Lather Up

At long last, Sum-Sum-Summertime!!!

Finally, it’s here. Today marks the official start of summer – that wonderful time of year.  I can remember as a kid waking up early every morning and rushing out of the house (still doing this by the way) and taking advantage of the long days of sunshine and fun.  So many things come to mind – bike rides, baseball in the park, tag, hide and seek, sprinklers, pool parties, campfires, smores, heading to the beach, barbecues (will save for another time!)  – I could go on.  I dug around to find some random trivia for you to enjoy – be sure to click the song links at the bottom – it will jump start your weekend fun!  Enjoy!

  1. The word “summer” is from the Proto-Indo-European root *sam-, meaning summer. The root *sam is a variant from the Proto-Indo-European root *sem-, which means “together/one.”
  2. The “dog days of summer” refer to the weeks between July 3 and August 11 and are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the hot temperatures, drought, discomfort, and sickness that occurred during the summer (Always have to blame someone!).
  3. Summer is the by far the busiest time at movie theaters, and Hollywood always hopes to earn a significant portion of total annual ticket sales through summer blockbuster months. To date, the top 10 most famous summer blockbusters of all time are 1) Jaws, 2) Star Wars, 3) Jurassic Park, 4) The Dark Knight, 5) Raiders of the Lost Ark, 6) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 7) Forrest Gump, 8) Ghostbusters, 9) Animal House, and 10) Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  4. In the United States, over 650 million long-distance summer trips are made.  The top 5 most popular summer vacations are 1) beach/ocean (45%), 2) a famous city (42%), 3) national parks (21%), 4) a lake (17%), and 5) a resort (14%).
  5. The Eiffel Tower is 6 inches taller in the summer than in the winter.  In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches. (See I am 5-10 and ½!)
  6. The month of June was named after either Juniores, the lower branch of the roman Senate, or Juno, the wife of Jupiter.  Marc Antony named the month of July, in honor of Julius Caesar.
  7. The month of August was named for Julius Caeser’s adopted nephew Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius, who held the title “Augustus.” He named the month after himself.  “September” is from the Latin word septem, meaning “seven.”
  8. Both “equinox” and “solstice” refer to the path of the sun throughout the year. During a solstice, the sun is either at its northernmost point (Tropic of Cancer) or it is at its southernmost point (Tropic of Capricorn). An equinox is either of the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator and both day and night are equally long.  The word “solstice” is from the Latin solstitium, which is from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) because it seems as if the sun stops at the solstice.
  9. In southern England, over 37,000 people gather at Stonehenge to see the summer solstice. Druids and pagans are among those who celebrate the longest day of the year at this notable place. –  isn’t amazing how people spend their free time!
  10. Ancient pagans celebrated midsummer with bonfires. It was believed that the crops would grow as high as a couple could jump across the fire. Additionally, bonfires would generate magic by boosting the sun’s powers.
  11. Some education reformers believed that children were overstimulated in a system which required 48 weeks of schooling. They believe that over-schooling could lead to nervous disorders, depression, insanity, and separation anxiety towards families and believe that children need the 2–3 months off to relax and also to take a break from other childhood stresses.  other critics of summer vacation point out that American students spend approximately 180 days (26 weeks) per year in school, but Asian students are “in school for 240 to 250 days”.  This is consistent with the conclusions of researchers who suggest that advanced abilities are in proportion to the time spent learning. Summer holidays in Japan start from late-July until early-September. (after reading these compelling thoughts, it makes you want to head to the beach with a cold one!)
  12. According to custom, in the United States, a person can wear white pants only during the summer, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  This year, NYC fashion says black is the new summer white… (not buying it).
  13. A ubiquitous summer treat is watermelon. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92% water. On average, Americans consume 15 pounds of watermelon annually.
  14. Popsicles, a popular summer treat, was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905. He left a glass of soda sitting outside and by the next morning the soda had frozen. He began selling them at an amusement park in New Jersey. In the U.S., cherry is the number 1 flavor.
  15. July, the hottest summer month in the Northern Hemisphere, is National Ice Cream Month, not surprisingly. Americans eat an average 20 quarts of ice cream a year. Vanilla, (which is my personal favorite since you can always add lots of goodies to it), is the most popular flavor, with chocolate coming in a distant second.
  16. The longest summer bikini parade on record happened on August 19, 2012, in China with 1,085 participants.
  17. Before the Civil War, schools did not have summer vacation. In rural communities, kids had school off during the spring planting and fall harvest while urban schools were essentially year-round. The long summer holiday didn’t come about until the early 20th century.  Leading advocates for play such as Henry Curtis believed strongly that children were not having enough time for play. In addition to advocating playground equipment, Curtis also advocated that summer should be spent working with families in gardens and going camping. Curtis was a large supporter of boy and girl scouts and encouraged children to engage in scouting during the summer.
  18. According to Forbes, the top 9 most hazardous summer injuries are caused by 1) playground equipment; 2) skateboards; 3) trampolines; 4) lawn mowers; 5) amusement attractions; 6) non-powder guns, BBs pellets; 7) beach, picnic, camping equipment; 8) barbeque grills, stoves, equipment; and 9) trimmers, small garden tools.
  19. According to Rolling Stone, the top 10 best summer songs of all time are:
    1) “Dancing in the Street,” Martha & The Vandellas
    2) “Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran
    3) “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper
    4) “California Girls,” The Beach Boys
    5) “Rockaway Beach,” The Ramones
    6) “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly & the Family Stone
    7) “Summer in the City,” Lovin’ Spoonful
    8) “Vacation,” The Go-Gos
    9) “Summertime,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
    10) “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama 
  20. About one shot-glass worth of sunscreen is enough to cover the body.  The record for the most people applying sunscreen was on January 8, 2012, in Australia with 1,006 participants applying sunscreen for 2 minutes.
  21. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat 7-8 billion hot dogs.

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