Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ready, Set, PANIC!

We’re having a weather event here. Sorry for all of you who woke up this morning to just plain – well – air and elements. Might as well just go back to bed, put away your fancy clothes and wait for a weather event – one is bound to come your way.

Since Monday afternoon the local and networks news whores have been carrying on about snow and ice and rain (and lions and tigers and bears) Oh My!

We’ve had a record low snow fall this season so I understand the excitement – how wonderful to be able to show video of kids sledding, dogs frolicking and big manly men shoveling. That’s fun. BUT NO …

Instead we have been regaled with watches, and constantly admonished to pay attention – these watches are going to be upgraded to warnings any moment now! Within seconds of the first flake they began interrupting with “Winter Storm Watch Bulletins”. The ominous opening music alone is enough to make you run for cover. Then Anchorman Andy appears – all stoic and concerned to introduce Weatherman Wally who is so excited he’s practically humping his pointer as he crawls across the green screen.

“Potential for 2 to 4 inches of snow” – Holy crap! – will my roof hold the weight!?

“As the temperatures dip roads will freeze” – wow – he’s a scientist too.

“When the snow/ice/rain line moves north the southern part of the viewing area will experience rain” – would you believe I had to think about that one!? Swear – I thought it was so obvious that I must be missing something.

During the regular evening broadcast they open with shots of wheels spinning and promise to tell us of “tons of accidents on the roadways” but first we have to let them cover the story of the man who tried to kill his shrink with a hammer.

And the irony is lost on them that, immediately following the advice to "stay off the roads, stay off the roads", they tell us to run out and buy a Megamillions ticket. Jackpot's up to 132 million! risk it, risk it.

Ya know – if you’re going to preach fire and brimstone and warn of the end of my driving world then at least go all the way. I want a gospel choir. I want a preacher in full robes dancing in front of the weather screen shouting Hallelujah and telling me that I will indeed go straight to hell – soon as my tires hit Route 35, right by the Dairy Queen.

I stopped counting the number of times I was told to drive slowly. I think I’m safe in saying that anyone stupid enough to speed through icy roads isn’t watching the news so stop preaching to the choir Weatherman Wally. Or – bring out the freakin’ actual choir.

I understand the need to inform people – flights are delayed, spouse might be running late, night school might be cancelled, morning classes might be starting late … that’s what the news is for. BUT NO …

Carry on like a lunatic and be as scary as possible. It’s not as if daily life is stressful; why not rile people up a bit. After all if you get them feeling that the world is coming to an end they’re bound to tune in to find out exactly what time they should kiss their asses goodbye.

I guess you figured out I’m no fan of the mainstream news media – I blame them for dropping the ball on Iraq, for misinforming people during a critical election year, for pandering to ignorance and fear - and not just Fox – at least with Fox you know you’re getting ignorance and fear.

But this is the weather, just the weather. When I traveled for my old job with The Evil Empire Corporation I would wake up in Chicago to hear “9 degrees at the hour, 6 to 8 inches expected by noon, have a great day” In Minneapolis I fell asleep to “wind chills as low as -28 tonight, tune in beginning at 5 AM for updated news, weather and traffic, have a good night”

What the hell happened!? Is everything a crisis? How do we really know when to react if there’s nothing but hysteria? And stop trying to make the weather interesting or entertaining. Just tell me so I know what to wear and I know what roads to avoid.

I know I’m barking at the moon! The media is so out of control and the handful of corporations that own it are so huge and greedy that it will take an ACTUAL REAL force of nature to blow it all down.

And they’re powerful, omnipotent even – this morning I had very, very bad thoughts about Weatherman Wally. Then I left for an appointment and when I came back to my car, to rush home before the yard floods into the basement, my car was dead! Dead! Killed I assume by secret operatives devoted to Weatherman Wally and his ilk.

From now on, regardless of how gorgeous my hair looks, I am putting my tin foil hat back on whenever I watch the news.

Wally is one scary dude!

What did Wally say to do? Clear the windshield? But Megamillions sales close in 5 minutes - I'll just careen out of here at 50.

Evidence of me shuffling aimlessly around my driveway, caught in the panic of this winter event. And yes I have big feet - they help me carry my big boobs.

My pool deck and my shrouded patio - just calmly waiting for summer.

But until then, look how lovely ordinary objects become when covered in snow. Perhaps on my next date (who am I kidding) I will arrange some lovely snowflakes in my hair, and cascade them down my shoulders.

Weatherman Wally will be so disappointed! Look at my clear driveway. And it's 50 degrees out so that's not black ice, just a shadow. But wait ... what's this I see?

...a remnant of our weather event? Who knows what danger lurks in my mulch.


Michael Manning said...

Dianne: Ah, yes. Memories of taking hot pans of water to throw across my windshield and frozen door locks; the pleasure of a 4 cylender as opposed to a big V-8 that takes forever for heat to come; black ice and freezing temps...all a distant memoiry now in the desert!:)

Jay said...

On the local news they actually spend more time on the weather than they do on news or sports. It's crazy. It's weather porn.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand they're wrong A LOT.

When I lived in San Antonio it was fun to watch in the winter though. If it was raining and the temps got near 32 they would cut into programing to let us know the world was coming to an end.


hahaha ;-)

SnoopMurph said...

Okay, you are funny, I am splitting a side here. I remember watching the news in NY (sadly,as a teacher, the more hype, the more excited I got for a snow day) and you are totally right.

Of course, I have to say, now that I live in Phoenix-any kind of weather disturbance rates as big news...a drop of rain (lots of rain=chaos) and tomorrow is supposed to be 60 degrees and windy. Brrr! They are bracing us, since it will be "considerably colder" than today which was about 78 degrees. And again, sadly my Arizona blood thinks 60 is chilly.

I love the photos, btw. Great post!

Raven said...

Very funny and so very true on all counts.

I won't even listen to news any more. Besides weather hysteria, there seems to be a general hysteria about all the things that we don't need to worry about and no hysteria about the things we SHOULD worry about... and they basically silenced the wonderful voice of my beloved Dennis Kucinich who has so much to say and didn't get heard.

This country is a mess and the media is a big part of it. And you managed to say that and make me laugh at the same time. Good work.

CG said...

I thought it was only the British who got in a panic over weather of any sort!! Here, two days of sunshine in a row and there is talk of our country frying in a never ending, death-causing heatwave. Snow (even a few flakes) causes blind panic and the entire country staggers to a halt. I love those "only drive if your journey is really necessary" proclomations! Does anyone drive just for fun in treacherous conditions?

bobbie said...

Good morning, Dianne. I love your pictures and your weather report. TV ishopeless. I've given up watching news and/or weather on the networks. NPR and their TV equivalent is the only answer.
We woke up this Vaoentine's Day to a nice coating of sleet. I haven't turned on TV yet to hear if we are all doomed. Well, they'd only tell me about Phila anyway. Down here at the end of nowhere we just sit back watching the panic, then look out the door to find we have little to worry about. Every once in a while we do get fooled.

Have you checked out my meme yet? Three of the six I tagged are working on it.

Odat said...

Oh, I so agree with you on this one!
That's why I try not to listen...but I should have Tuesday nite, when it took me over 2 1/2 hours to drive home from work! lol.

Dianne said...

Stop showing off Micheal - you and your warm weather ;)

Jay: weather porn!! You are the man! This is why I adore you. And I shall steal the term.

snoopmurph - at least you had a goal for watching - a snow day. My daughter-in-law is a teacher - hats off to all the teachers. She taught in NY for years, now here in NJ.

Raven: your words are brillant - couldn't have said it any better - "there seems to be a general hysteria about all the things that we don't need to worry about and no hysteria about the things we SHOULD worry about... "

cg: No we here across the pond are exposed to daily, hourly, moment by moment panic. If they can't find something to scare us with they'll just invent it.

bobbie: "TVishHopeless" another great term. And I will come check out the meme as soon as clients calm down from their morning coffee.

Dianne said...

odat: 2 1/2 hours!! I remember commuting very well. Nothing worse than being hostage in your own car. I felt that way a bit yesterday while waiting for AAA - just sat there with the rain pouring down on the car. I fear I looked a bit like a dog waiting for Mommy to come out of the grocery ;)

Glad you got home safe.

Leighann said...

Our local news outlet actually advertises that they're "here to inform, not scare" *snicker*

And um, so.... how big are your.... feet baby?!

Dianne said...

hey leighann ;) - so the news outlet knows it's scaring people and has decided to run with that - hate to admit it but that is genius marketing.

my -uh- feet are huge baby, huge! Sometimes my shoes can barely contain them.

Shelly said...

News whores, that is so perfect. I'm constantly muttering and talking back to the idiots in the box, my husband laughs at me...I'm glad he finds me amusing after all these years. Love your blog!
Thanks for stopping by mine. :D

Dianne said...

thanks shelly!

I talk back to the box all the time, I even yell. ;)

dollface design said...

hi dianne!
thanks for visiting me and for your kind words about my "headcase" series, i'm glad you like those ladies, they're a sassy bunch!!! i LOVE this post, it's so frighteningly accurate and well written, i hate the damn news "whores" (that may have been my favorite part), either that or the "tinfoil hat", hahaha, i'll start wearing mine too...the news/weather have turned into a hysteria inducing free for all, it's a feat in emotional resilience just to be able to watch the news without wanting to hop out the nearest window...i'm starting to think ignorance is bliss because i simply can not bear being regaled with their stories of the next natural disaster or snowstorm extraordinaire, it's too much...great writing and great read, i'll be back!


Misty Dawn said...

I am SO glad you visited my blog and left me a comment today, because that led me to visit your blog and discover how much I love your writing and how hilarious you are! (although I am jealous that you have big boobs and I have mosquito bites)... Regardless, I think you are C.O.O.L. - so I'm putting you under a "Subscription Watch"... nope, "Subscription Warning" - I am now subscribing to your blog feed - you'll never be able to get rid of me now!

Cindy said...

Amen to that!!

This reminds me of why I chose to live in a warm climate, instead of moving back to Upstate NY!!!

Dianne said...

they are a "sassy" bunch dollface! Perhaps you could design some "tin foil hats" for us - the one I'm wearing now does nothing for me ;)

Misty dawn: thanks so much for all that praise! and I love your blog too. I smaile every time it open up and there's the pic of Maggie Mae (did I get that right?) - she's a beauty. and you're quite funny yourself.

and I second that Amen Cindy, thanks for stopping by!

Dianne said...

how the hell did I spell smile!? this is what happens when I answer comments BEFORE the coffee is ready. Oy!

craziequeen said...

Hi Dianne :-)

Wow, your Weatherman Wally sounds like our Weatherman Wilbur. I reckon the poor guys are so pleased to have actual 'weather' to report that they get a bit carried away :-)

We were promised snow the other week - not a flake....warmest February on record, apparently....

But - Mr's really cold out there...! brr!


mrsmogul said...

I can't wait for the snow where I am to melt!! It sucks and my hands are all cracked!!

Joan said...

It really funny how they report winter weather here in the SE. A "wintry mix" will cause bread, milk, and t.p. to disappear off the grocery store shelves. We got a surprise snow Wednesday night. The media wasn't able to give all their warnings.

Theresa said...

Yep when we moved to California, and they hadn't had rain in a couple months, we had a drizzle, and the reporter where interviewing people about how wet they got. How dumb do they think we are? I can't watch the local news, everything is over dramatized. I am glad to see I am not the only one who feels this way.

...oh I almost forgot I hope you are staying safe in that dangerous storm you had, by the picture I am surprised you even went outside :)

Michelle O'Neil said...

Yes the whole news business is sickening, with weather being the least of it.

I never watch.

kenju said...

News and weather people must all have gone to the same school! The people here are like that too, and it's either because they are serious weather nerds or they are trying to promote job security.

Last Tues., we had rain all day. No mention of snow or ice for our area at all - and guess what? We got about half of what you did.

Lisa said...

oh my gosh. you are hilarious. we laugh about the weather people getting all excited over practically nothing too, so i much appreciated this entry. thanks for the visit and for the laugh!

Akelamalu said...

The mere mention of snow sends me into a blind panic! Thankfully we have had only a dusting this year so far. Thanks for the laugh. :)

Dianne said...

mrsmogul: my hands live in a constant state of cracked - even when it has been a warm winter like this year.

joan: the supermarket was chaos earlier this week. more of that end of the world stuff - and milk, bread and eggs went so fast - guess french toast is really good in a storm ;)

LOL theresa - I know - how brave I was to travel in that - uh - dusting that turned to rain LOL

Dianne said...

michelle: I get more and more of my news from "alternate" sources like NPR and BBC and various sites. it's really just local weather that is left to make me nuts.

kenju: I enjoy the weather nerds, at least they talk about climate and science - it's the self-promoting loons that I hate - oops - should I write that w/out my foil hat on!!?

lisa: hope I can make you laugh again and again - keeps me sane. thanks for the visit as well ;)

akelamalu: dustings are my favorite. I can not picture you in a blind panic - you seem far too grounded for that ;)

Minnesotablue said...

Nothing irritates me more than long winded weather reporters! They have been predicting vast amounts of snow and we've only had a few inches. Yesterday was our monthly retired nurses breakfast and out of about twenty of us only five showed up because of the dour weather predictions the night before!

Dianne said...

that's exactly what I was talking about minnesotablue! they scare people, they exaggerate to such a degree that we end up changing our plans.

sorry about the breakfast - will they do it again?

Minnesotablue said...

Dianne: We do the breakfast every month. Usually eighty percent of our conversation is about the good and not so good Doctors we worked with!!!

Dianne said...

minnesotablue - I'm sure you've heard the joke.

what's the difference between God and a Doctor?

God doesn't think he's a Doctor.

hats off to all the nurses out there - give them my best at the next breakfast ;)

Skittles said...

The picture of your footprints made me laugh!

Dianne said...

ah yes! that was me and my big feet, panic in the driveway LOL