July 27, Monday - Korean War Armistice signed, 1953. Time has wings.

July 28, Tuesday - Beatrix Potter born, 1866. First singing telegram, 1933.July 29, Wednesday - Sts. Mary and Martha. N.Y. Yacht Club founded, 1844.

July 30, Thursday - Moon at apogee. Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, 1975. Emily Bronte born, 1818. Henry Ford born, 1863.

July 31, Friday - U.S. Patent Office listed first patent, 1790.

Aug. 1, Saturday - Lammas Day. Jerry Garcia born, 1942. Herman Melville born, 1819.

Aug. 2, Sunday - First street mailboxes, Boston and New York, 1858.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Is it true that Herman Melville changed the U.S. Navy's attitude about flogging?

- G.D., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Answer: Absolutely. Or rather, his novels did. While most literary sources will tell you that Herman Melville succeeded as a novelist only after his death in 1891, he was widely read for his early novels that depicted, in fictional form, his extensive travels in the South Seas.

He had shipped out on a whaler headed for what is now French Poly-nesia, lived among the cannibals for a time, then joined another ship and ended up in a Tahitian jail after an unsuccessful mutiny. Escaping from jail, he joined another whaler bound for Hawaii, and later, finding himself homesick for the States, he signed aboard a U.S. naval frigate as a seaman.

Back in the Northeast, Melville began his literary adventures with the "travel romances" of "Typee: a Peep at Polynesian Life" (1846) and soon after, "Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas" (1847) and "White Jacket or the World in a Man of War" (1850).

The latter of these detailed the abuses then common in the U.S. Navy's use of flogging as a shipboard punishment. While it's true that Moby Dick (1851) was considered a literary failure at the time and received some dismal reviews ("a huge dose of hyperbolic slang, maudlin sentimentalism and tragic-comic bubble and squeak," according to New Monthly Magazine), "White Jacket" was credited as a direct cause of the elimination of flogging in the U.S. Navy. American Quakers in the late 17th century had also begun local reforms against flogging in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which may have set the stage.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Inventions preceded patents, obviously, but can you name some inventions that preceded their uses by some years?

- K.L., Santa Fe, N.M.

Answer: In some cases, inventions evolved over time, making small improvements gradually until popularity increased. Certainly that was the case with the zipper, which you could say began as an invention in 1782 and didn't come into popularity until about 1838 when it was connected to Goodrich's rubber galoshes and found its name.

Antibiotics began in 1910 but became useful in about 1940. Frozen foods, by Birdseye, spanned from 1908 to 1923. Wartimes or scientific advancements were often factors. The heart pacemaker, in 1928, waited until about 1960 for the surgical advances to make it more practical.

The helicopter was invented in 1904 and considered useful in 1941, during wartime. Radar followed a similar course, beginning in 1904 also, and coming into usefulness about 1939. The radio was ready in 1890 and used in about 1914. Television waited even longer, spanning from 1884 to 1947.

Oddly, the cigarette lighter was invented before matches, but because it required powdered platinum, it wasn't considered prac-ti-cal. Rubber tires (1845) were invented before automobiles, but they were considered useful for bicycles.

Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Tell us again about that "cornscateous air." I think we may have it here, year-round.

-J.O., Seattle, Wash.

Answer: No, you don't. Cornscateous air isn't just wet, it's also humid, and Seattle has its cold spells, so you're wrong there. You may want to check the Old Farmer's Almanac chart telling you how to distinguish rain, drizzle or mist, however.

A moderate rain, for example, is 46 drops per square foot, per second, while a light rain is 26 and a drizzle is a mere 14. A mist has 2,510 drops per square foot per second, and a fog adds up to 6,264,000, if you care to count. The diameter of the drops diminishes, of course, from 1.60 millimeters in a moderate rain to. 01 millimeters in a fog. And the intensity, in inches per hour, also diminishes, from.15 for a moderate rain to.005 in a fog.

A cloudburst, in case you're wondering, has 113 drops per square foot, per second, at a diameter per drop of 2.85 millimeters and an intensity of 4 inches per hour. Now that's wet!

Cornscateous air, on the other hand, always occurs in July and signifies warm, damp air, good for ripening corn (as the name suggests), but potentially dangerous to those with a propensity for asthma, pneumonia or other respiratory problems. Stay dry!



This Week With The Old Farmer's Almanac

July 27 - August 2, 1998

Lammas Day, Aug. 1

How to Live Long

In our first Old Farmer's Almanac, published in 1792, Robert B. Thomas listed a few rules for longevity. Not unlike modern-day prescriptions for good health, they included: Live chastely, if you wish to live long. Eat to live, not to satiety. A good constitution is the foundation of long life. The mind should be "sound and gay, yet sage withal." Keep the body in reasonable activity. Chew perfectly what you eat. In an extraordinary sweat, you should not, by any means, be uncovered. After coming out of bed, you should never look out of the window. You should eat very little of new fruit at a time.

Eat an apple going to bed, make the doctor beg his bread.

Tip of the Week

Apple cider vinegar with a little powdered brewer's yeast makes a good hair rinse.


1 pound bulk sausage

6 tart apples (`Granny Smith' or other baking apple)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Brown the sausage in a skillet. Wash the apples and cut off the tops. Remove the cores and hollow out the apples, leaving just a 1/2-inch thickness. Chop the removed apple flesh and mix with the browned sausage, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Fill the apples with the mixture, place into a baking dish, cover, and bake at 375 degrees F until tender, abut 40 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

The Older Farmer's Weather Proverbs

After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.

If the first week in August is unusually warm, the winter will be white and long.

August sunshine and bright nights ripen the grapes.

A wet August never brings dearth.