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The Dog Days Have Arrived

Roofing mechanics are all-too familiar with working in hot conditions, and they’re a hearty lot besides. A contractor in Texas tells us, “Our guys can handle it. They’re used to it and know how to do it right and take care of themselves. The only times I get concerned about the heat is when they fail my ‘sweaty ladder test.’ If my guys are sweating before they even reach the roof, then it truly is hot.”

About that sweat:

Perspiration is your body’s way of cooling itself, whether that extra heat comes from hardworking muscles or from over-stimulated nerves.

People typically have 2.6 million sweat glands distributed within their skin. There are two types of sweat glands. Eccrine sweat glands are the most numerous; they are found all over the body, particularly on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and forehead. Apocrine sweat glands are mostly confined to the underarm area. The two glands differ in size, the age that they become active and the composition of the sweat they produce. Compared to apocrine glands, eccrine glands are smaller, are active from birth (apocrine glands become active at puberty) and produce a sweat that is free of proteins and fatty acids.

Sweat from the apocrine glands contain proteins and fatty acids, making it thicker and yellowish in color (hence those underarm stains). Sweat itself has no odor, but when bacteria on the skin and hair metabolize the proteins and fatty acids, they produce an unpleasant odor. This is why deodorants and antiperspirants are applied to the underarms and not the whole body.

When sweat evaporates from the surface of your skin, it removes excess heat and cools you. A major factor that influences the rate of evaporation is the relative humidity. If the air is humid, then it already has water vapor in it — probably near saturation — and cannot take any more. Therefore, sweat does not evaporate and cool your body as efficiently as when the air is dry. Either way, the loss of excessive amounts of water from your body can quickly dehydrate you, which can lead to circulatory problems, kidney failure and heat stroke. So during these dog days of summer, be sure to drink LOTS of (non alcohol- or caffeine-containing) fluids.

Get Out Those Sequined Jumpsuits

Or do you plan on doing the earlier tight-black-leather look for Elvis Week (August 10-19)? How ‘bout that — Elvis is so cool he gets a 10-day week.

Also a little unusual is not having the celebration take place around his birthday. Elvis was born Jan. 8, 1935; most people believe he died Aug. 16, 1977.

And, not surprisingly for this column, you’ll now be subjected to some nuggets from our “Elvis Trivia” files.

  • Seven percent of Americans think Elvis is alive.

  • He flunked an audition for “The Talent Scouts,” a popular television show in the ‘50s.

  • He recorded 18 No. 1 songs. The first was “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956; the last was “Suspicious Minds” in 1969.

  • The last of Elvis’ 114 Top 40 hits was “Guitar Man” (No. 28), released in 1981.

  • The only Grammy Awards Elvis won were for gospel recordings — he won three.

  • He appeared in 33 movies.

  • Elvis’ natural hair color was dark blond.

  • The only home in the United States that gets more visitors than Graceland is the White House.

  • His last gig was at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977.

  • He earned nearly a quarter-billion dollars but had only $4 million at the time of his death, and maintaining Graceland took $250,000 a year. Today, decades after his death, Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. makes over $50 million each year from licensing the King’s image.

Be Careful Handing Out Praise

Positive feedback is an important motivator but give it only when it has been earned, advises management consultant Russell Justice. He warns that gratuitous praise for routine performance can lead subordinates to believe they are doing a better job than they are, and that they deserve rewards for just showing up. It is the opposite of honest feedback and eventually catches up with both the giver and the recipient.