Tag Archives: Great White North

Has spring sprung early?

Permanent winter for a Moncton events centre?

It has begun; that time of the year when Stockholm syndrome grips a goodly number Canadian citizens. The signs are evident and everywhere.

Faces change from warm and friendly to feverish and intensely cheerful. Backs bow, arms curl into chests, legs shift from side to side, heads bob up and down and to and fro. And then, as sure as Jack Frost is a minor demon with a major purchase on the souls of northern climes, the speaking in all-but-frozen tongues commences.

“Isn’t it great to see winter back once again? Why, I’m invigorated. I just can’t wait to pull out the old snow shoes, stay up till three o’clock in the morning shoveling ice from the intake valves of my natural gas furnace. I mean, it just doesn’t get any better than this. . .Am I right, brother? No, really, am I right, am I right, am I right? Heeeeeee haaaaaaaw!”

To be clear, Stockholm syndrome is that condition which one source defines thusly: “It’s a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.”

It’s odd, perhaps, but to my knowledge, there’s no such thing as “San Jose syndrome” or “Florida Keys syndrome” or, heaven forbid, “Tahiti syndrome”. I guess the captives in those toasty, sunny locales are too busy sipping pina coladas to worry overmuch about the indignities they suffer at the warm hands of their captors’ beach-side massage therapists.

Poor saps. They know not what they’re missing in the “Arctic Riviera”: windburn, frostbite, couch-potatoitis, scrabble-mindlessness, cribbage-rot, and three-penny poker parlour games.

Up here in the Great White North, we know how to throw down a kitchen party when the mercury dips below the freezing point of iridium.

Now, naturally, the weather auguries declare that this winter will be one of the mildest and wettest on record in Southeastern New Brunswick. That simply means we take our card games outside as we rake the leaves of autumn in January. Oh what fun can we imagine in that eventuality?

We shall build great columns of maple keys, where once spirals of ice might have stood.

We shall garnish our hats with dead flowers from the garden, where once frozen carrots might have graced the noses of our snowmen in the sub-zero.

Under these conditions (say around March 14), the Stockholm syndrome will veer observably sideways.

“Isn’t it great to see spring back once again and so early this year? Why, I’m invigorated. I just can’t wait to pull out the old roots, stay up till three o’clock in the morning shoveling dirt into the new planting beds. I mean, it just doesn’t get any better than this. . .Am I right, brother? No, really, am I right, am I right, am I right? Heeeeeee haaaaaaaw!”

Over the past ten years, New Brunswick has endured federal faces that were both warm and friendly, both feverish and intensely cheerful. In the process, it has suffered the fools of office it elected to Ottawa.

Now, there are new gardeners in town, just in time for winter’s blanket of moody musing and discontent to fall. Now, though, there are new promises to keep, new vistas to explore.

Yes, it is great to see that political spring has sprung in Canada again after such a long political ice age of bleak despair for many.

Still, let’s remember in this new, ostensibly enlightened era that we, the people, are the captors of our own democracy; not the captives.

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Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. . .it’s winter out there


In late November of last year, when the mercury in Moncton peaked at 8 degrees (C), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued this report: “The epic lake effect event will be remembered as one of the most significant winter events in Buffalo’s snowy history. 

“Over five feet of snow fell over areas just east of (that city), with mere inches a few miles away to the north. There were 13 fatalities with this storm, hundreds of major roof collapses and structural failures, thousands of stranded motorists, and scattered food and gas shortages due to impassable roads. 

“Numerous trees also gave way due to the weight of the snow, causing isolated power outages. While this storm was impressive on its own, a second lake effect event on Nov. 19-20 dropped another one-to-four feet of snow over nearly the same area and compounded rescue and recovery efforts. 

“Storm totals from the two (systems) peaked at nearly seven feet, with many areas buried under three-to-four feet of dense snowpack by the end of the event.”

All of which is to say: Thank the Almighty New Brunswick is not yet upstate New York, where nordic skis and snow shoes will most certainly influence Manhattan’s annual Fashion Week this spring (assuming, of course, there is a spring).

I thought I made myself perfectly clear to the universe a few weeks ago when I wrote about a warm, rainy, green Christmas and how eminently copacetic I was about that fine result.

Now, daily, I contend with snowmotion alerts from my worthy colleagues at this newspaper and others, such as this one, yesterday, from intrepid reporter Eric Lewis:

“Who is winning in New Brunswick’s Great Snow War of 2015? Winning or losing depends on your perspective, of course. Do you win if you have the most snow or the least? That’s up to each individual, but there’s no shortage of frustration in the province after four storms have blasted the province over the last nine days. . .And it’s not over yet. ‘We continue to see a path of storms coming up and down the East Coast of the United States and heading into the Maritimes,’ AccuWeather meteorologist Mark Paquette told the Times & Transcript Tuesday morning. ‘And there’s nothing that’s going to make this pattern change.’”

Oh marvellous. That’s just fine.

Am I the only sap in this now not ironically named Great White North who finds the glinting, gleeful reports of weather forecasters, at this time of the year, profoundly irritating?

“Gosh, Mike, do you know what’s hitting the Maritimes this week. . .again?”

“Why, no Darlene, dooooo tell.”

“Well, Mike, you better get your Canada Goose parka on and your no-name- brand mukluks velcroed up, because it’s gonna be messy.”

“Gee, Darlene, how messy is it gonna get?”

“Well, Mike, as near as we can tell, 400 centimeters of the white stuff is gonna get dumped on Moncton, New Brunswick, within 36 hours of constant, howling, door-busting, roof-collapsing precip.

“Ha, ha. . .that’s great, Darlene. . .So what should people do?
“Oh. . .I don’t know. . .maybe buy a shovel or kiss their arses goodbye?”

“Ha, ha. . .you’re such a caution, Darlene.”

“See you next week, Mike. . .I’ll be reporting on rope swings from sunny Bermuda. . .Now that’s something you don’t see every day.”

As it happens, over the past week, I’ve been frantically googling Bermuda almost every day. Here’s what the official weather website imparts:

“Cooler conditions and decreasing winds into Wednesday as high pressure builds in from the northwest. Another frontal boundary begins to move into the area late Thursday, bringing showers and strong winds, with some gusts near gale force early Friday.”

Except, of course, the highs there are 21 (C), and the lows are 13 (C).

Our higher temperatures are -21 (C). And the lows here are near absolute zero (on Pluto). And still, somehow, it snows.

Again, though, it could be worse.

At least, we’re not upstate New York.

Trust me, the only thing worse than Buffalo in the wintertime is. . .well, Buffalo in the summertime, or, come to think of it, any time.

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