We're having a heat wave, it's too darn hot, and the back of your neck is probably gettin' dirt and gritty. Which means you should take seriously precautions issued by the National Weather Service and others on heat safety, and limit exertions, get out of the sun, seek air conditioning and hydration to keep yourself, your kids and your pets safe during hot and humid weather.

In addition to cranking up the AC, here are some serious (and a few silly) suggestions for some fun ways to keep your cool.


Turn an ordinary fan into a DIY air conditioner with an ice-filled Styrofoam cooler and a couple of dryer vents (Google $8 Homemade Air Conditioner for YouTube instructions). Use a solar- or battery-powered fan for use on beach or camping trips.

Stick it to the heat

When it comes to cool-on-a-stick, there are plenty of Minnesota-made options. Smoothie-style fruity-and-creamy Jonny Pops are found at supermarkets nationwide. Icy, dairy-free St. Pops use local fruit for flavors such as strawberry cardamom and rhubarb elderflower, sold at the Mill City, Fulton and Kingfield farmers markets. La Michoacana Purépecha shops in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Eagan offer Mexican paletas in a dizzying array of flavors, from pineapple chile to watermelon. And the local king of chocolate-dipped pops is the Oreo ice cream Brrr Bar from Minneapolis' Sebastian Joe's

Music to chill by

Why not celebrate Christmas in July by asking Alexa to play some holiday music. What could chill you down faster than "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"?

Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside" may have fallen out of favor in recent years, but we still can't help liking the version of Miss Piggy singing it to a shirtless Rudolf Nureyev in a steam room, available on YouTube.

Or maybe chill out by watching the Jets from "West Side Story" urging each other to take it slow, daddy-O, and get "cool."

Hot and cold movies

Watch a movie whose winter setting reminds you that just a few months ago, we were cursing the snow and the ice.

The Coen Brothes' "Fargo" has scenes of endless snow-smothered fields. "The Thing," a 1982 movie set in the isolated expanse of Antartica, will made you glad you're not freezing in an unheated shack, worring that your housemates are infected with an alien parasite. Or you could be stranded in the arctic after your plane crashes and have to fight off polar bears as depicted in the recent Icelandic survival epic "Arctic."

For a more romantic deep freeze, huddle with Yuri and Lara, writing poetry in an ice-covered dacha in the "Dr. Zhivago."

Cold movies not working? Try some super-hot movies that remind you it could be worse. There's "Sunshine," a 2007 sci-fi flick about scientists who fly to the dying sun to restart it. (You might not know whether to root for their success) or "The Core," where scientists tunnel to the center of the earth to reboot the planet's molten core. It might be hot out, but it's not "molten core of liquid metal" hot. (That's next month.)

Pool your resources

Lakes and pools are likely to be crowded. Swim in your own back yard in a kiddie pool, slip-and-slide or get creative and pick up a stock tank.

Read all about it

Hang your hammock in the shade and transport yourself to the Arctic with "Smilla's Sense of Snow," the 1992 global bestseller by Danish author Peter Høeg, Barry Lopez' National Book Award-winning "Arctic Dreams," or Andrea Barrett's historical novel about Arctic exploration, "The Voyage of the Narwhal."

Spice it up

The mint, rosemary and other aromatic herbs growing like weeds in your garden can spice up your iced drinks — from lemonade to iced tea, mocktails or cocktails. Fill your glass to the brim with ice, and leave some room for a tasty garnish.