Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No, you're not going to melt.

Summer has come to the Midwest, catching the local news media by surprise like it does every year. First, there's the ritual startle when gas prices go up around Memorial Day. Then the traditional head-scratching when they drop and then go back up around Independence Day.

Now we are having the traditional heat wave. This one's above average so far for Indianapolis, but not in any danger of setting records; Hoosieropolis gets an average of nineteen days per year with 90°F+ and we've had fourteen so far, so we'll probably be over the average by a few days this year.

But to look at the news, you'd think this was something that had never been experienced before. "Coming Up Next: How to keep your children safe in the heat!" blared the local station's teaser.

How to keep 'em safe? Yank 'em away from the X-Box and shove 'em out the front door! This is great weather for little Billy and Suzy to sweat off a bit of that pudge. Kids do it all Summer long in Tampa and Houston, so quit making it sound like stepping out the front door is an invitation to instant heatstroke if not sudden thermonuclear death.


og said...

Well, for the fairskinned among us, it's also an opportunity to immolate, which is why I always wear longsleeved black shirts. Nothing quite like seeing some of your relatives burst into flames at a family picnic. Still, the media has to keep us all in a constant state of fear, so we can let the gubmint come to our rescue with excellent tips on how to stay cool in hot weather.

I'd ask if everyone was that stupid, but, well, yes, they are.

WV: Railiest. This is the railiest rail gun I ever shot!

Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

Oh no...... Heatmaggedon!!!!

Boat Guy said...

Certainly we can tie this "heat wave" into the "OMG! Global Warming/Climate Change" thingy somehow...

staghounds said...

That's what always made ma laugh about the whole Global Warming thing.

"O Holy Gaia!

New York will be like RICHMOND!!!"

Ritchie said...

There's a constant stream of new newsies as they rotate up the newsie food chain, and an ongoing supply of new viewers who just got out from under their rock. It's groundhog day remedial class.

Anonymous said...

When we were kids was there such concern over us dropping dead from the heat?

Bike riding, running through the woods, playing kickball, football and baseball were all encouraged. Heck, I remember junior high football summer practice, er, "conditioning class" the coaches would express delight that it would be a hot July day so we could sweat the weakness out of us and into our gear. And "water was for the weak."

When did this change? I obviously missed that memo.

Shootin' Buddy

aczarnowski said...

These heat indexes really are an outdoor project killer though. Those lines in The Wealth and Poverty of Nations about temperate climates being productive are searing into my brain good and hard. Well, steaming good and hard anyway.

I've got a porch and deck to finish. I'd like my productive climate back please.

The Raving Prophet said...

The part that is truly amusing is how a heat wave that's been going on for DAYS only becomes a national news story when it finally reaches the east coast.

Tam said...

"And "water was for the weak.""

And heat casualties are for the strong?

Remember how good the water from the garden hose tasted on a summer day? (After you'd already tricked you little brother or sister into drinking the hot water that had been broiling in the coiled hose so you could get the cold stuff from the pipes.)

Robb Allen said...

We started our 90°+ temps back in March. We'll enjoy them into October.

Not that I pay too close of attention, but I don't normally hear of that many cases of Little Suzy dying of heatstroke here in the Sunshine state.

Tam said...

The Raving Prophet,

"The part that is truly amusing is how a heat wave that's been going on for DAYS only becomes a national news story when it finally reaches the east coast."

That's where all the important people live.

Wait'll they find out where their arugula comes from...

Fred said...

Tomorrow's set to be the hottest day of the year in Wisconsin.

Obviously this means a range trip has already been planned. I'm just glad it's warm so my fingers aren't too numb to load mags!

Tam said...


"These heat indexes really are an outdoor project killer though."

Yeah, I'll admit that I could be spending a lot more time in the garden than I am, but those weeds'll still be there tomorrow. ;)

Ruth said...

No, there wasn't nearly as much concern over heat stroke, etc, even 25 years ago when I was of age to be running around the neighborhood. Mom would call us in periodically and hand us a popsicle, or make us drink a glass of water, and send us back out for more running around. Neither I or any of my friends ever had to be treated for heat related "injuries"

Anonymous said...

"And heat casualties are for the strong?"

Walk it off! No, don't you f%$#ing dare touch your helmet. Walk it off!

They give my nephews as much water as they want now in summer conditioning.

Good thing the lack of hydration had no lasting impact . . . *facial ticks*

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

The heat never used to be a problem because kids never used to be covered in such thick layers of blubber. Seriously, it's like they grew up in Greenland or something these days.


Lanius said...

Running when it's 100 F and 60% humidity is serious business.

Tried it once, just for fun, managed about 3.1 kilometers in 12 minutes, but I was afraid afterwards that I'd die.

Was far worse than running 20 kms in normal weather...

I blame capitalism ;-). Food's so cheap that there's not much money in it, therefore, more of it must be marketed and sold.

Portion sizes in restaurants has gone up something like 300% since the 1970's. A friend of mine tells me that when she was at a restaurant with three other girls, one meal was enough for the four of them.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day when fewer people had whole-house air conditioning, it was easier to "pre adapt" to the heat outdoors because it wasn't so chilly indoors. It was more a difference in degree than going from baking to freezing. I used to spend the summers in Houston and would spend hours outdoors, unless the heat index got over 100 degrees. Then I'd be penned up inside (probably so I'd drink fewer expensive soda pops.)

Now I do all my outdoor activities before sunrise or after sunset if possible. The long sleeve and long pants thing gets old when it's 104 out.


Tam said...


"Running when it's 100 F and 60% humidity is serious business."

Lots of serious runners 'round these parts.

Tam said...


I feel ya'.

Growing up, my parents would cut off the a/c upstairs during the day, on the theory that bedrooms were for sleeping and thus not needed between breakfast and supper.

So little bookworm Tam could melt in her room or go read elsewhere...

BGMiller said...

The coming weekend is supposed to bring temps and humidity both in the nineties.

My plan?

I'm driving to a little range out in the middle of the corn and doing an Appleseed shoot.

Can't change the weather so I might as well just deal with it.

I do feel bad for our local fire dept. though. A few years ago they decided the black bunker gear looked really snazzy. Saw an engine company clearing a car wreck yesterday. Those boys were roasting.


Stuart the Viking said...

I have to agree with LittleRed1, 90F to 100F is MUCH less of a big deal when you are aclimated to it. I grew up without AC and I don't remember ever having much of a problem with the heat. Now that I work in AC, and have central air in my home I seem to feel it a lot more (or I could just be getting old).

A friend of mine was married to a roofer (here in Central Florida) and she would get mad because every day he would come home, turn the AC off, and open the windows. Where she was comfortable, he froze, and the rest of us were "it's a bit warm in here. Is your AC out?"


John Farrier said...

I remember several years ago driving a passenger van full of octogenarians to an outdoor music festival in the Florida summer heat. After staying outside for a few hours, I felt like I wanted to die. But the elderly folks were just fine, probably because they had grown up without air conditioning and gotten used to periodic baking.

Anonymous said...

Like SB I grew up in the walk it off/ far from the heart sports medicine days. Maybe get salt pills if the demigods were in a good mood. I don't remember any real problems excepts the big boys getting muscle cramps.

Now I'm dreading being a RO at the Shooting Industry Masters for two days of mid 90's heat this weekend. Who's got those stinken salt tablets these days?


Jac said...

That's not as bad as Phoenix, where every summer brings "Beware of heat exhaustion/dehydration", "Tips for how to keep your toddler from drowning in the family pool" and, my personal favorite once the monsoons roll around, "Beware of Flash Floods: Video of dramatic rescue of SUV stuck in 3 inches of water rushing through the bottom of a wash"

Heh... captcha is "hailing"

Bubblehead Les. said...

Hot? Wonder how many of my friends humping 80 pounds of gear out in West Talibanistan right now would like to be back in the States dealing with the Heat Wave in shorts and A/C while going to the Grocery Store? 3 guesses, first 2 don't count.

DaveFla said...

"Running when it's 100 F and 60% humidity is serious business."

Well, maybe. How's 117F and 8% sound?

(Link is to the Badwater Ultramarathon site: 135 miles thru Death Valley, in July. Last week the winner finished in just under 24 hours. Billy and Suzy will do fine going outdoors this week...)

Tam said...

If you want some ultrarunning, try the Barkley. :)

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

Can you really feel you accomplished anything if the sweat doesn't run off your forehead, and drip off the tip of your nose onto whatever it is your working on?

And if it's too hot, you just take a dive into the farm pond, clothes and all.

Dann in Ohio

Anonymous said...

And, come late fall, when temperatures drop into mid-double digits and are headed lower, the media will discover that - "UNEXPECTEDLY" - winter has cold temps and ceaselessly warn us about frostbite, falling through the ice and everyone will die unless the dot gov subsidizes heating oil refills.

Why haven't we shot these people yet? Or, is there some useful purpose they serve that has eluded me?

Lanius said...

Well... I got to check Florida Runners. Broad Ripple's climate seems to be roughly what we have here.. okay for running mostly, 100F only for a week, mostly it's under 90 in the summer.

Florida and more southern areas..I'm curious.

Woodman said...

When I was in the Army we were deployed to AZ for drug interdiction work, fun stuff. Anyway, while we were there we paid lip service to doing PT and did some running.

It was pretty easy going in Albuquerque, but once we ended up in NM and went on a run we went by a bank there. It was 7 AM and the temp was 105.... and we weren't even feeling it. Until we hit mile 1.5 and all the smokers started to hyperventilate... and then shortly after that everyone else. Turns out we were some ungodly number of feet above sea level, and we were stationed in Hawaii normally. We walked back to where we started, slowly.

I always laughed at the humidity not the heat people, until that deployment, and one later to Tinian which was hotter and wetter than Hawaii.

Indiana is just lucky that we get all that good heart building humidity up here. No wimpy dry heat for us.

WV: Tamishme.... um, no she isn't. I'm reasonable certain Tam is herself and I am me.

Gewehr98 said...

I can stand dry heat, ala' KABQ, KMCC, KBAB, or KPHX. You can at least sweat into dry air. Try that with wet air, though. I expected some summer heat here in Wisconsin after leaving Florida. Damned if the friggin' humidity from down there didn't make a guest appearance this week at Casa de' G-98!

Mrs. G-98 is currently suffering from a monster case of shingles, and going from the hot humid outside to the A/C of the house gives her goosebumps, followed by intense pain. May have to let the house warm up some just to alleviate her agony. Or duct tape to stop the screaming...

Anonymous said...

You know I don't mind the heat so much as the sweating.

Dripping onto my computer, the hammer/SAwzall grips getting so wet they slip, that's just dangerous... and annoying.

Of course the wife is heavily preggers, so when I suggest turning the A/C off last night she gave me a look I interpreted as "Dear Husband, I wish our child to have a father, but not so much as wish for cool dry bed room, so beware."

Mikael said...

Ever had to work(as in for money) outdoors, in the sun, when it's 110F+(in the shade) and 98% humidity? I have(in cyprus). Ugh. One of those days I ran across an elderly lady with proper heat exhaustion(pale cold clammy skin). I heard some other foreign workers had been hospitalized.

Anonymous said...

[T]o look at the news, you'd think this was something that had never been experienced before. "Coming Up Next: How to keep your children safe in the heat!" blared the local station's teaser.

I'm not sure which is a sadder commentary on our society:

--- That MiniTru feels the need to impart such obscure, esoteric wisdom to us, or;

--- That there are people to whom "wear light clothes", "drink lots of water", and "wear a hat or some sunscreen" IS obscure, esoteric wisdom.

Drang said...

Just to ensure that I can never return to The Heartland, I love it when the temperatures here in Pugetopolis hit 70 and they start in on Heat Stroke warnings...

Drang said...

(Currently, Weather Spark says it 66 degrees, 63% humidity...)

Tam said...


"Ever had to work(as in for money) outdoors, in the sun, when it's 110F+(in the shade) and 98% humidity?"

I grew up in Atlanta. I remember one particular horrible summer where I had a temp job assembling industrial shelving in an unfinished warehouse with a sheet-metal roof and the A/C hadn't yet been installed.

And then there was the first gun store I worked in, which was in an old Western Auto parts store... A sheet-metal roof again, plus two glass walls, and no HVAC or insulation. You could dress really warm in the winter, but you can only get so nekkid in the summer without losing your job. I went through lots of CLP in the summer, keeping the rusty fingerprints off the merchandise...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
Forget about air conditioners (they're bad for Mother Gaia) and sunscreen (made with chemicals so it must be evil too).
I'm going to click over to the whitehouse.gov website. I'm sure The One has an app for my smartphone that'll take care of it.

Dave said...

Here's what I learned in the cotton field: no matter the temperature in the shade, there's no shade in a cotton field.

Will said...

Everyone just skipped right past the earlier mention of rising gas prices around the holidays.

When I first started paying attention to gas stations, (1960's) it was unusual to find them open on holidays. If you found one open, you had to expect to pay a much higher price that day.
As one owner told me: If I have to be here, or I pay someone overtime to be here, you are going to pay more for the privilege of getting gas, especially since I won't sell as much as a normal day. Gas was around $0.30/gal, but you might pay $.99/gal that day.
Most businesses closed on holidays. That was the whole point of a holiday.

Tam said...



Of course, in those days sole proprietorships were much more common than local and regional chains.

The two summer spikes these days have more to do with increased fuel demand during peak vacation seasons and the costs of refineries switching over to EPA-mandated summer fuel formulations.

Zendo Deb said...

OK, so here I am in the Buckeye state after 9 or so years in Florida.

Everyone keeps saying "OMG it is so hot and humid." And aside from today (where it is a bit warm) I thought it was quite nice.

People are complaining about the humidity, but my skin feels dry.