August has one redeeming feature: It is the silly season -- flying saucers and Man Bites Dog, unlikely festivals and parties to make people giggle.
Instead of a family reunion, look in the phone book and invite 10 other people who share your last name. A shared-name reunion might produce some new gastronomic experiences -- sans Aunt Louise's molded lime Jell-O -- not to mention a whole new batch of family tales.
Arrange a bird-watching party in Baltimore. There are still 25 games left on the Orioles schedule, and you can gather up a group of friends and head for Memorial Stadium to yell at the umpire and munch on hotdogs. Tickets are $8.50 for the lower boxes; $7.50, terrace and mezzanine; $6, upper mezzanine; $5.50, upper and lower reserved and $4.25 general admission. You can charge tickets by phone (621-4895) or buy from Ticketron offices at 1101 17th St. NW, and the Hecht Co. stores.
Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway into Baltimore. Signs marked Oriole Route will lead you to either Charles Street or Calvert and the stadium.
Take advantage of the fact that people eat less in hot weather by giving a small caviar party, the roe served, of course, with iced vodka. Sutton Place Gourmet, 3201 New Mexico Ave. NW. (363-5800) has fresh Russian salmon caviar at $4 an ounce. They stock fresh Russian Savurga at $15 an ounce, Russian Beluga at $28 an ounce and California golden caviar at $10 for 3 1/2 ounces or $20 for 7 ounces. If caviar is the only thing you're serving with the vodka, you can figure on about an ounce per person.
Restaurateur George Lang once gave an A to Z party. "I sent out invitations to 10 close friends for 26 dinners (one per month), each based on a letter of the alphabet . . . The first dinner, devoted to the letter A, included aperitifs (absinthe, aquavit), appetizers (amourettes a l'ancienne, aromatic cream of avocado accompanied by allumettes of anise) and apotheosis (Ayala champagne, apple of Apollo).
Lang writes that after B, the project was abandoned, but you could adopt his idea and give a dinner with a dish representing each letter of the alphabet. For instance, have an antipasto of anchovies, beans, celeriac, dill pickles, hard-boiled eggs, foie gras and green peppers. And onward through dinner and the alphabet.
U is the most difficult, although there is always Craig Claiborne's recipe for Ukranian borscht. Z is surprisingly easy: zucchini, zabaglione or Zinfandel.
Or you could cheat and serve alphabet soup.
The romantic beat-beat-beat of the tom-tom has been replaced by the beep-beep-beep of Pac-Man and other electronic games, and if it drives some people wild it entices others.
Games People Play, an amusement center at 7335 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, will rent you their back room with 26 all-you-can-play games for $75 an hour. The back room is limited to 30 guests, which is probably as many game-mad friends as most people have. If, however, you travel in circles where Pac-Man prevails, you can rent the entire arcade for $300 an hour, taking over 2,200 square feet containing 60 video games and six audio skee-ball lanes. If you take over the entire arcade, you can also arrange with the management to cater the party. Even Sillier
* Campfire songfest with everyone contributing the songs they loved to sing in the days of camp cots and weenie roasts. Make sure someone brings a harmonica.
* Pet show. Invite friends who own dogs, cats, rats and birds to compete in a show where the pets must complete a course to win.
* White elephant exchange. Everyone brings one item they're dying to get rid of. The catch: Everyone has to take something when they leave.
* Blindfolded beer-tasting party for friends who insist that Australian or Mexican beer is the best in the world. More and more liquor stores are carrying a wide range of imported beers. Some, like Berose Liquors at 1711 17th St. NW, (60 imported beers), are making a specialty of it.
Or how about watering down your guests (but never the drinks) for an August party? The ultimate gesture is in providing the kind of dunk tank you see at carnivals. Throw a softball at the target and, if you hit it, the person in the hot seat gets cooled off.
All Wet Dunk Tank Rental Co. will bring a portable dunk tank to your house, set it up, supply the hose to fill it (about 1 1/2 hours) and the soft balls. Charge: $119 for eight hours rental during the week, $139 on weekends, with an additional delivery charge outside the metropolitan area. Call 750-0850 and ask for Danny.