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How has this winter been lousy? Let us count the ways…

Hockey discontentment

The Habs just wrapped up their worst season in recent history. After finishing dead last in the East and the third worst team in the entire league. This season saw local favourite Mikey Cammalleri shipped off to Calgary in the middle of a game, coach Jacques Martin fired mid-season and replaced — albeit temporarily — by “maudite anglais” backup Randy Cunneyworth, and — finally — some housecleaning in the front office that saw Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey get the long-awaited boot.  The prospect of drafting high is small consolation to the fans, and it’s clear that we’re in for a long painful rebuilding process. Meanwhile, there might not even be any hockey at the start of next season, as the threat of lockout looms. Might be time to start taking an interest in another sport. The Montreal Impact just went MLS this season… any footy fans out there?

Weather discontentment

It was an unseasonably (some would claim unreasonably) warm winter, with very little snow and summer-like temperatures that saw crowds of spectators take in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in shorts. For those of us who actually like winter — and, y’know, for businesses who make money from it — it was a lousy year. Sure, the naysayers will be happy, but I’m still bemoaning my waste of a ski season. Enough with this global warming already; I miss winter, dammit!

Student discontentment

I’ve been saying it since my student days: Quebec’s tuition freeze needs to go.  And it looks like this time, it might well happen, as Jean Charest has sworn he won’t cave. Of course, the student union groups are having none of it, out protesting shit-disturbing as they claim they’ll settle for nothing less than free education. Never mind that the numbers don’t support their cause, or that the whole concept of a student strike is nonsensical when you consider that the only people it hurts are the students.

Public opinion is not on the side of the student groups this time around (unless you consider the ever-opportunistic PQ, always trolling for votes). Even many students have had enough, with at least one case of a successful injunction by a student who just wants to go to class and (gasp!) get the education he’s paying for.

The fact that Quebecers pay by far the lowest tuition in Canada and still will after the hike, or the fact that enrollment is lower here than it is in provinces with higher tuition, or even the generous increases in bursaries, none of those arguments are going to sway anyone. And that’s because the so-called students — who are actually political wannabes with romanticized notions of the 60s who enrol in one class per semester so they can live off the student fee contributions of actual students — don’t want to compromise; they just want their names in the paper, and maybe a chance to smash stuff.

And before you go accusing me of being dismissive of an important issue, we’ve lived this all before. Many times. I’ve written about it before. Many times. The only difference is that this time, something might actually change.


Deep freeze


Here’s an explanation for the unusually cold weather in parts of North America and Europe lately:

The folks who run the National Center for Atmospheric Research have a great rundown of the details of the AO Oscillation. In short, high pressure in the Arctic forces the jet stream south, and it drags cold air with it, chilling North American and northern Eurasia. In its opposite mode, those same regions tend to be much warmer. Right now, we’re in such an extreme high-pressure event that the readings have run off the scale of NOAA’s AO index. Fortunately for those hoping to warm up a bit, the AO is a weather event—it often changes states multiple times within a single season, and there’s no clear evidence linking its behavior to climate trends.

(Hat tip: Sera).


“And in these days when darkness falls early…”


Yesterday was Winter Solstice, and everyone’s been feeling the lack-of-daylight blahs. The cold temperatures aren’t helping, either. Winter came on fast and strong this year, and people seem to have hibernated more quickly than usual. Or maybe that’s just winter amnesia speaking (that same curious syndrome that makes people drive like idiots in the first annual […]

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California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day


Spotted around downtown Montreal in the minus-20-feels-like-minus-30-with-the-windchill weather: A cyclist (you have to be pretty hardcore to cycle in this weather) wearing a full ski helmet, ski goggles, and a ski face mask, every inch of his face protected against the cold. Two women, both wearing their jacket hoods with faux fur pulled over their face and eyes, […]

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London in the snow


This is what happens when it snows in England.

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The new Montreal transit chief – get this – actually uses public transit! What a concept! He’s even promised to ride the bus out to the west island to see for himself what a disaster the system is out there. Will it lead to improvements? Stay tuned. Meanwhile in Ottawa, citizens who’ve been held hostage […]

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Winter tires: Get a grip, people!


Quebec’s mandatory winter tire law comes into effect on Monday. If you’re driving with all-season or summer tires, you’ll officially be breaking the law in less than a week. And I, for one, am sick of all the whining and complaining about this law. On principle, I usually oppose excess government regulation, especially when there’s […]

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Thunderstorm blizzard



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Daylight shifting


As we all know (or ought to, by now), the clocks “fell back” an hour on Saturday night, at least in DST-observing parts of North America. These guys want to abolish Daylight Saving time and stick to standard time year-round. I maintain that we should do the opposite. Daylight Saving doesn’t actually save any daylight, […]

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The white stuff


New York State called in the National Guard to Oswego, where they got 141 inches of snow over the past week, and are forecasting more. In Ohio, snow and ice combined to cause traffic nightmares, travel delays, and the death of a 9-year-old girl. Meanwhile in Chicago, they got a whopping 8.8 inches of snow… […]

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