Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Days of Summer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

- Nat King Cole

Summer will be here in a couple of days, at least it will be in the Southern hemisphere. If Spring is anything to go by, it will be a hot one. Some Summer trivia . . .

The phrase dog days refers to the sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the hottest summer temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, they typically occur in January and February, in the midst of the austral summer. 

The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks. The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun. 

The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather. Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "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." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813

Mosquitoes, summer's pest, have been around for more than 30 million years.

Summers spent throwing a Frisbee back and forth owe their game to a pie maker.

Originally called Pluto Platter and Wham-O, they were additionally called Frisbees after the Wham-O founder Richard Knerr learned that college students were calling it that, the term "Frisbee" coming from the name of the Bridgeport Connecticut pie manufacturer the Frisbie Pie Company. That company had been formed in 1871 by William Frisbie. Schoolchildren, having discovered that the inverted pie trays were aerodynamically great for tossing and aiming threw the pie plates around and yelled "Frisbie" so they wouldn't get hit by the spinning tins. The game the children played made its way to nearby college campuses where college students took it up as well. The name was changed to Frisbee when used for the Wham-O to avoid copyright infringement.

Women’s Bathing Suits through the ages:

"Bikini girls" mosaic found by archaeological excavation of the ancient Roman villa near Piazza Armerina in Sicily

bathing 1
"Mermaids at Brighton" by William Heath (1795 - 1840), c. 1829.
Note that wagons transported the women into the water for maximum decency.

Bathing Suit 1858

In 1907, a scandal erupted when Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman, the first woman to swim across the English Channel, was arrested in Boston for wearing a form-fitting, one-piece suit. Her form-fitting suit paved the way for a new kind of one-piece, and over the next couple decades, as swimming became an even more popular leisure-time activity, beach goers saw more arms, legs, and necks than ever before.

Seven female swimmers at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., 1920

In 1915, Jantzen, a small knittery in Portland, broke new ground by making a “swimming suit” from wool and officially coining the term six years later. Not long after, the company introduced its “Red Diving Girl” logo that was just risqué enough for the time to embody a specific point of view from the Roaring 20s. The Red Diving Girl became an enormously popular image and turned Jantzen into a powerhouse by commercializing femininity at the water’s edge.

Jantzen’s diver was puritan in comparison to what French engineer Louis Réard first called the bikini in 1946. As the story goes, Réard chose the name because of recent atomic tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. His idea was that this new suit would have the same explosive effect as splitting the atom did on its island namesake. 

Micheline Bernadini modeling Réard's bikini. It was so small it could fit into a small 2 by 2 inches (51 by 51 mm) box like the one she is holding. July 5, 1946

At first the effect was too explosive. It took some time to catch on but eventually the bikini was all over the beaches, and popular culture. By the 1960s, even Annette Funicello, onetime darling of the Mickey Mouse Club, wore a two piece swimsuit on the screen.

More recent developments include the thong:

(sorry to disappoint the male readers)

..and the burqini for modesty, particularly for followers of Islam and for health by protection from the sun:

but not all swimwear innovations have caught on:

The summer solstice occurs once a year in Australia in December when the Sun's track across the Australian sky reaches its highest point. It is the day that has the most daylight hours of any in the year. The summer solstice usually occurs on 21 December; the winter solstice is the day of the year that has the least daylight hours of any in the year and usually occurs on 21 June.

Neo Druids, New Agers and Neo Pagans like to celebrate the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge on 21 June each year.
A druid recites an incantation during the winter solstice at Stonehenge on Salisbury plain in southern England December 22, 2010.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Funny Friday

Relax dude, it's Friday.

Another Friday and Christmas approaches. Things become more fervent and hectic as work becomes busier, planning and scheduling take on added importance and free dates in diaries become filled. So here is a brief interlude from the PYT - Pre Yuletide Tension - with some humour by having a laugh at the expense of the Welsh.

I used to go out with a Welsh girl that had 36DDs. It was a ridiculously long name.

My wife asked me if I was having an affair with a woman from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllatysiliogogogoch.

I said: “How can you say such a thing?”

Three friends married women from different parts of the world. The first married a Greek girl and told her that she was to do the dishes and cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house.

The second man married a Thai girl and gave her the same orders, to do all the cleaning and cooking. The first day he didn’t see any results but by the third his house was clean and dinner was on the table.

The third man married a Welsh girl. He ordered her to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed and dinner ready for 6pm.

For the first two days he didn’t see anything, but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye.

On a beautiful summer’s day, two English tourists were driving through Wales.

At Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch they stopped for lunch and one of the tourists asked the waitress: “Before we order, I wonder if you could settle an argument for us. Can you pronounce where we are, very, very, very slowly?”

The girl leaned over and said:

“Burrr… gurrr… King.”

Elton John thinks sorry seems to be the hardest word.

He clearly hasn’t been to

In the Bible, God made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

That’s a pretty good summer for Wales.

My wife made the allegation "I think you've had an affair with that Welsh tart, from

I said, "How can you say such a thing?"

True story. . .

A welsh bloke is having a driving lesson when the instructor says, "Can you make a U-turn?"

The Taffy replies, "Make a ewe turn? I can make its fucking eyes water!"

Does anyone else feel sorry for the Welshman? 

He never gets invited to the pub by the Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman..

I chinned some bloke earlier because I thought he was about to spit in my face.

I feel bad now though, after finding out he was Welsh and only trying to ask for directions.

I went to see my friend earlier and as usual let myself in without knocking. As soon as I heard him I knew something was wrong so quickly ran up behind him and gave him the Heimmlich Manoeuvre, assuming he was choking on something. The stupid twat hadn't told me he was learning Welsh so how was I to know?

We lost all the vowels from our Scrabble set. So I sold it on Ebay as a Welsh edition.

My grandma was talking to her 75 year old neighbour, "I'm going to that new movie 'Moby Dick', do you want to come?" "Oh no,no," says her neighbour, "I don't like those sex films." "It's a film about whales silly" says grandma. To which her friend replies..... "I can't fuckin stand the Welsh either!!!"

Just heard on the national news that ships' captains have been instructed to avoid Wales when spotted.  I'll go along with that.

I'm getting really quick at the cryptic crossword in The Times.

It's weird how the last answer is always in Welsh dialect though.

I chinned some bloke earlier because I thought he was about to spit in my face.

I feel bad now though, after finding out he was Welsh and only trying to ask for directions.

Corn Corner:

I’m Welsh and I live in London. People often say to me “You miss Wales?”

I say “No, I look nothing like her. She’s got long blonde hair and wears a sash.”