The view from here


Our holiday in Florida is over and we returned to reality Saturday, driving through tunnels of snow on highway #9 to reach home.


I drove Highway 9 each week for years to get the paper printed, even in the 1970s when we enjoyed winters similar to this one. But in all those years, I don’t remember Highway 9 ever having as many huge snow banks as it has now. There must have been a lot of wind from the south-west.


Anyway, it’s good to be home.




Are weather forecasters fear mongers?


I’m beginning to believe so.


When I was away, I usually checked the weather for Kincardine. The weather network always seemed to have that red warning in the top right hand corner. Same thing when I reached our hotel in Toronto. Well, I don’t believe snow deserves a warning; you need a warning when there are strong winds.


Our drive home was fine, despite the snow. Of course, if it had been windy we wouldn’t have arrived.




 Although scientists believe man and his actions are the cause of rapid climate change, some people still believe there is no such thing and they use the current winter as an example.


What climate change often does is make normal weather more extreme weather. The Polar Vortex has crippled the U.S., making this winter much colder than normal. Parts of Australia have been burning up the last few years because of abnormally hot and dry weather.


However, man is much like the cricket in the fable of the ants and the cricket. We ignore what’s happening around us and go our merry way – until crunch time.




After a month in the U.S., I noticed a few differences between it and Canada.


The gap between the rich and poor is a lot bigger in the U.S.

People actually work for peanuts. The federal minimum wage for people who collect tips is less than $3 per hour; in Florida it is less than $5. That’s likely why the service is so good. So don’t be a cheapskate if you go out to dinner.


Americans have Canadians beat when it comes to marketing. In the U.S. a sale is a sale. You don’t see 20% off signs; usually you see signs starting at 50% off.


The cost of living is pretty well the same. There isn’t much difference in the price of food. Booze, cars and clothing are cheaper but I noticed things in drug stores being more expensive. It all evens out I guess.


The U.S. raised the price of a stamp to 49 cents to get rid of the deficit. We are going to eliminate the red ink by ending home delivery and putting stamps up to 85 cents.


 People are more willing to express their views on most issues in the U.S. The papers are full of great letters to the editor. (So is ours this week.)


The roads in Florida put ours to shame, although they don’t have to contend with the snow and cold in winter.


And the average American is just as likable as the average Canadian. We’re all friendly.




Congratulations to Jim Pannell who started Marketplace Magazine 25 years ago.


I didn’t believe he’d settle into the routine of publishing a monthly magazine when he started. I guess after 25 years, he’s here to stay.




Finally, I suppose we should tell Wiarton Willie to get back in his hole where he belongs.