Let slip the dogs of August

So we have arrived at roughly mid-August, a much-anticipated yet often-maligned date on the calendar.

It marks the start of the major vacation period in America, yet it also marks the start of the “dog days” when humidity and temperatures vie for the highest numbers they can reach on the discomfort scale.

It marks the time when late-summer treats such as strawberries and melons begin appearing in our gardens in profusion, but it also marks the time of highest heat stress on our expensive lawns.

It tells us there still are 27 promising days left until that old killjoy, Labor Day, is upon us, but it also ushers in a time when merchants and the unimaginative among us begin to drone on about how close we are to the start of a new school year.

Historically, August 9 is a mixed bag sort of a day.

1173 — Construction of the campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa — now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa — began, the start of a two-century building project.

1483 — The Sistine Chapel was opened in Rome.

1854 — Henry David Thoreau published “Walden.”

1936 — Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Olympic Games in Berlin.

1944 — Smokey the Bear made his first appearance, on posters released by the U.S. Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council.

1945 — The Japanese city of Nagasaki was obliterated by the second atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on the enemy country, three days after Hiroshima was the first atomic target.

1969 — Members of a cult led by Charles Manson brutally murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring and recent high-school graduate Steven Parent.

1971 — British security forces arrested hundreds of Northern Ireland nationalists and detained them without trial in the infamous Long Kesh prison. Twenty people died in the riots that followed.

1974 — Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to resign from office.

1898 — The diesel internal combustion engine was issued a U.S. patent by 608,845.  The inventor was Rudolf Diesel.

2007 — The financial crisis of 2007-2008 emerged  when a liquidity crisis results from the subprime mortgage crisis

In the end, like any other day, today is what you make of it.

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About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

Posted on August 9, 2010, in History. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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