The second half of August is usually the hottest part of the summer in most parts of the country (you can't really call it the 'dog days' because those traditionally coinicided with the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which no longer happens), and there's something about the heat that just seems to fry the hell out of the cerebral ramen noodles in some peoples' heads.
Case in point:
Petrol pump pilgrims keep faith
A prayer group in Washington DC is claiming the credit for the recent sharp drop in the US price of petrol.
These people have been going around to gas stations in some parts of the country (according to the article, their last stop was in Huntsville, Alabama, which should explain a lot), holding prayer meetings at the pumps in an effort to bring down gas prices.
Now comes the fun bit - they added a secret ingredient to their petitions to The Most High in order to get him to drop what he's doing regarding famine, AIDS and war and lower gas prices twenty cents.
They carpooled and drove less.
That was the secret ingredient.
Well, as a control on their efforts, I decreased the amount of driving I did, restricting my use of the automobile, and didn't pray. Guess what?
Gas prices fell at the station near my house. Thirty-nine cents, as a matter of fact.
Hmm. Could a rational response have actually done better than asking God (who conceivably might have had better things to do)?
Americans are getting a bit crazy as the summer heat continues; for these people I recommend sticking their heads in the fridge for a few minutes - and stop driving.