Comedian Carl Reiner finds snow to be "an unnecessary freezing of water." Sinclair Lewis said "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." A Canadian occupation, perhaps?

Now we squawk when the mercury dips below zero. Our parents had a much higher threshold for pain; 30 below was no big deal for them. It seems our tolerance for the cold diminishes as background temperatures continue to rise.

The urban heat island (additional heat retained by concrete and asphalt) keeps the downtowns and close-in suburbs a few degrees "milder" this morning. Maybe 8 below instead of 15 below in the exurbs. The last subzero morning of winter? I'm starting to wonder. The approach of milder air, coupled with a twist of cold air aloft, sparks a couple inches of powder Sunday; heaviest bands set up over southwestern Minnesota.

The big story is a hint of spring next week: freezing by Monday; I wouldn't be shocked to see 40s next Friday. Winter isn't nearly done with us yet, but go ahead and dream of spring break.