by Dave Williams
(Originally published in 2009. Hey, I’m only plagiarizing myself.)
When I was a kid we didn’t have air conditioning, just a swamp cooler. On really hot days I just laid on the cold tile floor under that fan and panted like my dog, Rusty. I always figured that’s where the term “dog days of summer” came from: dogs that just lie around and pant in the heat.
As much sense as that might make, I looked it up and here’s the deal:
The Ancient Romans called it caniculares dies (days of the dogs.) It arose from the notion that Sirius, the dog star, was angry this time of year and caused the Earth to get very hot. To appease the star’s rage the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of Dog Days.
No, I don’t know why it had to be a brown dog.
The Romans, of course, thought nothing of committing carnage upon any creature that moved if it might be even remotely possible that a good screeching, bloody sacrifice would serve some useful or noble purpose.
This is why the Ancient Greeks were considered the brains of the outfit.