the Blogger’s Best Friend tells us

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

I guess the Southern Hemisphere, including South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand doesn’t have the Dog Days, because right now it’s winter in that part of the world. I know people in Australia, and they’re surfing right now. I understand that the further inland you go, the colder it gets.

This is uually the part of summer when it gets, to quote one of my nephews (Dylan, age 7, as I recall), “hotter than the hinges of Hell,” but so far it’s been quite pleasant here. As I write this Wednesday aftenoon, here are the conditions.

By the end of the week, naturally, it’ll be in the 90’s and the weather will be “hazy, hot, and humid, with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms.” That’s when we stay in and hibernate. Most people do that in winter, but not us.

We always wonder what people did before 1902, when Willis Carrier invented the first electric air conditioner. Grandma Holton didn’t have air conditioning and used to claim that there was a “lovely breeze” off the lake, which she was half a mile away from. By the time it got to her place, it had heated up considerably and it was more like a scirocco.

I remmber when I was in high school it couldn’t get hot enough for me. What was wrong with me?

Smog, as you know, is a portmanteau for “smoke” and “fog.” John Coleman, who did the weather in Chicago for a long time, came up with “smaze,” a combination of “smoke” and “haze.” He also came up with “snain” for rain mixed with snow.

Anyway, stay cool.

23 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer

    1. He’s probably better. Last I heard, he’s working on becoming a screenwriter. Moved to LA and everything (or maybe it was San Diego, where his grandmother and aunt live, I’m not sure).

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  1. It’s been the hinges of hell here also..great description. I can’t wait for cooler weather. I. The old days we would be on our front stoop at night but now, we are inside with the A/C. Hendrix is my brother’s favourite

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    1. It’s actually supposed to cool off into the low 80’s (that’s under 30 for you) next week. Of course, it can stay hot here until almost Hallowe’en, so it’s at best a temporary respite.

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  2. As you probably know, John, Jimi told Walt Parazaider, “Your guitar player’s better than me.” Hendrix had just played a gig at the Whiskey in Hollywood, on the same bill as Chicago.

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    1. They opened for him, as I recall. He went from that to England, where they hadn’t even heard of him. I understand he told the press over there to f— off, after which the band wassn’t welcome in England for a few years…

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  3. We don’t get our really hot weather until around September here in CA. We were just in Oregon for a week and the temps were in the 90’s most every day. I enjoy the heat but it kills my husband.

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    1. Neither Mary nor I can tolerate the heat very well. When it gets hot like that, we stay in.

      I was in San Francisco in ’89 and it was godawful hot. Not only that, the hotel I was staying at had no air conditioning, or it wasn’t working. I was there one night and Kip, who was living there at the time, rescued me.

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  4. Stay cool? I’m tryin’! It’s ungodly hot here. Was 109 on Monday. Only supposed to be 103 today so I guess a cold front is blowing through. When I grew up in Niagara Falls and those dog days heat waves hit, it was downright miserable. Most homes back then didn’t have air-consditioning. I remember lying in bed with the windows open, hoping for a breeze but the air just didn’t move. It was so hard to sleep. It wasn’t until I was in high school that my parents got an AC window unit in their master bedroom and I remember many days or nights when I’d just go hang out in their room, even sometimes taking my pillow and a sheet ansd sleeping on their floor when the dog days were particularly brutal.

    There’s a great bar here in Austin called The Tavern. It was one of the first bars to be air-conditioned when A/C first came out and they still have the sign advertising that fact. It’s a great sports bar with tons of Austin history and just a cool place to hang out. I became completely enamored with The Tavern the first time I was introduced to it when I was brand new to Austin: my new friends took me there because (and this is true) they have the most authentic Buffalo wings around. Plus that sign! That sign caught my eye before I even stepped into the place and before I knew its history. Driving by and seeing it, I thought it odd to have a sign that says “Air Conditioned” when Duh, everywhere is air conditioned. Then the manager told me about the history of the sign and how the Tavern was THE spot to go in Austin back when it was the only place around where folks could have a cold beer in a truly cool (temperature cool) bar. Here’s a link to their site where you can see the sign on their home page: https://tavernaustin.com/

    Great songs you gave us here. Your post has had me digging and poking around the internet all morning because it sparked some curiosity. It started with Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze”: I wanted to see if the song was about purple haze acid. So I ended up on some very cool sites, as you can imagine. Back in my day when I was “experimenting” I remember taking purple microdot and orange sunshine and blotter acids. I always assumed Hendrix was referencing “Purple Haze” acid. And I ended up reading about Ken Kesey and his Merry Band of Pranksters, which took me to the government LSD studies, and then onto the Acid Test parties, and Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” Owsley Stanley, the “clandestine chemist” who manufactured mass quantities of LSD and was also the sound man for the Grateful Dead and is responsible for the “Wall of Sound”… and further and further down the rabbit hole I went! Your post here has taken me on a 3 hour journey, for cryin’ out loud! haha

    It’s 12:40pm and I have to go eat breakfast. I’m starving by now… 🙂

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Back in the ’60’s, air conditioning was just starting to become a must, and restaurants and theaters would hang the “Air Conditioned” sign out when they got it, kind of like how the networks and TV schedules would indicate a program was in color until every program was. Kool cigarettes had a version with Willie, their little penguin mascot standing next to a sign that said “It’s Kool Inside!”

      I never dropped acid, but knew lots of people who did. I remember one girl went on a bad trip at school, but didn’t want to go to the nurse because the nurse would call her parents, so she spent the day in the smoking area (remember when high schools had those?) and gradually came down. Another classmate did so many drugs he ended up in a hospital. He and his dad came in where I was working one day, and he didn’t recognize me. Really sad.

      Ah, the ’70’s. Weren’t they fun?

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  5. Cooling off to low 90s in Albuquerque after flirting with 100 for a few days. We got the effects of the stationary high that was over OK and TX. The only saving grace? RH between 30 and 50%, so a swamp cooler works here. Much cheaper to run than A/C.

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  6. I could really do without hazy summer days…we’re about to hit the nineties this weekend too and I would so prefer watching snow fall from my living room window. 😉

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  7. Hendrix is my favorite. I’m ready for the lazy, hazy days of summer to turn into the cozy, crisp days of fall. Yes, I realize I have a long wait.

    I’ve always thought Hendrix was the best and next is Eric Clapton.

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  8. I’m further south then you and it’s hot alright, but there’s a tinge of dryness in the air and squirrels started cobbing cones 3 weeks ago, prepping for winter—I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t get cool a tiny bit earlier.

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    1. It’s actually cooling off here. It was 90 yesterday, but it’s only forecast to get to the low 80’s the rest of the week. Maybe we’re going to have an early fall and it’s going to be milder the rest of the way. Either that, or we ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

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  9. One of the first things that rushed into my mind with the prompt choices was Jimi Hendrix but…that pesky little voice that lives inside my head screamed…”nonono…John will write about that!” And you did, in some form along with taking me back to a recent trip to San Francisco when temps went through the roof. Our hotel also had no air conditioning and the ceiling and other fans provided simply moved the heat around the room.

    Whatever. It’s Summer and all the heat and haze are part of its performance. The very same people who complained about the cold weather seem to be the first ones in line to agonize over the heat. Mother Nature just cannot please everyone.

    Enjoyed this very much, John!

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    1. It wasn’t the Union Square Hotel, was it? I think I might have enjoyed my stay there had it not been so damn hot. Well, I got a chance to see my brother, anyway. That was 30 years ago, when I was more tolerant of the heat, and everything else, for that matter…

      Like I said, time was it couldn’t be hot enough for me. Now? Anything over 80 is pushing it.

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  10. God bless Carrier ❤
    I can’t stand to be hot. Phew! We’ve had some cool rainy gray days here and will again tomorrow. I love it. Everyone hates me. LOL I don’t care!

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    1. Yesterday, it was “soupy” out, according to Mary. It started raining yesterday afternoon and hasn’t stopped since, and we’re supposed to get a few more days of rain like this. I’m not complaining: I’d rather have too much rain than not enough, and I like 72 a whole lot better than 92…

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