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It's winter, and a young person's thoughts turn lightly to... um... warm underwear

Well, another Groundhog Day has come and gone, with newspersons gleefully informing us that we're going to have another six weeks of winter. Like this is any surprise. If I woke up one morning to discover CNN and others of its ilk camped out in my front yard, I'd go back to bed for several weeks, too.

Next up on the US calendar is the Super Bowl, our annual orgy of American football, partying, and overpriced television ads. I can't get too worked up about the game, even though the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback attended the same university I did. I'm not even terribly excited about seeing the Rolling Stones during the half-time entertainment, although I did perk up when I read recently that people are still trying to get Keith Richards to appear in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie as Jack Sparrow's dad. No, what I want to see are the television ads. Advertisers tend to throw everything they have into ads that air during the Super Bowl, with often entertaining results. My favourites from last year involved a man working in an office with a bunch of chimpanzees dressed up in business clothes. promises us that a new batch of these ads will air this year, and I can't wait to see them. (I found it somewhat amusing last year when various animal rights organisations protested the ads. Apparently forcing someone to dress in a suit is cruel and degrading, something that many professional people would agree with.)

Meanwhile coming up at the end of the week we have the winter Olympics. Many have become cynical lately about the Olympic movement, and I can understand their feelings. News about bribery among Olympic officials, corrupt judges in certain sporting events, and doping scandals among some athletes do make you take the whole idea with a huge grain of salt. And given the recent history of the human race, you would not be unreasonable to suggest that we have more important things to worry about. But still... I plan to spend every day for the duration of the Games glued to my television set and computer, even though the ads won't be nearly as wonderful as those aired during the Super Bowl and I'll be ready to pitch something through the TV screen after the 12th viewing of some particularly annoying spot. (This will, unfortunately, occur on the first day of competition, which is why I've saved a pile of mending to do during breaks in the action.)

So with all this stuff going on, it's really hard to get too excited about Valentine's Day. I mean, whose idea was it to celebrate love in the dead of winter? OK, I can see the boxes of candy; those of us who live in the Great Frozen North are trying to stay bulked up so that we don't freeze our hinders off. But then you stroll down the aisle at your local department store and come across scads of skimpy, bright red lingerie. Yowza! smiley - brr We denizens of the Great Frozen North are not frivolous people. If we're going to be outside at 6.00am in -17°C temperatures begging our cars to start, we're gonna want long underwear. Love? To us, love isn't roses and candy; it's going outside and starting the car for us while we sit indoors with a hot cup of coffee. A really demonstrative Northern Male buys his wife a car with heated seats. But he knows that even northern winters come to an end some time. More constant and reliable than any silly ol' groundhog, he's a star that you can set your calendars and your emotional compass by. You know that once he starts to shed his thermal undies, spring is just around the corner, and pretty soon the female of the species will once again have the opportunity to demonstrate her love for her mate. By cutting the grass.


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