When the weather is dull, people hunker down inside to cocoon and contemplate their linty belly buttons because they are too pissed off or miserable to spend fifteen minutes layering on jackets, scarves, mitts, boots, and hats.

It’s sort of raining outside – the fine mist that gunks up the side mirrors and smears the windows with a greasy film that turns oncoming headlights into glaring prisms that slash at your eyeballs .

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The car is snow-free and warmish because it’s been sitting in the garage, but when you turn on the ignition, the evil yellow light for ‘fill washer fluid’ comes on and you have to back halfway out of the garage, struggle to open the hood latch and not get road crud all over your coat, then try to pry the plastic catch off the washer fluid bottle.

Unfortunately, that defeats your cold fingers so you go in search of a screwdriver or a hammer to bash the stupid thing off and you notice a hunk of ice hanging in front of the rear wheel well and when you try to kick it off, you hurt your foot.

Then, when you finally get the jug of fluid poised over the right receptacle under the hood, your wrist goes limp and you splash half of it across the battery contacts before finding the hole. Luckily, you’re able to empty to jug and close the hood without catching your hand. Pull the car back into its icy little slot and close the garage door.

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That’s when you know it’s time to crawl back into the sack with a good book and a cup of cocoa laced with spiced rum.

Have you noticed that the newspapers (thin on good news, heavy on the advertisements and weird of the world) and television ‘news’ programs are basically inventories of disasters around the world, weather and people’s pets? Shooting, bombings, car crashes, building collapses, earthquakes, fires, floods? It’s all very Biblical – fire, flood, pestilence, pandemic, civil unrest…Social media has become a pit of despair and freakishness, where anyone with a keyboard can express their abhorrent views whenever the mood takes them.

The furnace runs all the time because we get chilled, crank up the heat  and turn on more lights (take that, Enbridge & Ontario Hydro). The humidifier runs, too, which means every horizontal surface gets covered with a fine layer of dust from the minerals in the water. Bah! I’ve resorted to using lower-wattage lightbulbs so the dust doesn’t show.

I watched a program recently called ‘Deep Web’ to research my next book. Of course the pre-show warnings about ‘disturbing content’ drew me in. Sure, there was the requisite domatrix who used technology to track every move her (happily willing) submissive male. They are in an LDR – long distance relationship – which apparently adds to the cachet, because, in his words, having a  girlfriend close by wasn’t as arousing.

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He had to take photos of the food he ate, and his mistress would tell him there were too many calories (yogurt, banana, cereal) and he had to go for a run. She geo-located his distance and speed. Then he had to don his ‘cage’ so he’d never be aroused without her permission. It was more pathetic than anything else, but they were both content.

What was more depressing was a phenomenon in Japan, where statistics show 36% of men between 19-35 have no time or interest in a relationship. Instead, they form a bond with a character called Rinko, a somewhat creepy, big-eyed, anime character who tells men she loves them. She coos and drops her head seductively when they stroke their smartphone or tablet screens. Talk about being disconnected from reality!

Men actually gather in bars and line up their phones and interact with the own version while they drink beer and minimally socialize with their pals. They take the female substitute to the park, on picnics, etc., and the last thing they see at night before going to bed is the character. Is society doomed?

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That program made me feel sad and troubled. Sure, relationships are challenging – finding someone, building a bond, weathering the storms of emotion and mood – but dear Lord, how rewarding they can be, too. A whole generation of young men have just given up. If the internet goes down or the program stops working, what will they do?

They’ll have no social skills with real women. Their expectations will be totally out of whack, because no woman will always be cheerful and submissive and prepared to fulfill their every wish. What a cold, empty existence they’ll have when they get older.

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Six reasons I want winter to be over: Lack of sunshine. Boredom/diminished motivation. Cold fatigue. Too many FB games/quizzes/animal photos. Global disasters. Sinking $CAD. Forget blockbuster disaster movies. How come no one makes genuinely funny flicks anymore?

Forget the talk of ‘sunny ways’. We all need some real sun – days of it. Bright enough so that we have to wear shades. Where are the clowns when you need them?We need some deep belly laughs. Jokes that are humorous and not mean-spirited or at some else’s expense.

Karneval3I want my Happy Hat — right now.