Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Summer is hanging on by a thread. A spindly, frayed thread that threatens to snap and bring autumn crashing down on us any moment now. We had our three days of summer last week . . . Erinn actually turned on the air conditioner for a few minutes . . . so I guess we have nothing to complain about. Think about all those poor penguins in Antarctica and count your blessings.

Summer was very timid about revealing herself this year, almost as if she was afraid of getting slapped up the side of the head with a snowstorm in July if she showed too much enthusiasm. So she kept her dancing partner (the sun) wrapped in clouds most of the season.

Or here is another allegorical interpretation: Summer snagged her basket of nice, hot weather on the Coastal Range, and dumped it all on British Columbia by accident. That would explain the rash of forest fires they've had this year.

Okay, enough of this loquacious, metaphorical blather. It's been a lousy summer in Northwestern Ontario. No, it didn't blizzard in July, but a few degrees cooler and it might have. As an eternal optimist, I keep telling people that we could get a spectacular fall as a consolation prize, but I know that is about as likely as a heat wave in November . . . not impossible, just highly unlikely.

I'm not much of a prophet, by the way. If I had lived in Old Testament days I would have been stoned to death long ago for unfulfilled predictions (the ancient equivalent of being sued for malpractice). I don't usually bother trying to predict the weather, unless I'm feeling eternally optimistic. I'll leave that to the Farmers Almanac. Click here to see their September forecast for Upsala. If I remember, I'll keep track and let you know how they did with the prediction. I suspect they count on people having short memories.

I tried to scientifically predict our call volume one time during a particularly busy August. Taking call stats from the previous five years, I determined which months had the highest number of calls. June and August came out on top, September and January at the bottom. Everything would have been fine if I hadn't opened my big mouth and told the crew to relax, things were going to calm down after Labour Day. That September, we had six vehicle crashes and two fires, a record for our sleepy little village. Luckily times and attitudes have changed in the past 3,000 years, and I didn't see anyone gathering stones, but I did damage my reputation as a prophetic statistician.

On a different note, for those of you that lie awake at night worrying about Big Brother dominating your lives, here's an article for you. Leave it to the firefighters to lead the charge to totalitarianism. And I thought we were the good guys.

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