Sunday, October 28, 2012

What Comes First - the Earthquake or the Aeroplane?

In what is fast becoming a rather unwelcome rite of late October in these parts, those of us here in the State of Concrete Gardens are battening down our collective hatches in anticipation of Mother Nature's anticipated delivery - whether we want it or not - of a rather large, unpleasant weather system.  The Weather Nerds in the local media have dubbed the coming event "Frankenstorm" in recognition of its juxtaposition to Halloween.   Imagine their horror were it scheduled to arrive in time for St. Swithun's Day.  The struggle to name it would be daunting at the very least.   Perhaps Sebastian Junger would be consulted?

My single favorite aspect of the way in which local television crews cover severe weather is the manner in which the people running the stations appear willing to sacrifice on-air talent in order to get the most spectacular footage to show to their viewers.   Each station's meteorologist - including my favorite Lonnie Quinn of CBS-2 - be sent out into the breach to report on the weather as it is happening all around them.  An interesting quirk in TV news is it not that when the weather is atrocious the weatherman/woman is dispatched out into it so that he/she can show it to us as they give us the forecast but no such visual aid is deemed necessary when the forecast calls for sunshine and 58 degrees?  On a sunny day we the viewer do not need any visual confirmation of what we are being told regarding the weather but on a bad weather day "Proof of Rain" somehow is required? 

It is of course not simply the meteorologist who gets sent out into the weather but every third piece of on-air talent as well.  Last October I cannot even begin to estimate how many members of the local stations' on-air staffs we saw on our television including those who seemed willing to hurl themselves into harm's way just to tell us what the pictures being broadcast had already conveyed to us most effectively:  there was some bad shit happening out there.  It is as if we have raised a generation of tele-journalists who - having little desire to report from one of the too damn many battlefields on which American troops are presently engaged - are working on getting their "real journalist bona fides" dodging snow plows and doing the dog paddle.  To me it makes as much sense as having the sports anchor give his report from the Giants huddle or behind the Rangers goal - while wearing full uniform of course - or the entertainment reporter give her report while flying on the trapeze at the circus. 

This too shall pass - although it might be in these parts through Halloween on Wednesday.  If you and yours live within the geographic boundaries of the affected area - which would be anything shown on this map

then I hope that other than inconvenience, Frankenstorm brings no other bad tidings to your door.  Forewarned is forearmed.  Be prepared.  Stay safe.  Regardless of what Michael Stipe says, it really is not the end of the world as we know it.... is just the end of October, Jersey style.


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