The Dog Days of Summer

August 6th, 2010


When I was a kid, being curious  was the gold standard in my father's house.  "He's a nice guy, but he's just not… curious" my Dad would say, about my, or a sister's, prospective boyfriend.   That was the kiss of death.  He could be ugly, unemployed, a fascist… but lacking curiosity??? A dealbreaker.  

I would always sit there, listening to this complaint about others and felt I should quietly stick up my index finger and interrupt: "Um… excuse me… I'm not exactly CURIOUS myself."  But of course, I didn't do that.  I feared expulsion from The Curious Family.  But I KNEW that I was not willing to haul myself up from the TV  to the reference library just a block away from my house  to get answers to any questions bobbing like apples in my head.  I wasn't going to seek out some obscure text book  to satisfy some mental itch.  I mean, this was the 70s .  You had to put a little elbow-grease into information-gathering back then.  I was perfectly satisfied to build my mental world given the information afforded me by ABC, CBS and NBC .  I just didn't go around bragging about it.

But you see, these days, with the internet, I've come to realize the truth.  I AM CURIOUS!!  I AM A FULLY-FLEDGED MEMBER OF THE CURIOUS FAMILY!!  I BELONG!!!!  I mean, I will leap up in the middle of a dinner party (mine, not someone elses–that's rude) and google a factoid we're all slobbering after.  I routinely hide my iphone under the table during a meeting to find out how old Ben Affleck is .  I can't go to sleep at night until I know where Micronesia is .  I CARE ABOUT THESE THINGS.   And these days, all my little mental itches get scratched!   HEY DAD, I AM FREAKIN' CURIOUS!!!

So I guess I judged myself wrongly all these years.  I was brimming over with curiosity! 

I was just lazy . 

I say all this because I'm blogging today about my friend Neil's dog-training classes on DailyOM.  They're called "How to Speak so Your Dog will Listen".  I've written about Neil before and I really believe very deeply in what he does.  It's like macrobiotic thinking applied to dogs!  And as I was giving this post a title, I thought "I wonder where the term 'dog days of summer' comes from?"

Why?  Because I'm… that's right… CURIOUS. 

And not only did I learn that we are smack dab in the middle of said "Dog Days" right now, but that they are called that because the brightest star of the Constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) , which is called Sirius (not the radio) is up to something a little tricky… get this:

"In the summer, Sirius, the 'dog star', rises and sets with the sun.  During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.  They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, 'dog day' after the dog star. (from

As Paris Hilton , who often carries a dog in her purse, would say:  Hot. 

Check out Neil's classes at DailyOM and enjoy these Dog Days. 


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