Friday, February 8, 2013

OMG it's going to snow in winter: The frenzy before the storm

As opposed to the calm of the cliche.  Wow. If you watched the news this morning you would think the end of the world was approaching.  A snowstorm in winter, imagine that!

This photo was taken at our house in Valdez, 30 hours into a
36-hour snowfall that eventually totaled 51 inches.  My son
was about 5 feet tall at a time and when the snow started,
there was less than a foot on the ground.  It didn't even close
the schools.  He had just finished shoveling off that porch
roof which is why he was warm enough to take off his coat.
First a qualification.  Over the years Alaskans learn not to go all superlative on folks who talk about cold and storms where they live.  Of course, Alaskans have weathered worse, but that doesn't really lessen what others are experiencing with their storms Outside.

Instead we listen smugly knowing we could point out colder temperatures, higher winds, deeper snow than anything those folks are complaining about, but we try not to point it out.  It doesn't help and the listeners often resent you for saying it.  Other places aren't prepared as well,  their cities don’t have the equipment to deal with it, and the people themselves spend most of their lives indoors, move in cars, don't much live with the reality of climate affecting their lives and perhaps don't think that much about being prepared for serious weather conditions, at least until the last minute.

All that being a given, good grief.  Watching CNN this morning, all they are talking about is this approaching storm BEFORE IT HAPPENS.  It has barely started, people,  there is other news and frankly it is winter and  generally it is probably going to snow at some point.  Government officials on TV telling people all the warnings about impending storms, things most people have known for their lifetimes,  stock up on food,  stay home,  the snow is heavy and wet so be careful shoveling (is there ever a snowstorm in the Lower 48 where some poor soul doesn't suffer a heart attack with a shovel in his hand?)

This stuff happens.  These shrill warnings by of oh-so-sympathetic  talking heads on the 24-hour news cycle, people who probably went to work this morning in designer clothes rather than something unstylish but made for cold weather, have jumped on the approaching storm, reporting news before it happens when it is something people should be and probably are intelligent enough to take it in stride, deal with it and move on without their interference.

This storm is supposed to hit the northeast.  You have to wonder if it would get this much coverage if it were to happen, say, in North Dakota where they have real winter weather instead of to the East Coast where all the myopic talking heads broadcast from.  Granted potentially it probably affects more people so on that level it is probably more newsworthy, however across the country, no matter how bad this storm  becomes, there are millions of people who have already in their lives experienced a lot worse.  Ignoring my own advice,  I have lived and functioned in temperatures around 45 below zero, snowfalls exceeding four feet in 24 hours,  winds that reach hurricane force on the warning scale and we go through it without faux concern from talking beauties on CNN. Also, in Alaska, no matter what I personally might have experienced, someone in Alaska has experienced worse.  It is something you learn after a while. So, there East Coast broadcasters, I just went all superlative on your ass. 

It has always bothered me when news people become so self-important that they reach a point when they feel they have to advise people rather than simply inform.  One of the worst examples I have come across happened a few years ago on a day when I went to work at the newspaper and saw that the big display on the paper's website was about how to shovel snow.  One of those things you say way too loud into a silence: "Wow now there's news, teaching Alaskans how to hold a snow shovel."   Not only that but it was accompanied by photos of one of those snow shovels with ergonomically perfect handles.  I had seen those shovels before,  in garbage cans around town after they broke under the loads.  The point is that some reporter and probably a couple of editors thought it was important front page news to teach Alaskans how to hold a snow shovel.  Good grief. 

Anyway, the news today is:  It is going to snow in winter.  You can tell by all the courageous reporters standing outside with a  few flakes flying around them essentially to tell people it is snowing. And, speaking of advice, those reporters are standing out braving the snow and wind, advising people to stay indoors.  Why would anyone take advice from someone stupid enough to stand out in the storm he's advising people not to go out into?  It's all for the drama after all, isn't it?

Frankly does anybody need to be told by a woman more concerned about her makeup and wardrobe on screen who takes it as her mission to condescendingly advise her apparently totally clueless audience on how to deal with a snowstorm in winter.  Please, where is the credibility?  Frankly I would guess most of the people they are talking to know perfectly well how to deal with a snowstorm.

Oh, boy there will be special live all-night coverage of the storm beginning at midnight. 

And then, there's this from my favorite Tweeter: 
Anybody hear what the weather's gonna be like this weekend?

And, please.  Nothing I have said here is in any way meant to minimize the force of the storm or the danger, nor to make fun of the people who are experiencing it.  Believe me, we who have been there understand fully and are with you in spirit.

1 comment:

  1. do we shovel snow?

    Best quote of the day so far: "...courageous reporters standing outside with a few flakes flying around them..."


Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve