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It's hot -- and that's no joke

By Ed Payne, CNN
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Rising heat, record prices?
  • Jokes about the heat abound
  • Texas communities are more than a month into 100 degree temperatures
  • The Lone Star State has had record electricity use this week
  • Bears in Wisconsin cool off in a kiddie pool

(CNN) -- It's so hot that even the "It's so hot" jokes are getting overheated.

Around the water cooler, coworkers are straining to come up with new variations of the old standbys.

A sampling:

"It's so hot, cows are giving evaporated milk." -- Bob Waldrop of Birmingham, Alabama.

"It's so hot, Mother Nature has an approval rating lower than Congress" -- James Armstrong of Austin, Texas.

Even the kids are getting in on the act.

Nudists strip down to beat the heat
Beat the heat when exercising

"My daughter told me the other day that it was hotter than the devil's armpit," says Lynne McLaughlin of Marietta, Georgia.

Such is life these days in much of the United States, where sky-high temperatures show no signs of breaking any time soon, especially across the southern Plains.

Dallas marked its 34th straight day of temperatures above 100 degrees. That city has been getting a lot of attention for its hellish heat, but some smaller Texas cities have had it worse. Thursday was Waco's 35th straight day topping 100 degrees, and Tyler's 38th. The record for both Dallas and Waco is 42 consecutive days, set in 1980.

All three cities are forecast to top the century mark again on Friday.

Despite the searing temperatures, Texas broke a three-day string of record electricity demand Thursday.

"Electricity demand for Friday is expected to be lower ... but we are still asking consumers and businesses to conserve ... due to the unusually high demand and the increased risk of generation outages during these type of conditions," said Kent Saathoff with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's power grid.

Citing record-breaking electricity demand, the Public Utilities Company of Oklahoma urged users to decrease the amount of electricity they are consuming. It recommended setting thermostats to 80 degrees and postponing use of dishwashers, washers and driers.

Keeping cool comes at a premium in the midst of a scalding summer. Water parks and ice cream are popular, and relatively inexpensive ways to beat the heat.

Bryan Lane of the Pacific Northwest offers a more costly, although more permanent, solution: "Move to Seattle." Highs there this week have been in the 70s.

Even animals are looking for ways to stay cool. CNN iReporter Becky Draper of northern Wisconsin caught a family of bears taking a dip in a kiddie pool she puts out for her dog.

She said she can't blame them for taking advantage of it.

"Imagine what it would be like to don a heavy winter fur coat in sweltering hot summer weather; makes me sweat buckets just thinking about it," she said.

One thing's for sure. Most people are glad the weekend is here, meaning a two-day respite from braving the sweltering outdoors.

TGIF -- Thank God It's Fry Day.