With a heat wave sweeping vast swaths of the country, including the swath that encompasses my un-air-conditioned apartment, I've found only two forms of sweet solace: (A) sticking my head in the freezer and (B) reading, over and over again, these bits of cool trivia that A.J. kindly provided for our latest issue:
Ice: The next time you're sipping a vodka on the rocks while watching "Barbershop 2," give a little toast to the man behind the ice cube -- Boston entrepreneur Frederic "the Ice King" Tudor. In the 19th century, Tudor bought dozens of New England ponds. Then, during the winter, he chopped the water into enormous chunks and shipped it south. Tudor had a talent for PR (and mixology), which resulted in a booming ice-trade business and an iced-drink trend that spread throughout the world.
Igloo: A handy how-to guide to building an igloo: Kill a seal. (I'm not endorsing it; I'm just reporting the facts.) For a pimped-out arctic pad, you'll need a seal's intestines for the window and sealskin for the entrance flap. Arrange your ice blocks (each one should be 2 feet by 4 feet by 8 inches) in a circle, then shave off their tops at a sloping angle. Add additional blocks until the dome is finished. Sit, shiver, enjoy!
Ice hockey: The first indoor ice hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875 by a bunch of students from McGill University. At the time, a newspaper reported that "shins and heads were battered, benches smashed, and the lady spectators fled in confusion." These days -- thank god -- the ladies are no longer confused.
A.J., feel free to ice me down a little more...