Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowmeggedon (2)

They were right. It's a real old-fashioned blizzard. I had to shovel a couple feet of snow off the back deck at 5AM so the dog could do her thing. But I'm still grumpy about how the local media handle "big weather".

Apparently, the operative presumption is that we are very, very stupid people, incapable of foresight or the capacity for rational action. This assumption explains why we are inundated with inane stories in the local broadcast media about being careful on the roads, carrying several weeks’ supply of food and water with us if we venture out, and the general nannyism for which Madison is famed.

A cell phone with a charged battery pretty much covers it these days. Unless you’re stuck in a line of traffic on the interstate and goin’ nowhere for 12 hours. Or, did they fix that problem?

Five minutes of watching TV this morning was enough to terrify the weak-minded.
Whenever there’s snow coming - and these days, EVERYTHING is a “storm” - the cycle begins long before the weather portion of the local news broadcasts. In the case of a storm like this one, which really is a storm, it becomes elevated to an “event”. One of the local stations transitions to STORM MODE; one of the others drags out that tired old story about taking bottled water and candles in your car.

Yesterday early afternoon, one of the local newsies was posting on one of his social media sites that the ante had been upped to EIGHTEEN inches of “the white stuff” on the way. I posted that I’d heard it was going to be 42 inches.

Confessing that I am an old curmudgeon with no tolerance for being talked to like I’m a moron, I acknowledge that the broadcasts are not targeted to me. These four-act plays they run every time the sky clouds up in the summer or a snowfall of more than 2 inches is expected tire me. It’s like a meteorological version of The Damnation Of Faust (with apologies to Berlioz).

First they seduce and abandon us (like poor Marguerite); then warn us of the demons and spirits that lurk in the storm; and then they redeem and save us.
I believe all the good folks really care about is whether or not their kids’ school is open, and when the snow will end. I’m just going to go ahead and assume that plows are out and it’s dicey out there. It would be news if plows WEREN’T out and roads were NOT horrid.

If I was in charge, I’d send camera crews out into the storm in old beater cars to CAUSE wrecks. There’d be some dandy video! I’d have them ride along with the plow jockeys and be sure the camera is rolling when some idiot pulls out in front of the plow. Colorful audio there, no doubt.

I’d have the reporters stake out the entrances to ER’s, lying in wait to catch some fat old fart like me coming in on a gurney after attempting to shovel too much snow at once.

Instead of a “live blog” - which is really a chat, not a blog - I’d have some young reporter try to hack into the e-mail server for the National Weather Service, to see what they really knew - and when they knew it - about the “blizzard”. Be more interesting than the “live blog” for the socially inept.

I’d send somebody over to Edgewood or the UW to find a sociology professor who could assure us that the “blizzard” is having a disproportionate affect on the poor and minorities. Now that’d be really “Madison”!!!!!!

But, that’s why I’m not in charge. I’d have waaaay too much fun with this “deadly snow event”.


  1. Best moment so far: Ch 3 "live blog" being hyped on 10 pm newscast, and question from viewer - "Will trash pickup happen tomorrow?" Answer: "We're looking into it."

    Barry (not the Alvarez)

  2. Umhhh...

    Drove to and from Madistan yesterday afternoon/evening. NO problems westbound around 5:00 PM, but a slow (45 MPH) return trip.

    Worst county plow-job?

    Waukesha County, by far.