Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer, Summer, Summer

Summer, it turns me upside down.

The Cars sang these words long ago, when the world was young.

Summer has been taking its mandate to turn me upside down a little too literally recently with the historic Virginia earthquake. As someone who works in the field of geology, I observed the earthquake with a certain detached interest, except for that period of about two seconds when I thought that the building that I was in would come down and I would die.

Once again, of course, I am tardy in my blogging; everyone has forgotten the great East Coast earthquake, and moved on to the great East Coast hurricane. I am unsure what will happen here next; I am leaning toward either meteorite or volcano.

But, once again (again), summer, it turns me upside down.

And indeed it has been a very long time since the Cars released that song. In fact, as I understand it, it was originally intended as a duet between Ric Ocasek and Dimetrodon.

Summer is the most tightly constrained of the seasons. Like all seasons, it has an astronomical definition (a period starting on the summer solstice and ending on the autumnal equinox) and a meteorological definition (June, July, and August). (The meteorological definition is superior, and I could explain why, but that sort of serious science writing is not what I'm going for here.) What makes summer tightly constrained, though, is not its scientific definition, but its public perception. Summer is popularly viewed as the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or the time between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next, or even the time between the end of one network television season and the beginning of the next. There can be an early winter, but there can't be an early summer, because winter can be seen to start when a certain threshold of cold is reached, but summer can't start until certain benchmark date arrives.

Now summer is almost over. A while ago I was watching Jimmy Kimmel's show, and he said that, even though he hadn't gone to school for years, he still felt sad when he saw the back-to-school sales. I feel the same way. (I usually did pretty well in school, but I hated it.) In the unlikely event that I ever have any children, I don't think that I will be sad about them going back to school, but I will be sad about everyone else's children going back to school.


  1. Silly boy, everyone knows that the last disaster will be a meteorite in 2012, which will herald the return of L Ron Hubbard in a giant Basestar from the future/past.

    (yes, I am purposely conflating perhaps the best and worst science-fiction franchises because I want my last words to be totally nonsensical)

  2. I think Irene barely qualified as a hurricane. I'm surprised you didn't have the song "Come on Irene" as your, uh, theme.

  3. Actually it was "Come on Eileen" (incidentally a characteristic "Eighties song" that I don't remember ever hearing in the Eighties).

    In any event, I prefer to use songs that I like in my posts.

  4. Oh right. Irene was the Chinese version.