Michael Jackson's death has left a lot of people out of work: plastic surgeons, pharmacists, Liz Taylor, Quincy Jones, thirty thousand knot-hole peeking paparazzi, three carnies, Dr.Conrad Murray, and most notably Bubbles The Chimp. This Bubbles link is worth checking out, just in case you think you're eccentric. You ain't got nothin' on MJ.
You might wonder why I'd choose to have a common chimpanzee talking with a federal bureaucrat. To be perfectly blunt, it's because I believe that Environment Canada is run by monkeys. Bubbles, now under-employed, was simply looking for some work. In fairness to Environment Canada, the forecasting of weather in our Maritime climate is a dark art, perhaps best left to the wisdom of someone who reads the coffee grinds in the bottom of their Tim's roll-up-the-rim-to-lose, double-double cup (just before throwing it in the ditch).
Most of the time, the Environment Canada weather monkeys get the weather sort of almost close to being nearly half right, more or less. Usually less. When it comes to forecasting wind they'd easily be outsmarted by a quarter cartload of simians.
You probably need your grade 10 to get an interview at Environment Canada, though to forecast wind you need little more than the wherewithal to stack a few crates and get at the banana. The general public doesn't give a tinker's damn about the wind, with the exception of Marge Simpson and those of her ilk who keep the beehive hairdo alive (there's one in everyone's neighbourhood, even mine). Oh yes, there's one other group who voraciously devours the wind forecast...that masochistic segment of society known as the windsurfers.
I am a windsurfer. And I hate Environment Canada.
New Brunswick is not a windy place, so to 'be....a windsurfer in this place' (Être ...ici on le peut sur une planche à voile) is not a sentence easily served. The Environment Canada monkeys keep lifting us up with the dangling promising of a windy forecast, only to pull the crate from under our feet...time after time. You'd think we, the windsurfers, would learn, but like the crack ho, we're always eager for one more fix.
A typical summer day in New Brunswick, like the two we had in August, offers sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-twenties and light winds. Occasionally we're given a 20 km/h forecast which is the absolute bare minimum a windsurfer needs to get planing. A professional windsurfer living in Maui wouldn't get out of his bunny filled bed for anything less than 40 km/h.
A forecast of 20 km/h usually involves 4 hours of taunting 10 km/h winds with one gust of 21 km/h that lasts no longer than an honest thought in Brian Mulroney's brain. That's not fair to poor Brian Mulroney, the brainless bugger. That one gust is recorded on Environment Canada's precision weather meter (a flag) at the Fredericton airport, then reported on the E.C. web site, thus saving their bacon, and jobs. Sometimes I'm amazed that the government cuts the budget of the CBC, yet with the rising cost of imported tropical fruit, they never fire or publically flog a single chimp.
My whip awaits the call.
Yesterday's forecast was for southwest winds of 30 km/h... a delicious offering. A forecast of 20 km/h almost certainly means a frustrating day on the water. A forecast of 30 km/h should mean there will be wind, otherwise why bother with the more optimistic forecast. Have you ever seen a grown man throw a tantrum?
Yesterday I was skunked. Skunked is the term given to a day when the forecast wind doesn't deliver. Yesterday, however, was a minor skunking. I've been burned so many times that I'm blacker than bicycle at night. The mac daddy of all blown forecasts happened about a decade ago (lest we forget). The E.C. monkeys called for NE winds 40 to 70 km/h. My board shorts were wet before they hit the water! I loaded all of my windsurfing gear, drove to Grand Lake and then got royally skunked.
You've heard about people 'going postal'? I was so far beyond postal that I was ready to go meteorological. It's a good thing no one from Environment Canada crossed my path that day. To make matters worse I twisted my ankle in the parking lot when I slipped on a banana peel.