My forecast for your life: Bad stuff. Do you want the details?

I have a brother who has a thankless job.

He’s a severe weather warning meteorologist, covering southern Ontario in Canada.

Whenever there is severe weather, be it expected or unexpected, I can find him in the news. He’ll get interviewed and quoted by journalists (most recently, at time of writing, here).

Tornadoes, lightning strikes, blizzards, hurricanes . . . . . for all of them, he’s the face of Environment Canada’s weather forecasting service.

Get the forecast right, and he doesn’t get thanked, he’s just doing his job. Get it wrong . . . . . and he gets it in the neck.

What peeves me about this most recent blizzard event in New England is not that the forecasters got it wrong. They didn’t. They predicted a blizzard, and there was one. It just wasn’t as severe (in New York City, at least) as their mathematical models and scientific judgement predicted.

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It may be another year before we remember, but . . . . . Thanks.

It seems fitting today to shout out to all the good men out there who are determined, dedicated fathers.

You get taken for granted day after day.

You have loved and forgiven, again and again. And again.

You’ve been tested to your limits by mood-swinging (or maybe just swinging) partners. And sometimes beyond.

When they abandoned you, you kept the channels open.

No deadbeat dad, you. You paid out, and still are.

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Fear! The city is rife with it!

Fear is really just a chronic disease that we’re all afflicted with.

Potentially, but not necessarily, fatal. No cure, but plenty of treatment for the symptoms. You can develop terrific coping strategies, if you listen to the right specialists and advisors.

If.

(Hint: That might mean ditching your current specialists in favour of new ones.)

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When Time Stands Still

Driving into the office most mornings lately, I’ve had Diana Krall’s The Girl in the Other Room on the CD player, playing over and over.

The CD was a birthday gift from my wife, not long after we’d heard her perform one Saturday night on Michael Parkinson. (Diana Krall perform, that is. Not my wife.)

I cannot figure out what draws me to it. I can’t quit playing it.

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There’s No Such Thing as a SMALL Mercy

I wonder to what extent Yahweh (or the Great Divine Being, or Whatever Else You Like To Call Him) redistributes illnesses amongst his loyal subjects according to their needs?

I suffer from (!!!!) pretty good general health. I get maybe one or two cold/flu bugs a year, lasting maybe 3 days each. And then I’m right as rain.

My wife and my kids, on the other hand, seem to get far more than their fair share, comparatively speaking.

But this year? Continue reading

Take the steps of sheer terror

What goes through your mind a split second after you’ve started down a ski jump for the first time?

Sitting there, terrified. Terrified of going down, but equally terrified of the embarassment you’ll face if you chicken out.

So you sit there, for a few minutes, heart racing, sweat trickling.

When I’ve been in situations similar to that before, a part of my brain seems to exit my body, and stand beside me. Looking at me. Assessing the agony.

Before long, the Me That Is Outside Me says, almost under his breath:

Holy cow. He’s . . . . . he’s . . . . . going to do it . . . . . 

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Ah, there you are, Mr Bond. You have my parachute?

Ever since the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, the British media has forced the nation to engage in the usual paranoid soul-searching and self-doubt to which the British are addicted. We’ll never be able to match that. We do not have that kind of resources. What are we going to do?

So watching the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics was as educational as it was entertaining. The lessons to take away are almost obvious:

1. Never compare yourself with someone else. Continue reading