“Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.” – Mark Twain

Last weekend a guy was seen crossing the Allegheny river on foot. At first we thought that the Second Coming might be at hand but then thought better of it when it appeared that nobody was getting bugled off to their just reward. The tipoff is that this guy wasn’t really walking on water either, he was running –  fleeing the scene of a convenience store robbery. No way the Almighty kicks off the apocalypse by knocking over a Cogo’s, right? And it wasn’t even that miraculous a feat when you take into account that the river was frozen solid. That’s how cold it was – the Allegheny river was frozen over. It might be even colder as you read this. Since there are still a few more miserable days of February left and three ominous weeks of March, the question arises, how can we carry on until Spring arrives? Surely there must be some measures we can take to make the last few ghastly weeks of  Winter a little more bearable.

We’re glad you asked and, as usual , you’ve come to the right place. Idler laboratories have been working overtime to come up with cocktails, er, I mean, strategies to help you weather the remaining arctic blasts:


Beach Blanket Bingo – Think back to the last time you went to the beach. How much time did you spend actually in the water? Very little, right? Instead you sat in your canvas chair, read your beach book and watched the seagulls waddling around in the sand. We may be 350 miles from the shore, but the beach experience is all right here, between your ears. So here’s what you do. Take your beach book, your chair and a cooler – no make that a thermos – of your favorite recreational beverage to the Kennywood Giant Eagle parking lot. There, loitering in the far reaches of the lot you’ll find a couple hundred of the dumbest seagulls on the planet. Unfold your beach chair and set up shop. We hope you wore your blaze-orange hunting coat because we’ve noticed a lot of pretty careless motorists swerving around there. Consume the said beverages until the Dollar Tree cashiers start to look like Annette Funicello.

Sweaty Movies – What we’re doing here also depends on the power of suggestion. A lot of people think Cool Hand Luke was the all-time sweatiest movie. Others insist it was Spartacus. We’re pretty sure Norm and Cliff on Cheers actually had this argument. and to tell you the truth either one of those classics will do to give you that feeling of uncomfortable warmth to counter the feeling of uncomfortable chill that you’re actually experiencing. Flight of the Phoenix is also a pretty sweaty movie; Lawrence of Arabia isn’t bad either. If you have Netflix or one of the channels that feature shows from the golden age of television, you can even scare up old Rifleman episodes where Chuck Connors has to crawl across the desert and gets his lips all chapped and everything. He was great at that.

Go On Strike – If you put a lot of paper and wood into a 55 gallon drum and set fire to it you’ll probably get a citation, but if you’re on strike they seem to let you get away with it. Why not just stay inside where it’s warm, you say? Sure, take the easy way out. See, with the strike you stay busy building and feeding the barrel fire, then you have the picketing and chanting and other warmth-inducing activities, with the added benefit of getting to stick it to the man.

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