The Long John Index Service of Canada

Keeping Canadians Warm and Entertained since Mid to late October


Kek! An Interview with Edmonton's #YegMagpie

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Winters are difficult for Canadians ( except for those crazy Winter Cyclists), but what of Canada's hard working industrious creatures? We checked in with Edmonton's Favorite ( and unsuccessful mayoral Candidate) Mr. Magpie ( aka @yegmagpie on the Twitter).

Long John Index: So most of the other birds flew south for the winter months ago, yet the Magpies are still here. What gives?

Magpie: A kekcellent question! We magpies evolved up here, so we stay year round! There's less competition from those stupid chirpy songbirds (I'M SHAKING MY FIST AT YOU, YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS) and there's still plenty of food around. For instance, just this morning I found half a Boston Cream donut outside my local Timmy's!

LGI: Do magpies grow extra feathers to cope with the cold, like Dogs grow extra fur?

Magpe: No, that's a commonly held myth, but we do sometimes buy a slightly heavier tuxedo in the fall. I myself purchased a nice lightweight merino tux in October from my favorite magpie menswear shop, and it's been holding up reasonably well even in very cold temperatures provided I use The Power of the Floof.

Some of us, you may have noticed, also re-purpose winter clothing to cope with killing cold temperatures. I have a Cool Ranch Doritos bag I use as a thermal blanket on coldish days, and if it gets really bad, I have a couple of mittens I use as ponchos. They are stylish, warm, and sometimes cause humans to walk into walls while they stare at me.

LGI: How do the cold temperatures, and reduced sunlight effect day to day Magpie activies and or duties?

Magpie: Kek! Pretty much the same as humans! We feel lethargic and sleepy, if there's a apatch of sun we bask to heat up our extremely handsome black feathers, we complain constantly about the lack of Vitamin D, nobody wants to go out (even for dumpster raids!), and we spend a lot of time floofed up to the eyeballs watching Netflix and muttering "When is spring coming?"

For those of us with jobs (about 5% of the magpie population) it's also very common to find us huddled up next to the office Tassimo. I myself often have to be forcibly removed by our office admin lady (we have a special oven mitt that she uses for the task).

LGI: It’s fairly common to see a Magpie take a bath in a puddle during the summer months, but since there are no puddles in winter, does this mean you guys don’t shower for 7 months?

Magpie: Far from it! We are fastidious creatures, like all animals that look vaguely like James Bond, and we often take 'dust baths' in granular snow. You gotta keep your feathers clean and in good condition, otherwise floofing is of little help and we freeze tragically to death, causing little kids to come across our corpses and say "Mommy, is that a dead penguin?" which causes lifelong trauma and years of therapy. Incidentally, is that an oatmeal cookie? Are you going to eat that whole thing?

LGI: What are two things Humans can do to help Magpies over the winter?

Magpie: Good gosh, I'm glad you asked! Kek!

So like, 1: All birds need tons of protein and fat over the winter, or else we have to burn what little reserves we managed to keep over the summer and fall! If you can, put nuts, peanut butter, bacon drippings, or beef fat on your bird feeders and tables! If you do not have a method to feed birds over the winter, I am judging you PRETTY HARD RIGHT NOW cos we need more help the colder it gets! We magpies also enjoy a variety of junk food and you might be surprised at how many you can attract if you put potato chips out. Yeah, we all have high cholesterol, and don't ask us about our blood pressure, but we were born that way! (tailflip)

2. Leave out yarn or string or hairbrush pickings or dryer lint so we can line our nests! Some birds, they don't add to their nests after they finish them in the spring, but we corvids often grab stuff like dried leaves (which are CRAP and often full of FEATHER LICE) to insulate our houses! See, the problem is, we can't buy stuff with a good R-rating cos we often get kicked out of home improvement stores; I know I've been forcibly booted from all the major chains in the city for NO REASON (not for trying to steal screws and washers, AS THEY HAVE UNFAIRLY SUGGESTED).

In Defence of Edmonton's Awesome Meteorologists

Long John IndexComment

So Tuesday, the Edmonton Journal published this story about the Edmonton Winter City Advisory Council, asking Edmonton Meteorologists Josh Classen ( of CTV) and Stephanie Barsby (of CBC) to liven up their winter weather forecasts, and be a little more positive. We were shocked! You mean there has been a Winter Council, having regular meetings, presumabely with delicious snacks, and we HAVEN'T been informed? We love Snacks! 

Anyway, we wanted to respond to this, because we don't think its right to pick on ol Josh and Stephanie. Talk aboot shooting the messenger! As if they don't get enough of that in their line of work! 

(Also, we're responding because it's still gorgeous outside, so we really don't have that much to do, and there are only so many seasons of 'Star Trek the Next Generation' one can watch, but thats neither hither nor yon....)

We think Josh Classen and Stephanie Barsby are both Fantastic Weather Proffesionals. They are well educated, intelligent and hard working weather nerds, whose job is to tell us like it is. We're all Cold Weathered Canadians! We can handle the truth! They both have an enthusiasm and passion for their work that oozes through our TV, Radio, and Smartphones. Their engagement with the public via social media is so delightfully well done, that they could justifably be giving many local politicans lessons on how to work the Twitters. They'd make good money at it too!

In our humble opinion, Edmontonians should feel lucky to have such engaged, enthusiastic Meteorologists working in their city. If anything, Josh Classen and Stephanie Barsby should be given 'Mitten High Fives' by the Winter City Advisory Council. And Snacks.

If the council is looking for some sort of 'Fun Wacky Way to Deliver Winter Weather', that can liven up the most dreary -30 degree day, and who has the same disdane for Wind Chill as they do, we are certain that if they look really hard, they juuuuuuust might find one....

Operating in their back yard ( well, in a top secret Government Bunker)...

....Since 2010.


The Staff and Lowly Interns,

Long John Index Service of Canada

Canada Wide Forecast - January 9, 2013

Long John IndexComment

Canada Wide Forecast - January 9, 2013

Storified by the Long John Index· Wed, Jan 09 2013 05:55:07

Good Morning Bonjour Canada! Your Long John Index Forecast is coming up right after this morning workout #scampertoclosesttimmiesthe Long John Index
#longjohnindex in #yeg is a 1 this morning, and should be a 1 all day with a chance of a POLAR BEAR ALERT! First snow in forever! #daysthe Long John Index
#longjohnindex in Calgary is a 2 this morning, and will be an NA today. Enjoy it, as the temp is going to Plum-et tomorow! -16 for a high!the Long John Index
Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie with a #longjohnindex of 3 this morning. Fort Mac will be a 3, GP 1. POLAR BEAR ALERT for both!the Long John Index
Red Deer with a #longjohnindex of 2 this morning, but will just baaaarrely be a 1 today. Will be a little sunny too! #tropicalreddeerthe Long John Index
Prince George with a #longjohnindex of 1 this morning, and all day, with a POLAR BEAR ALERT all day as well! #guardyoursnacksthe Long John Index
Over in Watermelon Hat Country, Regina and Saskatoon with almost identical forecasts: #longjohnindex of 3 this morning, will warm to a 1!the Long John Index
Winnipeg with a #longjohnindex of 1 this morning, and all day, although, the temp will drop by ONE EARTH SHATTERING DEGREE #minus4to5the Long John Index
THE EAST: Going to be pretty fair East of Manitoba today. Thunder Bay and Sudbury will have a #longjohnindex of 1, but thats it for Ontario!the Long John Index
No #longjohnindex for Quebec Today, But St. John's, Charlottetown, Sydney and Fredericton will have be a 1!the Long John Index
THE NORTH: Iqaluit and Inuvik will have a #longjohnindex of 4 today, Whitehorse a 3, Yellowknife a 5!! Alert, Top of Canada, will be a 4.the Long John Index

Canada Wide Forecast and All Request Index - December 7, 2012

Long John IndexComment

Bit of a Strange Day in Alberta this morning. It's not that Edmonton isn't Cold, or that Calgary is Less Cold ( thats normal) but Red Deer, situated halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, is MUCH Colder than both! What Gives? Anyhoo, pretty chilly across the west, and fairly mild out east, though Quebec City did muster up a Long John Index of 1. Strangely warm in Iqaluit as well, where they will have a Long John Index of 1 as well!

Vancouver, Kamloops - NA
Prince George - 1
Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Red Deer - 3
Calgary - 1
Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg - 3
Thunder Bay, Quebec City - 1

ALL REQUEST INDEX - Featuring an All Nova Scotia Lineup! Unfortunately Nova Scotia is too warm for Long Johns, but we thank you guys for the requests anyway!

Hubbards, Nova Scotia - NA
Sydney, Nova Scotia - NA
Halifax ( which is normally on the Index, but we will include it in the requests just for kicks) - NA