There are so many hallmarks of the Summer,
like the Olympics, or the further fracturing of the American populace during
the lead up of the Presidential Elections. But there are plenty of other, less noticeable signs of the season that we all take for granted -- because they've been around forever, or because they make such a subtle difference, or because we're distracted by all the news about Michael Phelps and Mitt Romney.
We've neglected the unsung heroes of summertime for far too long. So here's our ode to the inventions and innovations that make summer in Miami what it is today.
Next week marks the 110th anniversary of the air conditioning unit by Willis Haviland Carrier in Buffalo, New York. It makes perfect sense for air conditioning to come from New York, because once summer rolls around, New Yorkers become insufferable about how "hot" it is in the city. They're practically in Canada. If they are hot, it's their own damn fault for living on a slab of concrete that smells like piss.
Anyway, Carrier's invention eventually made it to Miami, where we'd use it to freeze office workers at their desks, requiring them to wear bulky sweaters indoors year-round.
Believe it or not, the term
"double dutch" doesn't come from old timey antiquated racism, but actually from
the Dutch jumping rope in New Amersterdam, later popularized in cities in the
Remember playing Double Dutch in the streets for hours during a summer
day? Of course you don't. It's impossible. You get one jump in and get smacked
in the face and the crotch by a rubber rope. What did the Dutch even see in it?
In 1905 11-year-old Frank
Epperson accidentally left some juice outside during a chilly day and created
the Popsicle, a summer favorite. It rapidly grew in popularity due to its deliciousness, and also due to imagining people giving fellatio when you watch them lick it,
which is awesome. Thanks, Frank Epperson!
Fire Hydrant Busting
The modern fire hydrant
was invented by Birdsill Holly in 1863, and you know it wasn't too much later
that someone busted one open to beat the heat. It's so fun and so refreshing
that you pretty much forget that you could be endangering people's lives in the
event of an actual fire. But who cares? Water's in the air!
A staple of the rerun dog days
of summer, TV marathons were invented by Alan Goldman and Fred Seibert at Nick
at Nite, who realized that stoners and the unemployed will watch mediocre
programming if you delivered it them in giant chunks. These days, TV marathons are falling by
the wayside, mostly used by USA Network to indoctrinate consumers into becoming hooked on
their "Suave White Person in a Field Tangential to Law" Series du jour.
Block Parties gained in
popularity during the 1970s, back when people didn't avoid their
neighbors completely and Community wasn't just a TV series. Ever think about
throwing a block party nowadays? No. Because you would be lucky if your
invitation wasn't returned via a brick through your window. (This rule does not apply if you are Dave Chappelle.)
Fry an Egg on Concrete
The phrase, letting
you know that yes, it is that hot outside, first appeared in the Atlanta
Constitution in 1899. We're presuming that the Atlanta Constitution is a
newspaper and not the actual Constitution for the city of Atlanta, though we're
sure that it is also full of down home sayin's too!
The modern concept of the vacation was started by the cultural elite in the early 19th century. Today, they are also the last group of people still able to vacation. Remember
when your dad took the family on vacation to the Grand Canyon for a week? Try that
nowadays and you'll be canned from your two jobs before you even make it past
These grew to national prominence in the
early 2010s as a way for the media to condescend you into thinking hanging out
in your house because you have no money is an acceptable substitute for an
actual vacation. Until you can drink the amount you would during a vacation at
your house with out being accused of being an alcoholic, it isn't.
Who's seen Do The Right Thing? If
there is one certain side effect of the summer, it's different races getting
into each other's faces. We're not advocating racially motivated violence, of course. We're just saying, if
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the only way to cool off is to throw a garbage can through the window of a
family owned pizzeria and ransack the place, then do what you have to do.