Sunday, July 3, 2011

dog day afternoon

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka (3 july 1883 - 1924) writer

according to this morning's writer's almanac today is the beginning of the dog days of summer.
The name came from the ancient Greeks. They believed that Sirius, the "dog star," which rose with the sun at that time, was adding to the sun's heat. They also believed that the weather made dogs go mad. The Romans tried to appease Sirius by sacrificing a brown dog at the start of the dog days. For the Egyptians, the arrival of dog days marked the beginning of the Nile's flooding season, as well as their New Year celebrations.

"Dog days" has been adopted by the stock market because the markets tend to be slow and sluggish; it's also come to mean any period of stagnation or inactivity.
i generally associate the real dog days of summer with august, probably because the first time i recall encountering the expression was in the mid-1970s in the context of the title of sidney lumet's edgy film dog day afternoon - the film dramatizes a real life bank robbery that occurred in brooklyn during august of 1972.

unfortunately the clip i want to embed is disabled; the good news is that you can watch it by clicking here. i love this opening sequence as it presents a slice of life in nyc and really captures what nyc looked and felt like in the early 1970s making it an excellent time travel experience! the opening sequence progresses with elton john's song amoreena supplying the mood and setting the tone for the movie - a story and song of yearning and not really getting what one wants. the song is one of only two songs which are used in the film.

here on the north coast yesterday felt like a day i associate with the dog days of summer - it was hot, humid, and steamy. fortunately late last night a lovely storm front came through and along with bringing a bit of rain (which we don't really need here; weather gods - please send the rain to texas and the southwest instead of here!). today's high is to get only into the low 80s - and if accuweather is correct today is the beginning of a relatively mild, sweet week of weather. perfect for summer time cook-outs, fireworks and easy living. no mad dogs here - thank you very much!

also in today's writer's almanac is an interesting write up about franz kafka - i knew kafka died young, but before reading the wa piece i didn't realized what terrible death he had - the end of his life was characterized with excruciating pain and lesions on his throat prevented him from eating and drinking, thus he he starved to death when he was just 41 years old. it is such a shame that kafka didn't have the fortune to grow old - and really put his theory to the test.

photo: bogart the dog, lakewood june 2011


tut-tut said...

clicking over now; NYC in the early 70s is always the way I think of it.

Betsy Brock said...

dog days in august...yes, I agree! But it has been hot and humid, hasn't it? Ugh.

karen said...

Just catching up on a few posts...missed. The kids are beautiful...Bingo is getting big and mostly adorable. And since I'm a Gorey fan, I like the tattoo...pretty cool.
we've hit the dog days here as well. Very dry though. Have a happy 4th holiday Kim.

Watson said...

Lovely photo mouse! dog, flowers,porch, all look so inviting.

Reya Mellicker said...

We hD such a beautiful June this year. I'm ready for steam and oppressive heat. Of course I'll be complaining in a few weeks. Happy Dog Days! X

Gary said...

thanks for the background on the term dog days of summer. I love learning this stuff!

My acting teacher was in the movie Dog Day Afternoon. Her name is Penny Allen and she played the head teller. It was quite a shock to watch that movie and realize she was in it. Of course, she was my acting teacher more than 20 years ago but still, very cool.