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Jewish World Review July 13, 1999 /29 Tamuz, 5759

Paul Greenberg

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Ben Wattenberg


50 Ways to beat the heat --
WITH THE ANNUAL HUMIDITY PODS already in place above the United Sweltering States, summer is hard upon us -- like a horse blanket. Here in Arkansas, the humidity pods arrived a couple of weeks ago -- they came in with the tomatoes -- and are now firmly in place. When we heard about New Yorkers complaining about mere 100-degree temperatures, some of us could hardly suppress a snicker. The heat index as I write this in Little Rock is 110.

What, you've never heard of humidity pods? Lucky you. They're the vast air bubbles that float up from the Gulf of Mexico every summer and render the air in these latitudes as breathable as molasses. At least that's the highly unscientific explanation of our Southern summers I'm fondest of.

This year's pods are reported bigger and worse than ever, so it's time to update the annual list of heat-beaters before we all evaporate:

1. Try not to think of Hillary Clinton campaigning for senator via Air Force One. Also avoid thinking of Webb Hubbell, Kenneth Starr, Pat Buchanan, Howard Stern ... and the friendly neighbor who always wants to stop and chat for half an hour. In the sun.

2. Have a piece of watermelon instead.

3. Recall the lightest, most elegant, cooling dessert you ever had.

4. Make some fresh lemonade. Or as Robert Benchley once advised, get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini.

5. Think of the pure, crystalline beauty of the Pythagorean Theorem.

6. Call an old friend who now lives in Fairbanks.

7. Avoid sitcoms, rock'n'roll, and talk shows.

8. Decorate with green, leafy things, but not kudzu.

9. Take siestas; arrange to live in the early morning and after twilight.

10. Don't hurry back, or anywhere else. If you must hurry, do it slowly.

11. Park in the shade.

12. Key lime pie.

13. Wear a hat.

14. Give the kids a nap. Take one yourself.

15. Sit on the front porch. In a swing. Under a fan. Especially if it's glassed-in, air-conditioned, in the shade, surrounded by cool greenery.

16. Read last January's weather news, with especial attention to blizzards and record snows. Think glaciers.

17. Take a thimble-sized cup of hot soup before supper to whet the appetite.

18. Switch from Beethoven to Mozart, big band to chamber music, red to white wine, gin to tonic, cornbread to beaten biscuits, humor to wit.

19. Go fishing. Early in the day. Without fancy lures, rod and reel, or other impedimenta. Pack a picnic breakfast, choose an unfrequented spot off beaten path, lie down and clear the mind.

20. Have a tall cold one. With a hot dog. At a minor league ballpark. Luxuriate in the nostalgia. My recommendation: Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, Ark.

21. Smile. It costs no more. Think of it as a gift to all you encounter.

22. Wear white, and play "The Great Gatsby'' to beat the band.

23. Swim.

24. See the movie "Dr. Zhivago.'' Stay to see snowy scenes twice.

25. Iced tea.

26. Contemplate the coming of the next ice age.

27. Read up on the culture of the Eskimo.

28. Plan an expedition to the South Pole.

29. Stock up on watercress and cucumbers.

30. Carry a handkerchief. A big one. A bandanna. Maybe two.

31. Walk on the shady side of the street, of course. (Yankees have to be reminded.) Also park there. Whoever designed the treeless parking lots around shopping malls should have to park in one every day in August. I say, let the punishment fit the crime.

32. Remember what Satchel Paige said: Don't look behind you; somebody might be gainin' on you. Also Paige's Law No. 2: Step lightly; do not jar the inner harmonies.

33. Read "Gorky Park'' or some other detective story set in a cold climate. Or check out Howard Hawks' arctic and antic sci-fi classic, "The Thing.'' Rent any old horror movie that makes you shiver/laugh.

34. Send the kids to see the grandparents.

35. Grandparents: Take a week off by yourselves.

36. Think what Stockholm must be like. Also Spitsbergen.

37. Go for a walk at dawn, preferably without having to get up at an early hour.

38. Ice cream.

39. Simplify.

40. Attend a seminar on cryogenics.

41. Learn how to ice skate.

42. Wonder about the Laplanders.

43. Go ahead, try the waterslide.

44. Think on not having to put up the Christmas decorations, cook the turkey or build a roaring fire.

45. Smile in the sure knowledge the damper on your fireplace is closed.

46. Inspect the refrigerator.

47. Consult the atlas on the location of Novaya Zemlya, the Bering Strait and penguin population patterns. Study up on the Aurora Borealis.

48. Read Jack London's "To Build a Fire.''

49. Be nice.

50. Take the columnists with an extra grain of salt.


07/08/99: Today's tax tip: the Webb Hubbell System
07/02/99: Vision restored: the Supreme Court gets it
06/29/99: What makes Hillary run?
06/24/99: A Cafe Called Time: A Play In Three Acts
06/22/99: Amazing stories from D.C. Comix
06/17/99: George W.'s first mistake
06/08/99: Hail to the chief?
06/02/99: In praise of failure
05/26/99: Betrayal in the making: let's not make a deal
05/20/99: Israel's big switch: new era or just a mood swing?
05/18/99: Free our kids: revive the land of opportunity
05/13/99: This war will end --- or spread
05/11/99: South Sider comes through
05/07/99: There is no substitute for victory
05/05/99: A Tale of two colonels
05/03/99: It's the culture, stupid
04/30/99: Bumpers' 'B.S.'
04/27/99: An American tragedy: the fall of Kenneth Starr
04/23/99: Presidents and the press
04/14/99: A revealing moment
04/14/99: War Day by day
04/12/99: Just a few questions
04/06/99: The problem with the Left
04/05/99: The problem with the Right
03/30/99: But can he convince himself?
03/26/99: Short bursts
03/24/99: Once more into the quagmire
03/17/99: Big time in Little Rock
03/15/99: Our own Roger Taney
03/09/99: A different ‘Waterfront’
03/05/99: Law and disorder
2/26/99: King Richard's revenge
2/25/99: Open season on the fetus, and a good word for the pagans
2/23/99: It never ends: Here comes the judge
2/19/99: After the storm: Going through the debris
2/17/99: Where's the closure?
2/12/99: Hussein the Hashemite: The wiliest player on the board
2/09/99: The social security game
2/04/99: Our own Inspector Clouseau
2/01/99: Night scene, night thoughts
1/28/99: The decay of the art of lying
1/26/99: Impeachment: Short subjects
1/22/99: Bounce, glitz and tedium: The State of the Disunion
1/20/99: Destructive engagement: How to encourage tyranny
1/18/99: Martin Luther King: The radical as conservative?
1/11/99: Why America is apathetic about Bill's date with destiny
1/06/99:The year of Moronica
1/04/99: Clinton’s janitorial crew of two
12/29/98:The Senate will be on trial, too
12/29/98:A look down the avenue
12/22/98: The surreal impeachment
12/17/98: Another moment of truth approaches
12/15/98: The President's defenders: witnesses for the prosecution
12/10/98:The latest miracle cure: CensurePlus
12/03/98: Sentences at an airport Sentences at an airport
12/03/98: Games lawyers play
12/01/98: Ms. Magoo strikes again, or: Janet Reno and the law
11/26/98: The most American holiday
11/23/98: Same game, another round
11/18/98: Guide to the perplexed
11/09/98: A vote for apathy
11/03/98: Global village goes Clintonesque
11/02/98: Farewell to all that
10/30/98: New budget, same swollen government
10/26/98: Of life on the old plantation -- and death in the Middle East
10/22/98: Starr Wars (CONT'D)
10/19/98:Another retreat: weakness invites aggression
10/16/98: Profile in courage
10/14/98: A new voice out of Arkansas
10/09/98: Gerald Ford, Mr. Fix-It?
10/07/98: Impeachment Journal: Dept. of Doublespeak
10/01/98: The new tradition
9/25/98: Mr. President, PLEASE don't resign
9/23/98: The demolition of meaning
9/18/98: So help us G-d; The nature of the crisis
9/17/98: First impressions: on reading the Starr Report
9/15/98: George Wallace: All the South in one man
9/10/98: Here comes the judge
9/07/98: Toward impeachment
9/03/98: The politics of impeachment
9/01/98: The eagle can still soar
8/28/98: Boris Yeltsin's mind: a riddle pickled in an enigma
8/26/98: Clinton agonistes, or: Twisting in the wind
8/25/98: The rise of the English murder
8/24/98: Confess and attack: Slick comes semi-clean
8/19/98: Little Rock perspectives
8/14/98: Department of deja vu
8/12/98: The French would understand
8/10/98: A fable: The Rat in the Corner
8/07/98: Welcome to the roaring 90s
8/06/98: No surprises dept. -- promotion denied
8/03/98: Quotes of and for the week: take your pick
7/29/98: A subpoena for the president:
so what else is new?
7/27/98: Forget about Bubba, it's time to investigate Reno
7/23/98: Ghosts on the roof, 1998
7/21/98: The new elegance
7/16/98: In defense of manners
7/13/98: Another day, another delay: what's missing from the scandal news
7/9/98:The language-wars continue
7/7/98:The new Detente
7/2/98: Bubba in Beijing: history does occur twice
6/30/98: Hurry back, Mr. President -- to freedom
6/24/98: When Clinton follows Quayle's lead
6/22/98: Independence Day, 2002
6/18/98: Adventures in poli-speke

©1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate