Winter Is Cancelled Due To Lack Of Interest

Well, the groundhogs have spoken, and I choose to believe them even though their accuracy rate has only been about 37% in the past. (It’s still better than random chance, which is 33% according to an internet article I found… but then again, statistics are made up on the spot about 80% of the time.)

Still, we clever humans only manage to forecast the weather accurately about 40% of the time around here, so the groundhogs aren’t doing too badly.

You have to wonder about the science of weather prediction when a burrowing rodent is as likely to be right as a high-tech computer, but it’s really not the computer’s fault. In our crazy little microclimate around Calgary, our weather guys and gals can predict pretty much anything and get it both right and wrong in the same day. So why shouldn’t a groundhog have a go at it?

And speaking of ‘having a go at it’, I was disillusioned to discover that Groundhog Day isn’t the innocent G-rated celebration we’ve been led to believe. Nope, it’s all about sex. Apparently groundhogs aren’t taking their weather-related responsibilities seriously; they’re just scoping out the chicks. I feel so betrayed. *sigh*

Our two most famous Canadian groundhogs, Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, disagreed on whether we’re going to get more winter. Nova Scotia’s Sam says it’s over, and Ontario’s Willie insists otherwise. So if you live in Ontario, you’d better keep your willie warm – it’s gonna be nippy out there.

But we redneck westerners are instinctively suspicious of anything that comes out of Ontario. Them gummint folks ain’t to be trusted. In fact, if you scroll down to the ‘Death and further scandals’ section on Wiarton Willie’s Wiki (try saying that five times fast) you can see why we weally wonder about Willie.

So out here, we consulted our own oracle: Balzac Billy, AKA ‘The Prairie Prognosticator’.

Balzac is a small town just north of Calgary, and for those of you who are thinking, “Wait a minute; groundhogs don’t live around there”, well… you’re right. Balzac Billy is a guy in a groundhog suit.

Which raises a few unwholesome questions if you consider the rodents’ true motivation for leaving their burrows; but what the hell. The search for female company will bring most males out of their burrows. If a guy can attract the ladies despite being dressed as a giant rodent, more power to him.

But back to the weather forecast. Billy agreed with Sam: Winter is over here. And I think he may be right – winter never really got started this year (unless you count the snow we had last August, but we’re trying to forget that).

And anyhow, even if Billy and Sam are wrong, it could be worse. Winnipeg’s groundhog died last week, so it looks as though they’re stuck with winter forevermore. At least they’re used to it out there.

And groundhogs or not, we still have Environment Canada to give us all a healthy dose of delusional dreams.

What’s the weather like where you are?

60 thoughts on “Winter Is Cancelled Due To Lack Of Interest

  1. All about sex? Oh, dear. There goes another childhood illusion. Incidentally, on the subjects of statistics and groundhogs, I remember reading somewhere that the number of men who love the movie Groundhog Day is much higher than the number of women who do so. I wonder if it’s true. Certainly, I love the movie and my wife thinks it’s a snore fest, but a sample size of two doesn’t prove very much.


    • I’ll lend one vote to your statistics on women’s reactions to Ground Hog Day, BunKaryudo. I was prepared to hate the movie, since the premis seemed tedious and boring and I’m not a huge fan of slapstick, and thought Bill Murrey to be lacking any handsome qualities expected in a lead romance character. I totally loved the movie and found the character Murrey played to be very appealing. In fact, he is the only actor who starred in my own lusty dream some months later.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Our weather here is, and always is, unpredictable. We get cold and wet, warm and wet, windy…..and wet! The humidity here always affects the temps. Fall and Spring are the best of course. Groundhog Day never means that much to the Gulf South. Just another rodent that I’m sure some would like to BBQ! (ewww) I’ve lived in snow places and liked it for a while. Long term would be different tho.
    So happy with the progress chart! My drool is starting up again the closer it gets to the finish! (2 tissue packs a day now, LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

    • BBQ’d rodent – yum! ;-p Usually it’s dry, dry, dry here, but we’ve had an unusually humid winter… until last week. Now the chinook has rolled in and we’re turning into crispy critters again.

      And I had a good writing week! I actually thought I might be finished the draft by this weekend, but… not quite. Maybe next weekend. Cover, blurb, and release date coming soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A number of groundhog articles appeared in my Facebook news feed this past week. The usual moron commenters moaning about why people trust a rodent to predict weather but refuse to believe scientists. As you point out, the rodent is right just as often.
    We still have lots of snow left from our massive blizzard of a couple weeks ago even though the temps are in the low pluses every day. The ice is deadly to walk on and I do the Tim Conway shuffle to stay upright.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “The Tim Conway shuffle” – a classic I’d almost forgotten! I’ve been doing the penguin-walk, too. Our cul-de-sac looks like a very poorly leveled skating rink – lumpy, shiny, and deadly. I got some of those anti-slip soles you strap onto your boots and they’re the only thing that have kept me upright. I feel like a bit of an idiot strapping them on just to walk twenty paces to the sidewalk, but I’d feel like even more of an idiot lying in the middle of the cul-de-sac with a broken leg while my ice-grips languished in the closet.

      Liked by 2 people

      • WEAR THOSE GRIPPERS!! Several years ago, wife’s uncle slipped on the ice on a sidewalk in his back yard. His wife had just left to go somewhere and was gone for four hours. He broke his hip in the fall, and his cell phone was in the house. He yelled till he was hoarse, but all the neighbors were in their homes all toasty warm during the icy weather.

        Bottom line, he froze to the sidewalk and stayed there for half an hour after his wife got back. She thought he was in the bedroom taking a nap.

        Pneumonia, a lengthy stay in the hospital, and a long time in rehab thereafter. Wear the grippers, thithter. Wear them in good health.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s horrible! A friend of mine fell on the ice a couple of years ago and shattered her leg – fifteen breaks in all. She’s still recovering (far better than they expected, actually – they said she’d never walk again, and last I saw her she was making her third consecutive lap around a quarter-mile track).

          But I wouldn’t have any problem with being discovered in a timely fashion here – I’d be more likely to be run over by a car slithering down the hill within a few minutes of falling. I’m don’t know if that’s comforting or not. (I’ll wear the ice-grips – I don’t need to find out.)

          Liked by 2 people

          • She broke her leg in fifteen places from falling on the ice? From what, the top of a skyscraper?? Holey bovines, that’s terrible!

            Next time you see her, tell her I said congratulations for that “IN YER FACE!!” she gave the doctors! Good job, that. Then tell her to wear her grippers, too! 🙂


  4. Last weekend we got walloped here in NS with a big snowstorm, on Thursday it was 11C and the green grass was showing all around, all around … tonight we’re hosting freezing rain/ice pellets/snow. And wind. Winter is a fickle thing here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well if anyone is missing winter, please feel free to travel to the lovely Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where we were “gifted” with about 8 inches of white crap yesterday. Today’s temps are starting at 11 degrees F, or as my husband’s nephew used to say “a tiddly bit nipply”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Beth, I wondered if there were any others from the Twin Cities as nuts for Diane’s work as I am. For me , it wasn’t the cold or even the 8 inches of snow- after all it wasn’t heavy snow, it was the traffic headache. My work closed early and I headed home shortly after one. My commute takes 35 minutes if I am not driving at rush hour, yet it took about two hours to get home a week ago. Then there are all the scheduling snarls to sort out to make up the time lost. Yet it could be worse. I had a memorable Christmas visit in Portland OR a few years ago during the worst ice storm I have ever seen. No travel was allowed for days. Last minute shopping couldn’t happen, and all the churches cancelled Christmas services. It was calm and cozy to eliminate all the rushing around.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Pacific Northwest isn’t known for its sunny winter days and that’s a good thing. We wouldn’t want to lie now would we? As usual, it’s raining in Portland/Vancouver Metro area, but it is not so cold we have snow and ice, another good thing. I’m the lucky one in my neighborhood because I’m leaving the great state of Washington and moving to sunny Peoria, Arizona. (Just NW of Phoenix). YEAH

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a lovely holiday in Tucson a couple of years ago. It’s dry here in Calgary, but I learned what DRY really meant when I was down there. Still, it was a treat to see a weather forecast that said 0% chance of precipitation. That just never happens here.

      Good luck with your move!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s a balmy 80 degrees here in Lakeland, Florida Diane. I’ve never been to Canada. Left New York due to awful winters. Don’t own a coat or boots, just gloves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that sounds fabulous! I’ve only been to Florida once, and I’ve never been so cold in my life. Just my luck, there was some freak weather event and the temperature was down to freezing (and of course we only had light jackets with us). With the humidity down there, it felt far colder than -30 up here on the prairies.

      But 80 degrees… *wistful sigh* 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Twain once said that the coldest winter he ever experienced was at San Francisco…in the summer. 🙂

        I’ve been to Florida a couple of times in the summer. San Francisco, too. Mr. Twain was correct, if a bit understated. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to fess, I was only half paying attention to the title and thought it said writer cancelled due to lack of interest
    But I was wrong

    The weather here is a tad windy, both inside and out hehe

    We haven’t really had any snow this year, and its meant to get rainy this weekend oh joy

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The weather’s weird around here, Diane. It’s always weird.A few days ago, another storm blew across the country. It missed us here in this part of Cheshire. It was warm the other day. Today we have hail. The thing about having so many different types of weather in a day means the forecasters here are bound to get it right… however briefly…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that the truth? I feel sorry for them sometimes, having to keep straight faces while they tell us what to expect. They must finish up each newscast and laugh themselves silly… or else drag themselves off to the pub to drown their sorrows.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In all fairness to them though, they have got slightly better. Years ago, one of our forecasters ridiculed a viewer who called in asking if the rumours they’d heard about a forthcoming hurricane were true. That night, half of the country was devastated by a terrible storm – so bad that over half of the seven oaks (where the town Sevenoaks got it’s name) were destroyed. I think they’s practiced caution since then…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Exactly. As the old saying goes, he who laughs last…didn’t get it the first time.

          Years ago, we lived in a tiny little town near the Panhandle. The National Weather Service said we had a 20% percent chance of rain. We got nine inches in four hours. Flooded the town, washed bridges away, rural roads washed out and turned into canals. It took a year to get things back together again.

          So, naturally, a year later, almost to the day, it happened again. Twenty per cent chance of rain in the forecast, and we got another nine inches in four hours. The new bridges held, the new roads mostly held, but it washed out another whole set of bridges and roads.

          It got to be the standing joke. When anyone heard 20% chance of rain on the TV weather, everyone got this little nervous laugh and started looking out doors and windows at the sky. One of the TV station weather guys quit saying 20% chance, even when that’s what it was. He’d say fifteen or twenty-five.

          But nobody had the nerve to say, “Cloudy, with a chance of making stuff up.” I’m still laughing about that. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I had to laugh when I heard about the groundhog’s prediction because winter never even started here. Like you, we had one major snow event (but it was in January), and today it’s 55 degrees F. We missed that last blizzard which still boggles my mind. It appears we’re missing the one currently working its way through the Midwest as well. Not sure how that is possible in NE Ohio, but I’ll take it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The weather here? You probably don’t want to know, really. A couple of days ago, the wind was near 40 mph sustained with gusts to 60 at times. The air is brown and lumpy. Not my favorite time of year. The street we live on runs east-west (more or less aligned with the westerly winds during this season). We live a mile from the western edge of town, and we have tumbleweeds lodged in the shrubs in our yard and stacked up against the dumpster in the alley out back. Snow would be a welcome change, even if the temperatures have been in the seventies of late. For that matter, so would rain. Or hail.

    I hate it when the air is brown and lumpy.

    But your post cheered me right up as always, and the weather video made me laugh. And that led to the Rick Mercer Weather Rant, and on from there. Now I’m past the crisis. I’m back from all those dark places!

    Now I strain against the wind that presses the outside door closed at the end of the hall outside my office, and when I finally get the door open just a crack, I scream out into the howling winds and the brown, lumpy air, “IS THIS ALL YOU’VE GOT?? IS THIS PUNY BREEZE THE WORST YOU CAN DO??”

    And about that time, an 80mph gust hits and slams me against the floor fifty feet back down the hall and I slide another twenty feet in the pile of sand I just let in.

    Now I wish I’d bookmarked those videos. I need to watch them again. 🙂

    And eighty-four point nine theven thix per thent! Advanthing the cauthe at a theriouth pathe, thithter! Phabulariouth!


    • ‘The air is brown and lumpy’ – yikes! I laughed, but I was shuddering at the same time. Suddenly I’ve lost interest in the attractions of your climate down there. But if you’re looking for just one more Rick Mercer diversion, check this one out – the footage at the end with the swim harness is priceless:

      We often get some nasty winds at this time of the year (as in, tipping-over-semis-and-tearing-off-roofs nasty), but this year has been calm and quiet all winter long. And it’s been above zero for weeks. I don’t know what’s happening, but I suspect we’ll pay for it when it’s supposed to be spring and the snow’s still coming down.

      Off to work on Book 11 now – I can see the finish line! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Above zero as in +1? That’s still making me laugh.

        Gad, the swim harness thing was hysterical! Being towed sideways and backwards. Yep, I’m back from those dark places again. Well, most of them. Okay, some of them. Er, could somebody turn on a light…? 🙂


          • A hunnerd or two years ago when I was a mere child, my dad and I gathered an enormous amount of tumbleweeds off of a fence line and piled them into a huge stack. Dad said we were going to have a tumbleweed bonfire when the fence was clear, and I couldn’t wait. I gathered tumbleweeds side-by-side with Dad for hours. Some were taller than I was, and Dad had to help me get them up on the pile. Just before dark, we dragged the last few up to the pile, and Dad lit the bonfire I’d waited on with extreme impatience all day.

            It was over in minutes. This was decades before the penguins remarked, “Well, this sucks.” But I could sympathize.

            Shakespeare himself immortalized the phenomenon of tumbleweed fires: Much Ado About Nothing. 🙂


  12. Whoa, the music and carrying on at the Balzac Billy Breakfast seems very, very similar to the Karl Kyote gatherings that occasionally pop up down here in Texas. Though Billie and Karl are separated by many miles and lines of latitude we are much the same. Good.

    Liked by 1 person

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