Friday, July 19, 2013

Are You Sirius?

In the days before cable TV, the ancient Romans had nothing better to do on the hottest summer days when the sun set than to gaze heavenward, and they noticed, at both sunrise and sunset, that Sirius - the dog star - rose and set at the same time.  Sirius is the largest star in that constellation known as Canis Major - the "Large Dog."

Today, of course, modern man realizes that it gets hot as hell this time of year because this is when the Hinges on Hades are being oiled, and they leave the doors open.

This explains why we call the period roughly running from late July to late August "the dog days."  The Romans took this very seriously and believed that Sirius was angry at them, so they sacrificed a brown dog to appease him.

I can understand the first sentence above, but not the second. Why killing a dog was supposed to make a star cool the temperature down does not compute, but that was their story, and, again, they had no cable tv, and no Sirius satellite radio either.

 In 1815, one John Henry Brady published "Clavis Calendaria: Or, A Compendious Analysis of the Calendar, Illustrated with Ecclesiastical, Historical, and Classical Anecdotes."   They did not believe in snappy titles for books in those days, you see.  But, Brady said in his book that the ancients said this time of summer was when "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies."

I just checked.  The sea is not boiling.  Some wine is supposed to be sour.  Dogs are only mad when people wake up them from one of their 17 daily naps.

If this happened because someone was negligent,
you can bet there would be thousands of lawsuits.
But these people VOLUNTARILY expose themselves to
horrible gore, in the literal sense of the word.
But just turn on the news, and sure enough, all of us other creatures are burning with the fever and other diseases, and acting borderline hysterically.

And people pay good money to go to Pamplona in Spain so they can run around the streets with a good chance of getting gored by a bull.  Now that's what I call a phrensie.

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