Out In The Midday Sun

Of course, after watching my gardener and his brother fricassee themselves operating power tools in yesterday’s heat, I had to go out there too and prove I could take it. I did, at least, go armed with a full iced keg; on the other hand, I was breaking in some new teenaged yard help, which made the whole operation kind of dicey. Teenagers consider themselves invincible and have to be nagged to drink water.

I ran out of time, but I meant to play this for her.

Who can equal the master?

In tropical climes
There are certain times
Of day
When all the citizens retire
To take their clothes off and perspire.
It’s one of those rules
That the greatest fools
Because the sun is far too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry
Violet ray.

The natives grieve
When the white men leave
Their huts.
Because they’re obviously,

Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don’t care to,
The Chinese wouldn’t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines
Sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen
Detest a
In the Philippines
They have lovely screens
To protect you from the glare.
In the Malay states
There are hats like plates
Which the Britishers won’t wear.
At twelve noon
The natives swoon,
And no further work is done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun!

Such a surprise
For the eastern eyes
To see,
That though the English are effete,
They’re quite impervious to heat.
When the white man rides
Every native hides
In glee.
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee
On a tree.

It seems such a shame
When the English claim
The Earth,
That they give rise
To such hilarity
And mirth.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it.
In Rangoon
The heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun,
They put their Scotch
Or Rye down
And lie down.
In a jungle town
Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast,
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok
At twelve o’clock
They foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit
Deplores this foolish habit.
In Hong Kong
They strike a gong
And fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand
Each inmate
Who’s in late.
In the Mangrove swamps
Where the python romps
There is peace from twelve to two,
Even caribous
Lie around and snooze,
For there’s nothing else to do.
In Bengal,
To move at all
Is seldom if ever done.
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday sun!

I’m still rehydrating.


Eche ground the higher that it was and nearer to the Skie,
The sooner was it set on fire, and made therewith so drie
That every where it gan to chinke. The Medes and Pastures greene
Did seare away: and with the leaves, the trees were burned cleene. …
Ovid, Metamorphoses (Golding translation, 1567)

It’s been kind of that way around here this past couple of weeks.

I’m not the only one to ask where all the climate change skeptics are — you know, the ones that declared global warming theory to be refuted by a winter of punishing blizzards. If the blizzards were an argument, what’s this? 85 degrees Fahrenheit at 11 PM isn’t just strange; it’s perverted.

Watching those cracks open in the dirt: you try not to step too close to them, because you get the feeling something might yank you straight down to Hell. Although in Hell, it might be cooler.

I know there are places on earth where it gets a lot hotter, and to be fair, it’s been up over 100 degrees on the Atlantic seaboard now and then in my lifetime; I remember the heat wave of 1975, when I was in Boston, and wouldn’t come out of the library. The day the wind changed you could smell Boston Harbor exhaling inland, and no one cared. This has been a drier heat; there was an actual pleasure in working out in the yard, at least with cold water available, up till the point about fifteen minutes after dinner when it became apparent that the day’s metabolism had been used up and no more would be available till morning.

Still, I have had this insane urge to fill a huge cooler with beer and drive past the poor bastards doing road construction in this already over-asphalted commonwealth, flinging frosty bottles out the windows as I go.

This morning it started raining, gently and steadily, shortly before dawn. By the time I could lace up my shoes and get on the road the gutters were chuckling with braids of racing water.

I covered five miles.

not a moment too soon

T-Shirt Friday, October, 2009: It’s Friday Somewhere On The Globe

I find Nursemyra’s custom of T-Shirt Friday entirely charming and  I hate to think I almost missed it, but it has been the kind of week that turns your brain into a tangle of fried relays. I know Friday is over at Nursemyra’s digs but I’ve still got a few hours to go on the Atlantic seaboard.

I still miss my kitty, and will for some time, but I have mostly been reflecting on how good it was to have him. I realized I had never worn this shirt, which I bought over fourteen years ago, at a cat show I attended with the object of picking up a couple of carpeted cat trees for the newly bought and still-chaotic house. It looked more like my big boy than any cat shirt I ever saw, though there was no real variation in his fur color and his eyes were bronze. He did have that warming ability though. One imagines a huge vibration heard over the Great Plains, or at least I do.

Global Warming

I remember that one of the cat trees was kind of cumbersome and they held it for me to pick up later, but the other was very basic and since the cat show was literally just over the hill at the local high school — where we’d walked — I carried it home on my shoulders, out of bravado. I’ve gotten out of the habit of trying to prove things like that.

Go forth and scratch the ears of someone you love.