Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weather Nannies

Summer is here, and not just because we’re past the solstice. It’s hotter than the hinges of hell, as my late father used to say. It’s Wisconsin. This is not unexpected.

But each year when we get our first spate of hot and humid weather, the nannies come out of the woodwork to warn us about the horrible dangers which face us. They treat us as if we were idiots, slobbering at the mouth and dragging our knuckles on the ground.

My all-time favorite weather nanny is County Exec Kathleen Falk. A couple years ago at a news conference (held to talk about the heat, by the way) she actually stood up in front of the cameras, microphones, and reporters notebooks, and said “Seek cool areas”. Those exact words.

Abusing my privilege as a news anchor, I ran that little clip of audio ceaselessly for days. It pretty much sums up my attitude about people who are constantly telling us how to run our lives, and treating us as if we were imbeciles. I’ll seek advice when I need it, but I don’t need to be told to look for someplace cool when it’s hot out.

Next thing you know they’ll be telling us it gets cold around here, the third week of January.
One of the local TV guys, David George, who seems like an otherwise sensible professional and nice guy (even though he’s from Texas!!!) does a daily forecast on his Facebook page after he does the weather on the 4 o’clock news on Channel 15, and Monday afternoon his Facebook forecast minced no words.

I quote exactly the introduction to his forecast: “Strenuous activities and hard work should be eliminated, postponed, or rescheduled to the cooler parts of the day. Find air conditioning, and use fans for evaporating skin moisture to regulate body temperature”.

Good lord, you’d think the sun had just gone nova and we were about to be blasted with solar radiation the likes of which have never been seen or felt!

But, not that surprising, from a fellow who advised parents to put bicycle helmets on their kids last Thursday night when the storms rolled through.

I’m not making this up.

Even my wife, who has a far kinder nature than I, and understands that these folks are just trying to help, rolls her eyes when they trot out this drivel. I believe she was once castigated by her TV bosses several years ago for declining to do the cliché story they trot out every year at this time, doing a report from the big freezer at Schoep’s Ice Cream plant over on the east side of the isthmus.

So, for those of you who have just moved here from Siberia or the arctic, seek cool areas, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid strenuous outdoor activities - like thinking - during the middle of the day. You’ll get through the heat wave. Stay calm and stay tuned for further updates.


  1. LOL. I don't think I've ever watched TV in a market as weather obsessed as Madison. My other favorite time of year is "first snow." This past year, WKOW spent at least 5 minutes reminding their viewers how to drive in winter.

    Ummm, that would be "carefully." No story here...move on.

  2. Yeah, but Bill, have you ever watched the way people drive after the first snowfall of the year? THAT would be, "like idiots, flagrant idiots." It's like they forget how to do it.

  3. Yeah, but Dustin, they drive that way every year. The only conclusion to be drawn from that is that idiocy is pandemic...and no amount of education by weather forecasters will change things one iota.

    What the weather nannies should say is, "Watch out for drivers with scant appreciation for the physics of snow. You can tell which ones they are: they drive 'like idiots, flagrant idiots'."

    Steve Erbach
    The Town Crank

  4. My pet peeve is the weather map in the corner of the screen that tells us there's a "severe thundertorm" somewhere in the viewing area. Let us know when there's a tornado, but until then take the damn map off the screen.