The harsh cold climate permeates nearly every part of existence for the people who live in Oymyakon, a remote Siberian village of about 500 residents. The town wears its reputation on its sleeve: “The pole of the cold,” one sign says.

The average winter high is typically -40 degrees but earlier this month the low dropped to -88.6 degrees. No surprised reader: that isn’t a typo.

Feel any better about our spate of chilly weather now?

Oymyakon is already considered the world's coldest permanently inhabited town. For you cold climate buffs, that's even colder than the average temperature on Mars, which is 80 below zero, according to

Amazingly, 88 below isn't even the record low temperature in this remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia, a part of Siberia. That’s a minus 100 degrees.

How do residents deal with that cold? In addition to the obvious, residents leave their cars running all winter or, among other challenges, batteries will freeze.

Those nuggets of chilly information are probably why you’ve never thought of a vacation in Siberia, even with a chance to pick up a spare diamond or two.

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching

This familiar Irish wish to each of us:

“Health and long life to you, “Land without rent to you, “A child every year to you, “And may you die in Ireland.”

Or this song from the Irish tenor Sean O’Shaughnessy

“In the City of Chicago, where the evening shadows fall “there are people dreamin' of the hills of Donegal

“1847 was the year it all began “Deadly pains of hunger drove a million from our land, “They journeyed not for glory, their mission wasn't greed, “A journey for survival across the stormy sea.

“Some of them knew fortune and some of them knew fame, “More of them knew hardship and died upon the plain, “They rode throughout the nation, they rode the railroad cars “Brought their songs and music, to ease their lonely hearts.”

A-E’s Irish bona fides include his paternal grandmother Mary Bell Murphy Bruce whose mother was born in County Claire.

Into the 21st century

This may be kicking an Institution when it’s down, but A-E was surprised his medical appointments were chronicled with pens and paper as Frau and he moved to Greater Jasper five years past. For all of this century, A-E’s medicos in more southern locales took digital notes on laptops and then transmitted new information to larger computers.

Computer-savvy physicians who left said Institution for private practice can now concentrate on patients, rather than carting stacks of files. After initial appointments at the new offices, all weighty institution patient paper files are returned to said Institution.

The most amazing demonstration of computerized miracles: voice recognition capabilities at physician laptops. When A-E was an assistant hospital administrator in the early Pleistocene, a squad of medical records transcriptionists constantly typed clinical notes. The new technology autotranscribes as fast as docs can speak.

Cupid Warm in Greater Jasper

A-E’s exclusive interview with the cherubic boy earned this report: “I’m starting to spend more time in Greater Jasper.” He’s lingering in some startling places so don’t be surprised when he appears in his cold weather coat while flitting from home to home.

I hereby bequeath to xenophobe Pat…

A-E’s will leaves a dozen years of The Loyalist Gazette, the excellent magazine of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, to xenophobe Correspondent-Classmate Pat with the hopes that he’ll enjoy reviewing articles about A-E’s ancestors and the Canadian side of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Sorry about the spellings of rumour, humour, storey, tumour, colour, centre, etal: God save the Queen, Pat.


A-E composes this weakly drivel on an old Underwood in his Canisteo hut.