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Calendar Page Is About To Flip To March

In a couple of days we will flip the calendar to March, and the end of this long, cold, dreary winter will be in sight. The Polar Vortex will have been worth it if the bitter cold really did kill the stinkbugs.

A Virginia Tech study has found the severe cold killed more than 90 percent of the nasty bugs that have made themselves right at home in the Southeast — in homes, in offices and even in our newspaper racks.

We may see less of them this summer.

I saw my first redbud trees in bloom Sunday in Chapel Hill. Another one was blooming in Salisbury on Monday. A clutch of daffodils are blooming in my back yard. Male birds are suddenly sporting more vivid colors. Daylight lasts longer. The weekend temperatures soared to the 60s. We saw a coed sunbathing on the lawn at UNC-Chapel Hill. Ash Wednesday is next week, beginning the Lenten season.

We survived the cold.

Twenty years from now we will remember the terrible winter of 2014 when the snows fell and temperatures plunged to zero and below.

I’m still feeling a bit of thermometer envy from the worst morning of the Polar Vortex. In hot-natured Advance, my gauge read an unimpressive nine degrees while Sheffield folks 20 miles west recorded one below.

Sheffield will probably have fewer stinkbugs than Advance.

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Congratulations to the Russians. They hosted a very nice Winter Olympics and won the most medals. No crazy terrorists blew up the place. The only problem was that the weather was too warm. There were only a few controversies in the judging, mainly when the United States beat Russia with the help of a disqualified goal. Overall, it was a huge success for the Russians on a grand stage.

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Already the political attack ads on TV are heating up — not a good sign for our spring. I’ve been amused at the competing ads between U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and perhaps her leading Republican opponent, N.C. Rep. Thom Tillis, who serves as Speaker of the House of the General Assembly.

She just doesn’t get it, one ad declares, as it examines her stand on Obamacare.

Similarly, Tillis is accused of being out of touch of the voters in an ad series critical of him, catering to the special interests.

The problem with TV political ads is that they run so often that viewers grow weary of them. The primary will be in May. The general election won’t decide the race until November. In the meantime, we will be reminded over and over about the virtues or vices of the various candidates.

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Did you know the Japanese bombed Australia during World War II? I didn’t until last week. A fascinating day by day Twitter account, @RealTimeWWII, last week chronicled the Japanese bombing of the port of Darwin in an action very similar to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was orchestrated by the same Japanese commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, with 242 planes raiding the port filled with Allied ships. Eight ships were sunk, more than 200 Australians were killed, and just four Japanese planes were shot down.

The Japanese ran amok across the Pacific islands for months following Pearl Harbor until the United States collected itself.

– Dwight Sparks