Friday, October 29, 2010

Various and Sundries

Good news! You can call your kids from Mount Everest now. That's exciting, but I have one teensy, weensy issue: I still can't call my dispatcher on the long, dead stretch of highway between Raith and Upsala. Or the longer, deader stretch between Upsala and English River. Somehow, life just isn't fair.

Not only does Mount Everest have cell service, it has 3G cell service. That's incredibly and amazingly wonderful, awesome, and inspiring . . . except that I have no clue what 3G cell service is, or at least I didn't until I went to Wikipedia and found out that it's third generation cell service . . . which I guess means that my grand kids should use it . . . except I don't have any grand kids. Um, yeah, anyway, congrats to all you 1400 annual hikers, and sorry to all you 2500 folks that drive through Upsala every day.


If a trip to the Dominican Republic appeals to you, check out Dave Carroll's site (you remember . . . the United Breaks Guitars, and Everyday Heroes guy). More accurately, if you know an emergency responder that would enjoy a trip to Dominican, go to Dave's site and write a story about them. They might win the trip, not you.

Speaking of Dave, I had this brilliant idea that he could do a witty music video about volunteer firefighters. You know, something about calendar fundraisers where people toss toonies at you in the Canadian Tire foyer like you're a street beggar, or firefighters trying to phone their dispatcher on that dead stretch between Raith and Upsala . . . while some over-funded rich kid talks to his mom from the tippy top of Mount Everest (do I detect a little bitterness here?).

I waxed bold and sent Dave an email, and was pleasantly flattered that he emailed back right away. Being a nice person, he said the idea would be fun. Being a realistic person, he also said that he was very busy with the Everyday Heroes project, but would keep it in mind for the future.

My brothers and I like to jam around on guitars and banjos and mandolins . . . maybe we could do the video ourselves . . . . except that it might be hard to fit Raith and street beggars and dead spots and Mount Everest all into the lyrics of a song about volunteer firefighters. And the clincher . . . we don't know how to make a music video that anyone would want to listen to. I guess we'll just have to hold out for Dave.


The BC economy is facing a possible crisis: California will hold a vote in a few days on legalizing marijuana. If it passes, it could cost BC 20,000 jobs. Hmmmm. Legalizing an illegal drug in the US will severely impact a legitimate Canadian province because this illegal drug is BC's biggest cash crop. I'm not sure why, but this seems as odd as the rich kid phoning his mom from the top of Mount Everest while volunteer firefighters play street beggar at Canadian Tire. I'd almost say lets grow pot as a fundraiser, except that the bottom is going to fall out of the market.

I'm just kidding. Don't call the cops.


Paul Combs has a new cartoon out. I'd like to be addicted to federal grants, but money has to be injected into the bloodstream of the fire service for the narcotic to take hold . . . and so far they are shooting up everyone else under the sun, like the Mount Everest cell phone brats . . . not that rant again.


Pittgirl from That's Church tried out firefighting for an evening. You can check out the story here and here.


I love it when talented people do stuff that draws attention to the fire service.


Another recipe: Roast Greek Tomato Chicken
  • Ponder your dislike for dry white meat. If you like dry white meat, find another recipe.
  • Find three chickens in the freezer and decide that's two too many.
  • Thaw the one of chickens. Alternately, you can just use a fresh whole chicken.
  • Separate the skin from the breast. Don't tear the skin.
  • Chop a plum tomato and mix it with a couple tablespoons of Greek and feta dressing (any oil and vinegar dressing should work . . . but then it won't be Greek tomato chicken).
  • Stuff the tomato/dressing mixture between the skin and the chicken breast.
  • Pin the skin back together with toothpicks because you didn't follow step 3 very well.
  • Rewind to step one and set the oven to 475 degrees.
  • Put salt, pepper, and garlic on the chicken.
  • Put the chicken in a roaster pan and roast for ten minutes without a lid.
  • Keep an eye on the chicken. If the top of the breast looks like it's burning, it probably is.
  • Side note: at this point your smoke alarm may go off. If it does, push the hush button. If it doesn't, check the battery. If the battery is dead change it (this is a firefighting blog, not a cooking blog, you know).
  • After ten minutes (sooner if it's burning) cool the oven to 325 and put the lid on the roaster.
  • Roast the chicken until it's done.
  • Carve the legs, then the breasts. If you carve the breasts carefully, the tomato stays in place.

Erinn said it was the moistest white meat ever.


I love blogging. Where else can you write a whole disjointed page of oddities and get away with it?

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's the Hurry?

People hate to stop. The common goal of the human race is to arrive ten minutes ago. Get in their way, or (shudder) stop them, and you find that hell hath no fury like a person delayed.

That's an overstatement. Not everyone will bite your head off if you park your fire truck in the middle of the road and tell them that they must wait until air ambulance lifts off before they can proceed. But there are folks that would drive right through the chopper's rotors if you'd let them.

I don't blame travellers for freaking out a little when they see red lights and a line of cars forming ahead. There are no alternate routes out here in the peripheral edge of the universe. If the crash is a fatal, that line of cars might be ten kilometres long before it starts moving again. But whether it's five hours or five minutes, people hate to stop.

This human aversion to delay is not confined to the Trans Canada Highway. It applies to everyday city life as well. In an effort to sell more calendars, we set up at the exit of Canadian Tire last Friday and tried our hand at huckstering. I didn't do a formal survey, but I'd say 80-90 percent viewed our mercantile road block as a bothersome hindrance to the mission of arriving ten minutes ago.

Side note 1: In case you were wondering, 'huckstering' is indeed a word. At least, Blogger spellcheck says it's a word, so it must be.

Add 'salesman' to the list of things at which I am not good, along with inspector and investigator. Fortunately, Neebing Fire Department contributed a top notch huckster (I mean salesman) to the effort. If I had been alone, it would have gone something like this:

"Excuse me sir," [who is trying to whisk by without making eye contact] "You wouldn't want to have pity on a poor fish-out-of-water like me and buy one of these $20 calendars, would you?" Then, [to the back of the guy's head as he vanishes into the parking lot] "I didn't think so. $20 does seem like rip off for a measly calendar . . . but when you consider the good cause . . . Excuse me ma'am, you wouldn't want to have pity . . ."

Instead, it went like this:

"You sir! You'd love to support your local volunteer firefighters, wouldn't you? And what a deal it is . . . a raffle ticket for $2 or a calendar for $20. Or . . . [in a confidential tone] we'll give you a special deal . . . both a ticket and a calendar for $22 . . ."

The calendar crusade continues on the 30th. Armed with this new revelation that people don't like to stop, we'll lay spike belts this time. That should at least slow 'em down.

Side note 2: The fact that an emergency service resorted to hawking calendars for money somehow seems ethically wrong. When is the last time you saw a cop hawking calendars for a new pistol? I feel an article coming on. Oh, and by the way, I was kidding about the spike belts.

On the semi-related topic of customer satisfaction, here's a video worth watching.

You can check out Dave Carroll's whole trilogy of "United Breaks Guitars" here. For one of my customer service stories, click here. When you are done, check out the next video, which is Dave's tribute to emergency responders.

BTW, Dave served as a volunteer firefighter, which makes him a great person as well as a great musician.

I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found a politician who was willing to provide tangible support to the volunteer fire service. Finding a talented musician is even better. People actually listen to musicians. Now if Dave could just be persuaded to do a music video about volunteer firefighters having to sell calendars (and running bingos, and raffles, and bake sales, and car washes), we might actually get people to stop and listen.

At least for a minute or two.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simply complicated

My Twitter gadget is broken. At least that's what Blogspot tells me. I feel very Internetishly incompetent. Everyone else has cool buttons that work when you click. I have links and pictures and windows, but very few buttons. Now I have one less, because Blogspot recommended I delete my Twitter button because it was broken.

When I clicked the "why-is-my-gadget-broken" link, Blogspot told me that I was a stupid cyberly illiterate caveman, and don't blame them for the broken gadget. It didn't exactly use those words, but whatever it said in Internetese only heightened my virtual insecurity. You can read about my other widget woes here. So for now, if you want to follow me on Twitter, you have to do it the hard way. Go there and search for Beebewitz. [update: I found a couple of Twitter buttons that acually work, so now you can follow me AND tweet my posts. At least until the buttons break again]

Side note 1: I think it was really the cyber gremlins that broke the gadget, but Blogspot won't likely acknowledge that possibility.

Side note 2: if you are a spelling freak, you may find lots of misspellings in this blog. I used so many non-words that I may have missed a few accidental misspellings while sorting through the spell check.

A word of advice. When the instructions say a process takes only "a few easy steps," . . . . beware. This is true in the real world as well at the virtual one. Take the infamous ink cartridge for example. The instructions say filling them is a piece of cake . . . a walk in the park . . . as easy as installing a Twitter gadget on your blog. I could sue for false advertising.

After years of trial and error (more error than trial) I filled an ink cartridge today. By now you'd think I would know to don a full hazmat suit before cracking open a bottle of that deadly stuff. The white bathroom counter looked like an American flag that ran through a meat grinder. The only reason there wasn't yellow mixed with the cyan and magenta was that the cartridge didn't need yellow. I did win in the end, but only after prolonged and deadly battle.

Speaking of Twitter, I'm still trying to figure out what it's all about. Facebook is more my speed . . . find friends, invite them, and enjoy a nice, ambiguously virtual relationship. It doesn't require talking, and links easily to my blog. And it is friendly even to members of IIA (Internet Illiterates Anonymous). The perfect social networking experience for the virtually challenged.

Social networking is like an Internet Amway. Making friends is like buying and selling. You get to know the products (or people), and purchase (or friend) the ones that suit you. That's Facebook, Amway style. Twitter, on the other hand, focusses on following, which is like sponsoring . . . where the real bang for the buck comes. It's like an Amway where no one cares about the product, but everyone wants to earn capital by following, and especially being followed . . . . which is like sponsoring. Being followed is the key to Twitter success.

I'm sort of getting the hang of it, I think. I take excursions into Twitterland, which are more like marathons of reading through hundreds of tweets that make no virtual or unvirtual sense to me. I finally find one that turns my crank and click follow. If I was looking for a get rich quick scheme, Twitter is not the answer. Come to think of it, Amway never turned my crank either.

I'm not giving up on Twitter just yet. Those eight followers were hard won. Well, at least a couple of them were. And you never know, I might just hit the jackpot someday.

On a happier, more successful note, check out the "popular posts" section at the bottom of the page. It lists my ten most viewed posts to date. The links work, and it only took a few easy steps to set up. Really.

I love the Internet. Sometimes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Plan

The Plan: Appear at Queens Park with this demand: "Budget a few hundred million for volunteer firefighters (you yahoos) or my henchmen will vote you out faster than you can say HST."

The Problem: every politician knows that my "henchmen" are imaginary. And even if by some miracle I could rally to the cause every acquaintance I know, our united front would be about as scary as a herd of rabbits picketing the local wolves' den.

Side note 1: I probably wouldn't actually call them 'yahoos.' I'd just think it . . . which is equally rude, but less satisfying.


Erinn visited the fire hall the other day. She eyed my office and said, "Promise you'll hire a cleaning person for our house if I ever drop dead." I can see her point. I don't want my kids living in between a conglomerated scramble of boxes, books, folders, and unfinished paperwork either. So, I promised.

Every messy person has an excuse. Here's mine: I'd do better if the evil anti-volunteer syndicates didn't take up so much of my time. But Erinn doesn't understand that. Or maybe she does understand, and knows that they will always take up my time, and therefore I won't ever be a tidy, organized person.

Besides, tidy, organized people are less efficient and less productive. Honest. I read it on the Internet, so it has to be true. Here's proof. And did you know that penicillin would never have been discovered if Alexander Fleming hadn't been a messy person that left an old, mouldy Petri dish laying around?

I love the Internet.


Our venerated leaders know that the volunteer service isn't a voters' Garden of Eden that bursts with political support, so they pause for a few seconds to thank us for saving Ontario a billion dollars, and then gallop off to greener pastures like health care and unemployment and homelessness.

So here's Plan B. Instead of calling them yahoos, lets threaten that the greener pastures will dry up if they ignore us. Health care will languish because of dwindling first responders. Unemployment will soar because of damages to business establishments, due to insufficient firefighters. Homelessness will increase because more houses will burn down.

The only problem is that the politicians will want facts. Darn.


I'm not a totally hopeless slob, you know. I do wash the trucks once in a while, and sweep the floors occasionally. And a few times a year, I attack the clutter in my office with the fervor of a Tasmanian Devil on a caffeine high. I just have other priorities that cut in on the time I allot for janitorial and organizational duties.

And did you know that tidy, organized people are less efficient . . . um, I used that argument already.


Moving on to Plan C . . . I could concede that health care and unemployment and homelessness are indeed valid issues that require lots of money. I could acknowledge that our country owes gazillions of dollars to the Chinese (who don't care a fig about volunteer firefighters). Instead of threats, I could talk to my local MP like the civil, semi-organized person that I am, and educate him on the issues we face, and maybe, just maybe he'll try to help. He might tell me that the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is lobbying for a $3000 tax credit for volunteer firefighters, and he'll see if he can light a fire (figuratively) under someone to get the legislation moving.

Side note 2: Go to the above link or click here for a page that will give you the opportunity to support this initiative. It won't cost you anything but a few minutes.

He might even say that he'll work on a private member's bill in support of volunteer firefighters at the federal level. He won't offer much hope that it will be passed, but he'll say that it will at least bring the issue to the forefront and possibly lay ground work for a successful bill in the future. And he'll definitely say that I should go after those provincial politicians as well (who are not of his party) and hold them to account. They are the ones that have the real ability to help.

For the record, I did have the above conversation with MP John Rafferty, along with several other fire chiefs. While the outcome wasn't a cheque in the volunteer bank, it was at least more productive than calling all politicians yahoos. I think.

MPP Bill Mauro is next on the list, but I haven't been able to secure a meeting with him yet. He's probably busy dealing with health care and unemployment and homelessness. I may have to work on a Plan D.

To finish this unorganized post, my latest article for Fire and EMS Quarterly is available over at Firefighting in Canada. Click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Game

Choosing between an honest politician and a self-centred one should be a no-brainer. I think. Except that sometimes the honest politician can't deliver, no matter how noble the cause. And sometimes the self-centred politician can deliver, no matter how selfish his motives. All you have to do is convince him that your cause will get him reelected, and your wish is his command.

That's why I'm no good at political mind games. I'd still pick the honest politician, just because.

By the way, if you wonder who these honest or self-centred politicians are, wonder on, because I don't know either. No one does. Not that it matters much. Politics is a convoluted, contorted labyrinth of hidden agendas, ulterior motives, and mystifying power plays that have little to do with right and wrong. Put simply, it's complicated . . . and I don't do complicated.

Politics is like money. It's a necessary evil. Someone has to run the country, and that "someone" happens to be the guy or gal that we elected. The one that convinced us that they could be our genie in the bottle.

Until a month or so ago, my subconscious attitude was that politicians were a luxury we could live without. We could fire the whole lot and never miss a beat, except for the terrible quandary of figuring out what to do with all the money we saved. Everyone else in the world already knew the awful truth that our flawed democratic system was better than the alternatives of outright anarchy or dictatorship. But the price of democracy is a shenanigans game that can be goofier than a barrel full of monkeys. The bottom line is that you must play the game if you want to get anything from our government. Ugh.

Side note: The Canadians elected Harper, who we don't like. The Americans (or more properly, United Statesians) wish they hadn't elected Obama, who they do like. Such is the conundrum of politics.

When I'm King of the World, I will simplify things. Are you a small-time chief of a volunteer fire department? Do the mice in your hall outnumber the firefighters? Just tell me what you need, and I'll wave my magical King-of-the-World sceptre. Trucks and equipment and cash will appear. People will line up at your door, begging to volunteer. And after the dust settles, we'll all have pie in the sky for dessert.

But I'm not King of the World. And even if I was, some complicated politician would weasel his way in as my Chief Commissioner, or Lord High Vizier, or whatever kings of the world call the guys that manage their affairs. And undoubtedly this guy would be a wet blanket that would urge me to spend the national treasury sensibly on mundane things like education and health care, leaving only crumbs for the volunteer firefighters. And things would be about the same as they are now.

It's time for us firefighters to shed our distaste for things political like a snake sheds its skin, or a politician sheds his promises after the election. We must learn to play the game, especially since my bid to become King of the World is about as solid as a mouse running for king of the beasts. We must show our politicians that it is in their interest to look out for our interests. If we can't do that, we must at least hoodwink them into believing it is . . . because our interests truly are our citizens interests. And promoting our citizens' interests is the whole reason we started this game of democratic representation.

At least I think it is.

Monday, October 11, 2010

kinetic thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn't just a day to my family. It's a three-day weekend into which we try to cram as much kinetically frenzied activity as possible before collapsing in a heap on Monday night.

Side note: For the thousands and millions of American readers who are wondering why I'm talking about Thanksgiving in October, today is indeed Canadian Thanksgiving. Yep, that's right. We eat our turkeys in October. You can read why here.

Friday evening, Phillip and I went for a ramble in the bush to hunt grouse. Grouse hunting is a sensible way to break into a busy weekend. You get to enjoy the bush without having to exert yourself too much. Grouse are usually smart enough to keep an alder or tree between them and the hunter. They're also dumb enough to think an alder or tree will keep them safe . . . unless you spook them, then they fly. Hunting grouse involves a controlled, careful type of walking that is just perfect for enjoying a fall evening, but not strenuous enough to to be considered exercise. Our hunt was semi successful. Phillip shot one and spooked another. That was Friday evening.

Saturday, I chainsawed a door out of logs for the cabin the boys built last spring. Chainsawing doors into existence is definitely considered exercise, by the way. The cabin now has four complete walls, a mostly completed door, half a window, and 99% of a roof. Not quite ready for winter, but getting there. As a bonus, Phillip shot another grouse that happened to wander along at just the wrong time. We got home in time to help cook a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for a passel of Phillip's friends. Then we watched the Leafs whip the Senators 5-1. That was Saturday.

Sunday we took the same passel of friends on a hunting/fishing combo hike through the bush to a lake that was one of my favourite hangouts as a teenager. Hiking through a mile of fields and forest, and slogging through half mile of spongy swamp to a boreal paradise is definitely considered exercise too. On the way, Phillip spooked two more grouse. At the lake we built a campfire, roasted marshmallows and bannock, and pretended to fish for a while. I say "pretended" because if we had really been fishing, we would really have caught something. Really.

Here's one of the pretend fishing expeditions.

And here's Vanessa enjoying a piece of Canadian Shield.

And here's a very real, and quite traditional marshmallow roast (also on the Canadian Shield - I didn't want to write a campfire-turned-into-forest-fire blog entry).

After the hike, we went to my brother's place for another campfire, this time with bannock, marshmallows and hot dogs. And stories. Lots of old (and mostly true) trapline stories from our reckless younger years. And that was Sunday.

Today, which is the real Thanksgiving Day, we celebrated by sleeping in until 11:00, then eating lots of homemade waffles with wild blueberry sauce. Erinn is now reading her book. Vanessa (who is industrious) finished her homework and went out to play. Phillip (who is usually industrious) stated he was going to do his homework, them promptly fell asleep in the armchair with the dog in his lap. Too much kinetic pre-Thanksgiving fun I guess. And I'm sort of blogging. Not real blogging, where I grapple with the titanic forces of evil that align themselves against volunteer firefighters. Not even semi real blogging, where I tell you about our peripheral edge of the universe fire department. This is holiday blogging.

Lest you think that we are hopelessly untraditional, or even sacrilegious, I haste to assure you that we will enjoy a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving dinner this evening with my parents and lots of friends.

And that will be Monday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fire Prevention Week

It's Fire Prevention Week. Chances are you knew that already, but I had to say it as a kind of due diligence, do-my-duty, tell-the-world-to-be safe, firefighter public education thing.

Usually around this time of year, we get a proclamation in the mail that uses a lot of fancy words like "Queen Elizabeth the Second" and "Commonwealth" and "Right Trusty and Well Beloved," along with excessive use of the word "Whereas." All that rhetoric to say (in common English), "Dudes! Listen to the firefighters and be fire-safe, at least for a week, will ya!" You can read a really and truly authentic Fire Prevention Week Proclamation here.

With that piece of semi useless trivia out of the way, I can tell you that Fire Prevention Week is one of my favourite times of the year. I could spend the rest of this post telling you how much fun I'm having visiting schools and doing public education, but I decided to issue my own proclamation instead:
  • WHEREAS I did such a good job last year telling you about my Fire Prevention Week activities
  • AND WHEREAS my 2010 Fire Prevention Week activities aren't a lot different than my 2009 activities
  • AND WHEREAS I don't want to bore you with unnecessary details
  • AND WHEREAS I have a perfectly good link to last year's post right here . . .
. . . I will refrain from telling the story all over again.
Ironically, the following headline hit the news this week of all weeks: Firefighters Watch as Home Burns to the Ground. That's pretty lousy publicity for an organization that enjoys a reputation for selflessness and dedication. Public opinion, however, is skewed by misconceptions. It's like looking at your hand under water - you sort of see it but you sort of don't.

I have sympathy pains for the good folk of South Fulton, Tennessee, because Upsala is an island of fire protected area in a vast sea of unprotected no-man's land, populated by moose and bears (who rarely need us) and cottagers and loggers and travelers, (that regularly need us). Sometimes we go to these out-of-bounds incidents, and sometimes we decline. In our case, it's largely about timing and location. There isn't much point in driving thirty or forty minutes to put water on some ashes, especially if it's winter and the fire won't spread. On the other hand, we've driven a couple hours to perform a vehicle rescue.

Money is another issue. Our local residents pay for service. Their insurance companies know that they pay for fire protection, and offer them a rate based on our rural suppression capability. If our units are in Timbuktu fighting someone else's fire, and a house burns in our response area, the insurance company will likely request a friendly meeting in court to exchange accusations for cash. So every time the pager goes off for a fire or crash outside our response area, we have to make a decision based on the skimpy information provided to us: Can we get there in time to do some good? What will happen if we don't go? Do we have enough firefighters to leave someone home in case Armageddon happens while we're gone? I wrote an article about one such call which you can read here, along with my logically radical solution to fix the chronic dilemma we face.

As always, I have an opinion about controversial subjects like firefighters standing by while the house burns. Apparently, so does the rest of the world, including the fire service, the town council, the neighbours, and the stray dog on the corner. My opinion isn't a lot better than the rest though, since I am looking through the same twisted fish-eye lens as the others. Suffice it to say that when we do fight a fire outside our area, the owner - or owner's insurance company - gets a bill for the service. Which is sometimes paid, and sometimes not. And you know how much I don't like to think about money.

BTW, you can read Billy G's take on the story here (scroll down to the second story).
All this talk about boundaries and liabilities and billing makes my head hurt. Firefighters are supposed to come when you call, do their job, shake your hand, and go home (in between visits to the school for Fire Prevention Week).

Someday when I'm King of the World, things will be different.

Friday, October 1, 2010

various and sundries

I was going to write about a difficult extrication that we did the other day, but decided it would be too much like writing a report. Besides, I like to make fun of stuff, and there is no humour in a vehicle crash, even when both occupants live to tell about it.

As a sort of consolation prize, I tried to find a driver safety site that at least made me smile, but no luck. I had to settle for the good, solid, information site at Transport Canada written in true non-humorous bureaucratic style. Check it out and drive safe.

Then I thought I'd write about irate bureaucrats that shoot nasty shotgun letters at delinquent fire chiefs. Unlike vehicle crashes, bureaucrats are easy to make fun of, but since I was marginally delinquent myself, I decided to refrain . . . for once.

[side note: a shotgun letter is what you write when you are mad at so many delinquent chiefs that you could never possibly write them all individually, so you send one, big, ambiguous shotgun letter, and hope to put at least a few pellets in each target].

I was going to insert a pirated clipart image of an irate bureaucrat here, but decided that I had already pushed the limit of honest society with my chiefly delinquency, which was enough reprobate behaviour for one week. You can see some of my very own, non-pirated cartoons of irate firefighters here and here. If you haven't seen my collection of pretend cartoons, click here.

Seeing that I can't write about vehicle crashes or bureaucrats, I'll write about the weather. It's always safe to poke fun at the weather gremlins, because they don't really exist. And it's safe to poke fun at the Farmers Almanac, because they never read my blog.

Last fall I challenged the venerable Almanackers with a counter-prediction. If you want to read about the one time I accurately predicted a whole winter's worth of weather, click here (and if you're really interested in reading last year's Beebewitz Weather commentary, click here and here and here). In fairness, the Almanac was uncannily accurate in predicting heavy snow for the eastern states. But their call for "bitterly cold and dry" weather for Ontario was about as accurate as my golf shot, which by the way, is duck-if-you-value-your-head innacurate.

This fall, I'm not feeling so bold, especially since I have a gut feeling that we can't possibly get two mild winters in a row. The Almanac seems to agree that this winter will be "normal," which is a nebulously safe prediction.

Now it's time to make fun of the weather gremlins, but I'm still not entirely sure they aren't watching over my shoulder, poised to snatch away this beautiful Indian Summer weather we're having, so I will desist and offer you a quaint, sappy fall photo taken behind my house a week or so ago.
Enjoy the weather, watch out for bureaucrats, and drive safe!

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