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Sun-seekers take advantage of long, summer days

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“Hot weather is just another plot against women. It makes things droop years before they are supposed to!” –...

I didn’t mind going back to daylight-saving time during the summer. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I will have saved this year.

“Hot weather is just another plot against women. It makes things droop years before they are supposed to!” – Joan Rivers

Ah, yes, summer is here. Many people consider this season a blessing, while others contend it is a sheer nuisance. School is out and the kids are kept busy socially, physically and academically, as their parents frantically juggle their daily schedules to accommodate them.

“Oh, if only school were all year long,” they moan. But summer is also a time for fun and frolic. When else can one don the skimpiest of clothing, barbecue a hamburger and get a sun tan all at the same time?

In the event you did not know, many moons ago people literally worshiped that luminous, celestial fireball in the sky, the sun. They viewed it and summer as a time for great rejoicing. “Machiah,” they would shout, as they lit bonfires (symbols of the sun) and kvelled and danced in celebration until the wee small hours of the morning.

This interval has come to be known as Midsummer Eve (June 21) and Midsummer Day (June 24). Of course, that is not the midpoint of summer — for summer actually begins on June 21. Then why is it called “midsummer?” Perhaps because it is the exact moment of the year when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, the days are the longest, and it is at the halfway point of the baseball season.

I worship the summer also. It is a great time for beaches. I like reviewing the parade of girls walking around in their bikinis, grabbing an ice cream cone from the ice-cream vendor, and then imagining that I am kicking sand in the faces of all those hunks lying in the sand, flexing their muscles in public. Guys, have you no shame?

I once had the chance to go to a nude beach, but I was turned down. They refused to allow me to wear a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes.

This summer I have seen many signs that the weather has become too darn hot, such as: The Statue of Liberty traded her torch for an ice-cream cone and a glass of iced tea; I drove by Grant’s Tomb and the windows were open; at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Honest Abe was wearing Bermuda shorts; in Cunningham Park, I saw two trees chasing a dog; the chickens have begun laying hard-boiled eggs; my waterbed was percolating; Gerard, my neighbor, bought a steak at the supermarket, and by the time he got home it was well done; and even Jennifer Lopez has been taking cold showers.

On hot days like these, I just want to go out in the backyard and take off all my clothes, but the birds would leave, my cat would run away and the property value would drop. Even muggers are refusing to work in this humidity. And don’t slave over a hot stove in this weather. Do it the easy way — rush home and toss a couple of frozen dinners on the sidewalk.

Last week it seemed to be a hundred degrees outside. The car was unbearably hot inside, and the windows were rolled up. “Will you please open the windows?” Gloria pleaded.

“Are you nuts?” I screamed. “And let the neighbors know our car isn’t air conditioned?”

It appears that air conditioning is now everywhere. There even is a giant-sized unit in my health club’s steam room. And the new buildings without windows are now able to provide air conditioning all year round. Now you don’t have to wait for the winter to catch a cold.

In the past, on hot, sultry days, I would keep cool by reliving those frozen afternoons I spent at Giants Stadium in December. But I finally gave in to Gloria’s demands and bought myself an air conditioner for the car and the house. It helps keep me cool, but only until I get the electric bill. My first bill was $117,000. It was a mistake, of course, but the utility company said to go ahead and pay it and they would take it off next month’s bill.

It seems to me that, even before daylight-saving time added an extra hour of daylight, the days seemed to be getting longer and longer. And they are.

Tidal forces from the gravitational pull of the moon have slowed the Earth’s rotation over millions of years, a change that gradually is making each day a fraction of a second longer than the one before, according to a study measuring changes in the Earth’s rotation. The change can’t be measured by an ordinary clock, but over eons, the longer days were noted.

About 900 million years ago (give or take a Labor Day weekend), the Earth’s day was only 18 hours long (So why, pray tell, with the shortened year, didn’t the cavemen live numerically longer lives?). The Earth will continue to slow its spin for at least another 15 billion years. At that point, the moon and Earth would be in synchronous orbit, about 336,000 miles apart. The moon would then be locked into a fixed point above the Earth.

But researchers say that is not going to happen. Long before 15 billion years, in maybe three billion years or so, the sun will change into a red giant and the solar system will be destroyed. Or, a big asteroid could hit the Earth and that could cause an earlier demise.

Prepare for this pending scenario by vacationing, going to the beach, barbecuing, relaxing and enjoying the sun now, for it may be later than you think. Have a very enjoyable summer.

Reach columnist Alex Berger by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 140.

Posted 7:19 pm, October 10, 2011
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