Paul Greenberg

It's definitely time, way past time, to update this annual list of heat-beaters. Feel free to clip and save, mix and match, and add your own.

1. Delete all unwanted e-mails without opening them. Especially if they're from types who are always a bit hot under the collar anyway. If you must open any, under no circumstances reply. Soon you'll be on their heated level. I heard from a satanist the other day -- no, actually he said he was a pagan -- and, you guessed it, he was hot as hell.

2. Forget talk radio and 24/7 television news. Tune out National Progressive Radio and switch to the classical station. Vivaldi is a comfort, Dvorak about as stirring as you need, Beethoven's symphonies much too bombastic, and Mozart's perfect -- as always. Listening to the well-named Amadeus is like looking up at the clear night sky out in the country and hearing the music of the spheres. Or get out Miles Davis and John Coltrane's classic, "Kind of Blue." (I hereby nominate Miles Davis -- along with Gershwin, of course -- as the greatest American composer of the 20th century.)

3. Recall the lightest, most elegant, interesting dessert you ever had. Mine is zabaglione over half a perfect peach. Italians know what they're doing in matters of summer style, and hot summers bring out their genius for creating just the right dish.

4. To borrow a line from the late great Robert Benchley, get out of those sweaty clothes and into a dry martini.

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

6. Don't try to figure out the infield fly rule one more time; just settle back and watch the game. Linger over the replays in slow motion.

7. Avoid watching sit-coms, playing rock 'n' roll, listening to TV shout shows, worrying about the future or regretting the past. "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." --Satchel Paige.

Epictetus the Stoic might have said something like that, but not half so well.

8. Decorate with cool, green, leafy things, but not kudzu. Turn your back on it for a minute and it'll cover your house.

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

10. Don't hurry back, or anywhere. "Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried." --Henry David Thoreau. He may have been a Massachusetts man, but he had to be a Southerner at heart.

11. Park in the shade.

12. Key lime pie.

13. Wear a hat. With a broad brim.

14. Give the kids a nap. Take one yourself. Or watch an old Mister Rogers show with a small child; it'll soothe both of you.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.