Wednesday, February 27, 2008

winter grump

I am very grumpy. I had planned a fun day today, starting with a very nearby playgroup thingie and ending with a nice walk around town with my camera and the stroller. I've been hibernating for weeks, in some kind of silent protest against the winter that just won't quit, and haven't shot any pictures in forever. But it's REALLY f-in' cold today! Even colder than it's been for the last week!

You know, Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring, and here are nearly FOUR weeks after his prediction and STILL it is unequivocally WINTER.

Fantasies of Cuba aren't even enough to keep me humming today...

Although the origins of Wiarton's groundhog festivities did make me chuckle, so I'll share it here, thanks to the omniscient wikipedia:

The story of Wiarton Willie dates back to 1956. A Wiarton resident named Mac McKenzie wanted to showcase his childhood home to his many friends, so he sent out invitations for a "Groundhog Day" gathering. One of these invitations fell into the hands of a Toronto Star reporter. The reporter travelled to Wiarton looking for the Groundhog Day event. None of the townspeople knew about a festival, but one suggested he check at the Arlington Hotel, the local watering hole. There the reporter found McKenzie and his friends partying and was invited to join them. The next day, the reporter lamented to McKenzie that he needed some kind of story to take back to justify his expenses. So McKenzie grabbed his wife's fur hat, which had a large button on the front, went out to the parking lot, dug a burrow in the snow and pronounced a prognostication (which no one remembers). The picture of Mac and the hat ran in the February 3, 1956 edition of the Toronto Star. A year later, about 50 people arrived for the festival. Half were reporters from various media, including the CBC and Canadian Press. Seizing on the opportunity, McKenzie invented a festival that has been added to over the years.

Wiarton Willie himself is a more recent addition to the festivities. In the early years, prognostication was provided by the "mythical" trio of groundhogs Grundoon, Muldoon and Sand Dune. Willie appeared on the scene in the 1980s. Wiarton Willie's predictive powers are attributed (by his followers) to his situation on the 45th parallel, exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. He is claimed locally to be accurate in his prognostications around 90 per cent of the time, although scientific studies show groundhog predictions to have a success rate of more like 37 per cent.

Death and ensuing scandal

The original Wiarton Willie lived to the advanced age of 22, and was found dead only two days before Groundhog Day in 1999. The organizers were unable to find a replacement, and instead marked Groundhog Day by revealing "Willie" in a coffin. He had been dressed in a tuxedo, had coins over his eyes, and a carrot between his paws. A scandal ensued when it transpired that the real Willie had in fact decomposed, and the body in the coffin was that of an older, stuffed groundhog. The Associated Press was obliged to issue a retraction on its wires.


(Imagine my bad mood if I had to spend today racing to get my house on the market! Thank goodness we didn't get that house... seriously, we are mostly feeling giddy with relief. That said, I have absolutely no regrets about trying for it, and it was a great learning experience...)

snowy bike
For Den: This was the last picture I took outside... like a month ago?

8 comments:

Denguy said...

I would like to see some pictures taken out on one of these frozen mornings. I was up early today and saw how still the neighbourhood was at 6am and -19C.
The frost and whiteness all around--I think you could do something with that.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh Den, you know not what you ask. But fine... I will try Saturday morning. But probably not 6. How about 7:30? No promises that my fingers won't freeze off first though.

Magpie said...

that's a beautiful photo - it's so stark.

niobe said...

I'm looking forward to the end of winter. But, more immediately, I'm looking forward to your pictures of a white and frosty Saturday morning.

flutter said...

I kind of like you grumpy.....

Lisa b said...

oh it is so cold i have been avoiding walking over to the school to register for JK. I'm going to be homeschooling if it doesn't warm up soon.

Aliki2006 said...

Yes, even grumpy you are always so great to read--and your pictures will always take my breath away.

nomotherearth said...

Can't deal with the winter anymore. The only thing that is keeping me going these days is the promise of a trip to Vegas in November (but that seems like a long, long way away)