Kirby: My polar expression of discontent

Nothing burns like the cold.


– George R.R. Martin

If summer has its Dog Days — that period of uncomfortable, but consistent heat and unambitious languor — what does winter have?

I don’t know what it’s called, but I am afraid we are in it.

Chilly, gloomy, cloudy days outside, and inside not much better.

The gifts of last month have been quickly forgotten, replaced by the gifts of this one: Sniffles, cracked hands, static electricity shocks, and a return to work and school.

There are few things fun in winter’s dogged days, so I resort to watching the Weather Channel, whose company loves misery.

I see blue-parka experts express surprise to find Chicago so chilled, or Iowa icy.

The Weather Channel convinces me it’s worse someplace else, and I find some comfort in that.


LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR: I also find comfort in this time of year because I don’t have to mow the lawn. I do, however, have to collect the few stray leaves that held out long past autumn.

I was raking up some stragglers a few weeks ago when my neighbor came over to offer me use of his new toy. It was a leaf-blower device that sucked up the leaves, chopped them into a mulch, then blew them into a bag attachment.

I never borrow tools or equipment and resisted by telling him I was more comfortable with a rake, but he insisted, so I accepted his offer, then took the leaf-mulcher into my garage and shut its door.

I did not want to admit I had no idea how it worked and would have to check out several “how-to” videos on the Internet before attempting public and visible competence. With a laptop open on a den stool, I assembled the parts on the floor and attached the bag. Then I took it into the back yard away from critical eyes and experimented.

It seemed like a lot of trouble to go through for a few dozen leaves, but this is the season for under-achievement.


WHICH BRINGS US TO As if the Super Bowl halftime shows haven’t been worthless enough, I see we now have to endure a College Football Championship halftime “performance.” Monday night it was a guy in a big coat dancing with a fog machine.

I can hardly wait until the Super Bowl when Justin Timberlake’s ego is hauled before us.

I plan to be as scarce as Janet Jackson.


TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one shared by Jim Hope.

Unaware that Indianapolis is on Eastern Standard Time and Chicago on Central Standard Time, Bob inquired at the Indianapolis airport about a plane to Chicago.

“The next flight leaves at 1:00 p.m.,” a ticket agent said, “and arrives in Chicago at 1:01 p.m.”

“Would you repeat that, please?” Bob asked.

The agent did so and then inquired, “Do you want a reservation?”

“No,” said Bob, “But I think I’ll hang around and watch that thing take off.”

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