How to tell if hot is really hot

John Foster

Just a few weeks ago, I was belaboring all the rain we’ve seen in the Midwest. As of this writing, we’re still more than 11 inches above the norm.

However, we have managed to string some dry days together with a little sunshine.

This month, more typical heat and humidity has replaced seemingly endless days of clouds, rain and somewhat cool conditions. The Old Farmer’s Almanac thinks July should be a bit cooler and dryer than normal.

But right now, it’s warm.

Very warm.

Well, actually hot.

In a typical summer season, we experience about 20 days of 90 degrees in this neck of the woods. Often times, we will hear, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”


Then why don’t more people live in ovens?

Having done some cookie-baking in my days, a blast of dry heat from the stove when I pop a tray of cookies inside is hot. Never mind that it might not be terribly humid. It’s hot.

This also begs the question, “Which is faster, heat or cold?”

Obviously it’s heat, because you can catch a cold.

(Cue the “pun” groan.)

What do bees do when it gets hot?

They take off their “yellow jackets.”

(Yet another pun.)

Want one more?

How do toads stay cool?

They drink ice-cold “Croak-a-Cola”.

One of my favorite “hot” stories is from years ago when my wife and I were newlyweds and living in southern Alabama. When new couples moved in to the housing development, we’d all gather together and help install the window air conditioner. Then we’d have a big cookout, drink beer and celebrate.

This one time, a friend of ours bought a huge AC unit. I say “huge” because when he turned it on lights dimmed in the neighborhood. It took several virile, young men to hoist it up and hold it in place. Others closed off the open window area with a sheet of plywood, bolting it to the window frame and the AC unit.

After the party ended and we all went home and this guy and his wife sacked out. He told us he awoke during the night, bathed in sweat but he could still hear his air conditioner running. Thinking he might have been dreaming, he tried to go back to sleep but it was just too hot and sticky in the bedroom. When he got out of bed to investigate, he discovered that his AC unit had fallen out of the window but managed to stay plugged in.

Now this was a big air conditioner, but I don’t think it was capable of cooling the the sultry air of southern Alabama. That’s a whole bunch of BTU’s needed.

But the question still remains: What’s hot?

Let us try and determine how you can tell if it’s hot:

Your sweat sweats

Sleeping on your inflatable raft in the backyard pool sounds like a legitimate option.

Birds chirp for you to add ice cubes to the bird bath.

You discover that a seat belt buckle doubles as a pretty good branding iron.

Chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs.

The Greyhound bus is panting.

You replace your bed pillows with bags of frozen vegetables.

You have hot water coming out of both taps in the house.

Neighborhood squirrels carry potholders to gather acorns.

You sprain your wrist fanning.

Your digital thermometer reads, “You gotta be kidding!”

All the bread you buy is already toasted.

Security guards are at all the local ice machines.

If you are really bothered by the heat, just close your eyes and remember six months ago when we were blue from the cold.

When all is said and done, more than likely, we’ll have an average weather season.

That’s the problem with averages.

It’s all those extremes added together and divided by the number of days that can make “average” pretty uncomfortable at times.

John Foster anchors ‘All-News-in-the-Morning’ weekdays on 1010 WCSI-AM and 98.1 FM. You can read his weekly blog at johnnyonthe and monthly in The Republic. Send comments to [email protected].

John Foster anchors ‘All-News-in-the-Morning’ weekdays on 1010 WCSI-AM and 98.1 FM. You can read his weekly blog at and monthly in The Republic.