September 3, 2010 in Features

The Slice: We don’t need no stinkin’ Doppler

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Accu-Squirrel has spoken.
(Full-size photo)

You might not want to hear this.

But I think you should learn it from a friend.

We’re in for a bodacious winter. One surefire sign points to it.

Spokane squirrels appear to be especially frenzied about packing away food stores. They seem manic about shucking certain kinds of pine cones to reach the edible innards.

For those who live next to the targeted trees, the evidence is all over the yard. There seems to be a lot more of it than most years.

So you know what this means, don’t you? Sure.

I don’t know what long-range forecast models these rodents consult. But I trust their instincts.

A quick interview with a squirrel in my backyard confirmed my suspicions.

Q: So you’re thinking it’s going to be a rough winter?

A: I’m sorry. I really don’t have time for this.

Q: C’mon. Just answer the question.

A: Well, if I were you, I’d quit fooling around on the computer and start gathering nuts.

Q: So is it going to be deep snow or mostly just cold?

A: What am I, the Accu-Squirrel? You think I have special Storm Tracker radar? Hey, I’ve got your micro-climate forecast right here, pal.

Q: Well, you seem to know.

A: Look, all I’m saying is that Spokane’s TV news people are going to lose bladder control early and often.

Q: But that happens every winter. What makes you think this one is going to be special?

A: It has to do with sunspots, the magnetic poles, and the fur of the hypotenuse. You wouldn’t understand.

Q: Yes, but how can you tell already?

A: Call it a hunch. We squirrels think ahead. We’re not like a certain other species that will wait for the drifts to get up to their armpits before announcing, “I’m off to buy a snowblower.”

Q: Where do you come down on the studded-tires debate?

A: When a tire has your name on it, it doesn’t make much difference.

Q: OK. Thanks. Stay out of the street.

A: Will do.

Today’s Slice question: Do fewer people know how to do handyman stuff today?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. Nancy and James Schoepflin sent a postcard from Santa Fe, telling of operas, chamber music and chiles.


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