So it's been a bit since I have updated the blog. Sorry about that. I needed a few days away last week. There is quite a bit going on in my life right now...and sometimes you just have to step away from what you are doing to take care of yourself.
Enough of that. There is some feedback from the last week or so to get to. I probably won't do all of it this morning, but will post some today and tomorrow.
From Mark in Decatur (8/22/9):
I read your blog on the funeral home slip up. It got me to wondering what jobs you don't want to hear anyone say "OOPS!"
Definately a funeral home, doctors, movers, constructions workers, airline pilots, waiters and waitresses. Can you add to this list?
Hey, Mark. Yeah...you have a good list going there! I would add the dentist, a therapist, and a mohel!
From Teri in Decatur (8/25/9):
Happy Birthday Greg. I wish you many more and good luck with your journey.
Thanks, Teri! The birthday this year was not one of my better birthdays...but I got through it alright.
From Mary Jo in Decatur (8/25/9):
Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day.
Thanks, Mary Jo!
From Christine in Decatur (8/25/9):
Maslow would be so proud :)
Ha! Thanks for the birthday wish, Christine. And nice pick up on the Maslow reference! Maybe I went too deep on that birthday post...but I tend to get deep during tough stretches of life. They usually offer great opportunity for personal growth.
From Kim in Springfield (8/25/9):
Greg, Good luck with your endeavors for year #36. I believe you are truly a great person. It is good to keep "striving" to be better, but nobody is perfect. I do have to say, I made some major changes in year #36. It was not a "mid-life crisis", but it was a time of reflection. A time that we should make sure we are who and where we want to be in this life. Being truthful, not only to others, but to ourselves is very important. Again, best wishes for the year (and years) ahead!! Cheers, Kim
Thanks, my friend. My #36 is turning out to be a year of huge changes, too. And honestly...year #36 is not going to have to work very hard to get better.
From Avis in Warrensburg (8/28/9):
Sorry I missed your B'Day by a couple of days!!
Hope it was a good day.
Hurry back, we miss you...
No worries, Avis! Better late than never! I'm really not all that into holidays and birthdays, though. I try to think of every day as something special...although that is not always easy.
So I guess there wasn't as much left over feedback as I thought! Now we are all caught up. I can't promise to get on the blog every day for a while. Like I said...there is a lot going on in my life right now, and I won't always have the desire/ability to blog. But when I am up to it I will certainly put some thoughts on here. I will try to keep them as light as possible, but can't make any promises!
I think I will try to be a little introspective on this, my 36th birthday. I've always strived to become a better person, and have generally always kept the "unattainable" goal of self-actualization. To me that means learning myself as well as possible, and fixing those little elements that we all have that sometimes seem a little cracked. My guess is that we will never really get completely fixed...but I think we always have to strive to grow and become more complete people.
Part of that for me has been to always attempt to be honest. I am not talking about blaming some childish act on your brother, or telling someone that you were home at 8 when you actually came home at 11. I am talking about being honest with yourself. We all have moments and situations where it is very easy to mask what we really feel, whether it is to make you feel better, or make someone else feel better. But being honest in those situations can be a very, very tough thing to do. And for me it is even tougher when it comes down to protecting someone's feelings for whom I care a great deal.
But I think that being honest trumps everything. Even in situations where someone's feelings will be hurt...honesty is important. It ends the possibility for misunderstanding a lot of the time.
Maybe I am feeling my push towards middle age a little bit lately. Maybe I am looking back and looking for places where I could have done things a little bit better. I know there are a couple of huge areas right now that stick out for me. And while I may not be able to go backwards and change things...I believe a person can certainly reflect on the mistake and make improvements for the future. That is always in my goals. Honesty, growth, and change will always be possible in my mind.
It's been written (typed) here before that I know the end of this journey, at least as far as our physical path is concerned. My life has taught me unequivocally that...some day...we all end. It's just the way it is. And our job, in my opinion, while we are here is to do something every day that expresses our joy to be alive. It can be a grand gesture...or something as small as telling a stranger that they are wearing a nice hat.
For me...one of my struggles is fighting complacency. It is easy for me to get comfortable and forget to do those little things. I do this with my work. I do this with my play. And I do this in my personal life. I am not big on resolutions, per se. But in the next year of my life I plan to work harder to reach actualization. I will work harder to remember that it is the small little things that make this journey so special. And I will work harder to let the ones closest to me know that they are such a very, very important part of my own personal journey.
There is a group in Champaign called the Champaign Movie Makers. I joined the group when it was started last year. Basically it is a group of people that like to make flicks. Over this past weekend there was a "mixer/party". It was really a cool event. There was live music, Celtic harp, interpretive dance, movies playing that people in the group had made, and even a local improve troupe did their thing.
It was Saturday night. It was filled with a load of talented people. And I enjoyed being there.
I won't be at work this Friday. The radio station where I used to work in Mattoon is having its 20th anniversary this week. All week long they are bringing in former employees to be on the air with the 101.3 WMCI morning crew. My day is Friday...and I am pretty jazzed about it! We will do something different, probably, with "Feedback Friday" this week...just to let you know. But get that feedback in...we will show it sometime this week!
Great weather again today...a little warmer tomorrow and Wednesday...and maybe a couple of storms Thursday and Friday...
I am exhausted and emotionally drained right now...so the blog is short!
I've mentioned here before that my parents owned a funeral home back in the day. I grew up in funeral homes, and around funeral homes. Our guy Larry sent me a link yesterday to a funeral story that is a new one to me! I've never heard of this ever happening. Also...I am amazed that the funeral home did not comment. At that point...they have to say something or they might as well shut down! (I am hoping my Dad will chime in on this one...)
But alas...it is "Feedback Friday"!
From Christine in Decatur (8/14/9):
cu = champaign/urbana
and thanks a million for posting it to your blog! hopefully it will help to get some feedback. i've checked around and it doesn't seem that animal shelters in champaign county have much going on... aside from bark for a cure, which is raising for breast cancer research (another cause close to my heart since i do breast cancer research at carle!) i think they'll be having a few of their adoptables down there helping out :)
Hey, Christine. We will get to some good feedback on this topic next, from a pro when it comes to animals. But thanks for clearing up the cu reference! So cu is Champaign-Urbana, and C-I is Central Illinois...let it forever be such!
Christine and I have been emailing since this ASPCA subject has come up...and since she sent me this feedback she has researched the topic. But here is more on it...
From Tiffany in Woodland (8/14/9):
I just had to comment on the lady who wanted to join/run some ASPCA functions... Please, please, please do your research very well before helping this organization. You know, I'm a vet, and I am all for preventing cruelty to animals... but there are two very nasty, home grown terrorist-y organizations out there that dupe you into giving them money by saying they are for the animals... and those are HSUS and PETA. PETA especially is very bad, and a fact they don't advertise is that they have a 97.4% kill rate at their "shelter" in Virginia. Also, HSUS is mainly out to make money, not help the animals. Read this blog: http://endangeredowner.blogspot.com/ (especially the archives). It'll really open your eyes. I don't know how the ASPCA is, but I'm kinda suspicious of any national "for the animal" organization. I would advise people to help their local organizations first, because you can check out the good they do first hand.
I'd first like to say that the opinion expressed about PETA is that of Tiffany, and not mine! (Will that keep me from getting picketed and from having blood thrown on me??)
Great advice, Tiffany. I did not know about PETA's kill-shelter. That does not seem to fit their charter. I guess it is just like anything else...check it out thoroughly before you get involved! I've emailed back and forth a bit with the original poster...and she has actually done research on the situation. But Tiffany's makes some great points here...
From Cindy in Macon (8/20/9):
Hi Greg, We were out in Wednesday's storms, we had picked up my Mom to take her to pick up her medicine and we just about made it back to her house when all heck broke loose. The winds got really bad and as I looked ahead I could see the big wall of rain coming straight at us. We made it safe to her house but couldn't get out of the car and into the house. We had picked up some food from McDonalds to take back to her house but we ended up sitting in the car for 45 minutes so we at our supper in the car, in the nasty storm and prayed a lot. Mom is 81 so we couldn't even try to get her out until it was over. Thank God there wasn't more damage than what there was.
Wednesday's storms certainly were pretty nasty for a couple of areas. Glad you guys made it through okay. Way to improvise with dinner, too!
From Julian in Decatur (8/20/9:
Whaaaaaat?!?! 50% of $8.35 MILLION? Of course! How did you get my e-mail?! My number is 773-509-5027. You can get a hold of me anytime after 5:00 p.m. Central. I can't wait to hear from you! This comes at such a good time, my mother is very ill and I've been dealing with hospital bills for months, and my income can't keep up! You just made my day!
From: Timi Walton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:22 AM
My name is Timothy Walton. I am making this contact with you based on the need for an individual who is willing to assist me with a solution to a money transfer. Should you be willing to assist us in this transaction? Your share of the sum will be 50% of $8.35million,50% for me. To enable us commence, I will need your personal telephone/fax number.
I await your immediate response.
Nice! Apparently Julian has received a scam email, as well. Nice response, too, my friend!
Now...for everyone else...if you have free long distance service...do yourself a favor and call the number. Guaranteed to make you laugh...
From Donna in Decatur (8/21/9):
Hi! Greg met you on Friday night at C. Sandy is my cousin. Great to on with you. I really enjoy reading Aug 4 blog. That was really cute.
Donna! Great to hear from you. Good to see that you took me up on my advice and sent in feedback! I hope this is not the only time you respond to the blog...
Have a great weekend, all. For some of us it has been a bad week. If you are recovering from the storms...hang in there. This too shall pass...
If you were watching StormCenter17 Today yesterday morning you might have heard me saying that we might get some wind damage with the storms yesterday afternoon. The set up was such that I figured we would get some strong wind out of the storms. And there was a chance we could see some tornadoes, but I rarely mention that on the air because I don't like to hype and get people freaked out.
We did end up with wind damage yesterday...and we also ended up with several reports of tornadoes. We had some homes damaged in a few places yesterday. I have not heard reports of injuries, which is obviously always good. But just because I have not heard reports doesn't mean there were no injuries. ***Just after I posted this...we got into the news. The first story was from Brian Canaday, and he said there were reports of a few injuries. They don't seem to be bad injuries...but I guess if you were one of the injured it is bad.*** If you are a person that likes to sift through information here is a link to storm reports from the storms yesterday: Storm Reports
All in all it was a dangerous afternoon of storms, but it certainly could have ended up being much worse. Getting into this morning we are dealing with that second round of storms we were talking about yesterday. There hasn't been anything nasty with the storms this morning...but there has been quite a bit of rain. We still have some flooded roads, etc. in the area this morning. As always...don't try to drive through it!
After maybe a bit of rain later today, and then again tomorrow afternoon, it really looks fantastic for the weekend.
Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". Get your thoughts/questions/comments/conspiracy theories in now so we can talk about it here tomorrow! Use the feedback form at the top of the blog to send me feedback. If you've read this blog for a while you will know that I post just about everything that you send to me.
Also...you are welcome to sign up for email alerts, also at the top of the blog. That way you will be notified when I update the blog...which is just about every morning during the week, and once in a while on the weekend!
--It could be possible that I did not get a ticket last week in a construction zone. It is a load off my mind, because I thought I might have been nabbed. The thing is...technically I had not hit 55 miles per hour yet. But I was decelerating, and by the time I got to the photo radar sign I was only going 57. Yeah...that is still speeding. But so far nothing has come in the mail. Yesterday I went by the same radar sign and I was hoping to see if it would do the red/blue flashing lights again...but the unit was not even on.
--It's been mentioned here a number of times that I am a music lover. Most any kind of music is on my list, including classical. One of my favorite composers was Mozart. There was a great movie made about Mozart back in the day called "Amadeus". You might have seen it, or at least heard about it. The movie is one of my favorites, and it won a couple of Oscars.
Mozart died in 1791, and no one is quite sure how he died. He was only 35 years old, which actually wasn't an unusual age for someone to die back then. But there are theories that he was poisoned, or died of rheumatic fever. But now researchers believe they know what killed Mozart, and there is a decent chance that you have had the same illness. I know that I have had it before...and I did not realize that it could kill people.
Here is a link:
Days like this are not really my thing...but one week from today is my birthday. Celebrating holidays and "special days" is not something I am really into...but I thought you should know a week in advance so you can have time to get me a present. You know...if you are so inclined...
Got some feedback on the ground breaking newscast yesterday morning. Here it is...
From Sharon in Decatur (8/17/9):
Is the "stuff" in the lower right corner new? I've never noticed the temp there before.
Nope! The time and temp has made occasional appearances over the years.
From Elizabeth in Decatur (8/17/9):
Greg - Looks like the morning news is using the fancy set today. Eliz
Nope! We use that fancy set just about every day!
From Kristen in Maroa (8/17/9):
Hi there Greg. Sorry to hear about your stroke of bad luck with the championship jug and then oversleeping. It happens. Anyway, the only thing I seen that was any different was the McCafes. Is that it? Live advertising???
DING DING DING!!! That's a winner!
From Phil in Cissna Park (8/17/9):
What's new in the news seems to be the McBrews!
DING DING DING!!!! We have another winner!
From Connie in Pana (8/17/9):
Greg Were you drinking coffee this morning is that what the difference was?
I noticed everyone had cups.
DING DING DING...YET ANOTHER WINNER!!!
Yesterday morning we did some "product placement". You see it all the time in the movies. And yesterday morning, to the best of my knowledge, was the first time it happened during the local news in the C-I. McDonalds brought us some McCafe coffee and Lattes. They were actually really good.
Next season the WNBA will have corporate logos on their jerseys where the team name used to be. And the team name logo will be much smaller and pushed over on the front of their jersey. Like it or not...it won't be long before the NBA...MLB...and even the NFL...are doing the same thing. In today's economy everyone has to try to get every penny of revenue you can, and we are no different. Soccer has been doing it for a while, and of course NASCAR has always done it.
Now...I don't know if we will do the McD's thing again...but it certainly would not surprise me. I don't know, big picture, if that is good or bad...but I do know that the coffee was freaking good!
--If you are/were paying attention this morning during the news you might notice something that I believe is a first for local news in Central Illinois. To my knowledge no one has done what we are doing this morning, at least around here. I am not sure how I personally feel about it...but personal's got nothing to do with it. We are told to do...so we do. And in this economy you have to get your scratch where you can.
I am not going to tell you this morning what this new "thing" is. I want to see if anyone notices. Given the fact that most of you don't start reading this blog until after 8 on any given morning I would be surprised if I get many pieces of feedback telling what this "thing" is. But I would still like to hear from someone that catches it. So if you watch this morning and catch what I am talking about...drop me a line and let's see if you are right!
--So I woke up about 45 minutes late this morning. I'm not sure what happened...but I think I turned off my alarm without realizing it. Isn't it great waking up and right off the bat getting that kick of adrenaline?? I managed to get in an abbreviated shower, or a "hooker shower" as the kids sometimes like to call it, and still made it to work with enough time to get everything ready this morning. But I have been in "go mode" ever since I freaked out seeing that clock when I woke up this morning.
--I have purposefully not mentioned the health care reform debate on this blog. The reason for this is that I honestly don't quite grasp it yet. Does anyone? Can anyone separate the fact from propaganda on this one??
--Over the weekend I got together with the guys from the one big fantasy football league that I have done for over a decade. One of the trophies from this league is a jug that has all of the winners on it from every year. Well...stupid me...someone handed me a bat and I accidentally broke the championship jug. I wasn't even doing anything big with the bat. I just tapped the side of the jug with the bat...and the freaking jug broke. I needed to post this to the blog because many of the guys read this blog. Sorry, fellas. I am looking for a replacement even as you read this!
There has been construction all Summer along Interstate 72 between Decatur and Champaign. This is the road on which I drive every day. Lately you might have noticed the signs along construction routes that tell you how fast you are going. There has been one on my way home from work for a couple of weeks now. It was placed shortly after the sign telling us the speed limit is 55 mph, and a fine is at least $375 for speeding.
Generally the radar sign shows people slowing down. Honestly...most of the time when I pass it I am between 60 and 55 mph, and hit 55 just as I pass the sign. I don't speed through construction zones because it is stupid, careless, and could be expensive.
Yesterday on my way home it was the same scenario, with one difference. As I passed the sign I looked at my speedometer and it said 57 mph. I looked at the radar sign just to check for accuracy...and all I saw were to flashing bars where the speed would usually be. One bar was red, and the other was blue...just like the lights on a cop car.
So what does that mean?? Should I expect a ticket in the mail soon? I was technically 2 miles over the speed limit...but decelerating quickly to 55 mph, just like every other time I have passed that radar sign.
From Christine in Decatur (8/7/9):
I, for one, wouldn't be able to get around the CU without the navigator that is programmed into my phone. This, too, isn't an action that is banned under this new "law." What's to stop me from pulling up my navigator if I get pulled over for texting? Or what could stop a cop from giving me a ticket anyway? It's a nice idea in principle, but not in practice. I guess we'll just have to see.
Yeah...time will tell, Christine. But to further your point about switching what is on your phone while getting pulled over...let's talk about texting. If I send a text, and an officer pulls me over, I can easily delete that text without the officer knowing before we both get stopped and he/she gets to my window. Then the only way to know if I was texting is to tap my cell phone records. And the only way for an officer to legally do that is to get a court order. So is that officer really going to waste the court's time to get a warrant just to prove that I sent a text while driving? Possible...but it is hardly practical or enforceable.
In theory it would be nice if everyone would give their full attention to the task of driving while behind a wheel. But that is not reality. People talk on their phones...change radio stations...eat...do makeup...and even read while driving. None of these things SHOULD be done while driving, but they are. So how can you single out texting while driving when all of these other distractions exist? I am not suggesting that make it a free-for-all. I am actually suggesting the opposite.
Make it illegal to do anything but drive when you are driving. If a cop sees me put a burger to my mouth when I am driving...give me a ticket. If a cop sees me focusing on my radio buttons too much...give me a ticket. Maybe after a few years of that people will start to be more responsible?
Otherwise I think you have to admit that you really can't legislate against stupidity, and accept that some people just don't care. Sometimes bad things happen...and you can't control everything.
Just my opinion. Ban all distractions, or ban no distractions. Anything in between just doesn't seem practical to me.
From Sarah in Macon (8/7/9):
Long time fan, first time blogger. Just wanted to let you know that you are the highlight of my morning every weekday! You are a fantastically funny meteorologist, and you are great at your job. My husband and I agree that you are the best part of WAND, and we get upset when we don't see your face in the morning. That being said, you deserve days off just like everyone else. We hope you never leave the station, because we would have far less reason to watch the forecast. Thanks so much for being an entertaining weatherman! Hope to meet you at the Celebration this weekend!
Heh. Thanks, Sarah!
To begin...the fact that you can be a long time fan just means that I have been here forever and I am old. I am a fantastically funny meteorologist because I don't really know squat about the weather, and use humor to try and cover up that fact. Okay...maybe I still have not learned how to graciously accept a compliment! :-)
Really, Sarah...thanks. I appreciate the good words. Did you stop by the Celebration tent? I hope you did. But if not...there is always next year!
From Judy in Findlay (8/10/9):
Greg - this is the first time I have written to you. I have been reading your blog for several months, however.
Recently, I have been reading Thomas Friedman's book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." In the book there is a chapter called: "Global Weirding" and in there is a discussion about comments from Heidi Cullen. She has suggested that local meteorologists, such as yourself, should "educate themselves on the science of global warming." She continues that you then owe your audience a discussion of "peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy." I would like your comments on this position. Do you concur? What would your forecast time look like if you spent some time discussing the science between some of the weather patterns, particularly those that seem "unusual?" Thank you in advance for your response.
I think Thomas Friedman has been on "Real Time with Bill Maher" before, even hyping his book. Seems like a good read.
Wait...did someone just ask a serious question??
Okay. Here is a serious response. Heidi Cullen is certainly allowed to share her opinion. I happen to disagree, though, and for a reason that might surprise you. I do not disagree that our planet is going through, at the very least, a warming trend. The hard numbers do not lie. But I do not think it is an issue for local meteorologists to include in our weather segments.
First...the entire issue has become too political. If I did, say, a "global warming forecast" the phone would ring off the hook. Half of those calls would be positive, and the other half would be screaming at me for talking out of my butt, cause global warming does not exist.
Second...no one knows for sure what exactly this warming trend will mean for us down the road, let alone in the next few days. What we do is called forecasting, as in...what is to come. With the uncertainty of what is to come from global warming, doing a local forecast would be nearly impossible if you want any degree of accuracy. So including it in a local forecast just would not work.
Third...I do not think we meteorologists owe the audience a discussion of "peer-reviewed science" without political controversy during weather segments because that sounds more like a job for the news department. I don't think it belongs in a weather segment. It's just not what we do. I do think the news department could do a great job of getting some local mets, and other experts, climatologists, etc., and making stories out of it. But leave it out of the forecasts.
Now...I certainly agree that we can do a better job of educating people about this issue, as it is obviously one that will impact all of us. But I do not think it belongs in local weather.
Also, Judy...thanks for chiming in! We love first time feedbackers on this blog!
From Phil in Cissna Park (8/12/9):
Well, Greg....I listened to the whole thing...and I was impressed by this guy's knowledge. Yes, he tooted his horn a little, but I have learned over the years to tune that out of a conversation when it gets excessive. There was also a reference to a "9/11 knowledge beforehand" document that had been deleted.
It's all about the oil, isn't it? If we can extract oil from Alaska and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and haven't....I have a definite problem with that!! And why are companies like Exxon receiving record profits and trying to justify them by saying they are "creating" a way to eliminate our need for foreign oil with new technologies? If we have that much oil in one of our states, our current technology will suffice, and I say..."GET TO IT"!!!
Hey, Phil. If this were a movie...we could just send Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion to defeat this evil Empire that allegedly controls the world. Or we could send Christian Bale to take care of the evil, greedy executives that are destroying things for profit. We could send Harrison Ford to Washington D.C. to ask "How dare you, Mr. President??" Unfortunately this is not a movie...and there is not an easy way for our citizens to get some sense of control over things.
So what do we do? Run for office? Well...the very process to get elected seems to turn even the best of people. You have to bow down to political contributions...and once elected you have to make your constituents happy...which makes you vote based on what gets you re-elected as opposed to maybe what is right. If there is an answer out there...I am not exactly sure what that answer is.
Another from Judy in Findlay (8/12/9):
I was one of the few that took the time to listen to the entire lecture. I found it very interesting. I will point out, however, that the book is not available in print. The second thing I will point out is the other author's book, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" is still in print.
I believe that the lecturer has some very valid points. In fact, as I was discussing with my neighbors this morning, I have a recollection of the oil find at Gull Island. That is a fact (and during the recent national campaign speeches there were some veiled references to the existence of such an oil reserve). There are other books on the market that will confirm some of the other points that were made by Williams.
He certainly is an engaging speaker (but part of that could be due to his training as a minister). For those who didn't watch the video (a) you can turn it on and listen while opening other windows on your computer (which is what I did), or (b) if you have a high-speed connection you can start and stop the lecture and resume at your own pace. I would caution, however, that once you start most people will want to listen to the entire speech.
I believe the speaker has a message. Like you, I believe the lesson is more than the words he speaks. It is certainly thought provoking. If you trust politicians and other industrial leaders, after hearing this you will likely not be as quick to "drink the kool-aid."
Good points, Judy. The guy is shilling a book, but that does not mean what he says is not true. But just because he wrote a book does not mean his words are true. At the very least I found the video thought-provoking. At the very most it angered and frightened me a little bit.
Maybe what we can take from it, as you suggested, is that we need to be more proactive about the world in which we live. Maybe the average American citizen has become too wrapped up in the day to day. With technology being what it is these days, we have access to information on literally anything that makes us curious. Hopefully our world is becoming one that inspires us to become more curious as to how it is being run.
I've said this before, and taken a little bit of heat for it. But I will say it again. The greatest thing about the United States of America is the average citizen. And the worst thing about the United States of America is the average citizen. Whatever the answers to our problems are...I think they boil down to us, the average citizen. We need to be reminded of whom we are, and how much control our Constitution actually gives us over our own lives.
From Mark in Decatur (8/13/9):
I was reading your blog about the American Express credit card article and I have to say I have the perfect solution to the credit crisis: SELF CONTROL!
I always laugh when I hear how people go into debt or rack up bills. When I got my first (and only) credit card, I used a little self restraint and I've managed to accumulate my good credit that way.
The school board should look into a class on teaching the pitfalls of getting a credit card, then there wouldn't be a mess.
No doubt the consumer needs to shoulder the bulk of the blame, Mark. If we as consumers were more responsible there would be no credit crises, presumably. But you also have to lay some blame on banks, and society as a whole.
Banks preyed on consumers. I think they just outlawed it...but when I was in college banks had just started really hitting campuses hard with credit card offers. For my generation there was no education on the responsibilities of credit. So basically you had banks hooking kids into opening credit cards...based on their parents' income...and these kids had no clue about how the cards really work. So you have a generation of people getting out of college with not only student loans...but also starting out with high credit card debt, in many cases. I have friends that had hard times because of this set up.
Our society as a whole is partly responsible because of the standard that is set. Ever watch "Cribs" on MTV? There are a plethora of shows these days that tout a much higher standard of living than most people can afford. You can run up huge amounts of debt just trying to have the right clothes, or rims, etc. Again...it all eventually boils down to a personal choice for the individual consumer. But the deck has been stacked against the consumer.
I think you have a tremendous idea about schools. I've often thought that schools should have mandatory household finance classes. It may be up to parents to teach this to their kids, but obviously this isn't being done in enough homes in this country. So perhaps a class or two in high school that teach more than just how to balance a check book would help keep our country out of debt in the future. Great idea, Mark. Thanks for the feedback.
From Christine in Decatur (8/13/9):
just wanted to throw this your way to see if you can gauge public interest in something... and i know this idea will certainly sway your puppy-lovin heart!!
so i've been thinking about joining the aspca lately... and on their website they have a lot of resources to help communities organize fundraisers for the organization. i wasn't always such a huge supporter of organizations like these, probably because i'm just now getting to the age when you learn not to be so apathetic about the world around you... but this is really something i'd love to run with!! what's your opinion... ya think people in the CU would buy in?
Okay, Christine...I have to ask. This is the second bit of feedback where you have referenced the "CU". Do you mean Champaign-Urbana? Or did you mean to type "C-I", which is how I refer to Central Illinois? I just don't want to be confused about which you mean.
Good on you for trying to get involved in something! And, as you noted, I dig that you want to get into something that helps animals.
Have you checked with our local organizations to see if someone is already doing ASPCA stuff? If not...I say give it a go! The people of Central Illinois are very giving people...and we do love our animals. I should think you would be able to get good support around here.
However...one obstacle could be that there are already a few groups doing these things already. The Macon County humane society...Homeward Bound...and others...already do fundraisers through the year. And in this economy it is tough to get people to give already. But another group may flood the market with too much. Know what I mean?
But I wouldn't let anything get in the way if it is something in which you believe. You also asked about public interest. So...other blog readers...feel free to chime in on Christine's idea. Let us know if it is something you could support! Use the feedback form on this blog, or send me an email with "blog" in the subject line.
I generally do these blogs before the news in the morning, or sometimes during the news in the morning. Yesterday morning during the news we ran a quick little blurb about how American Express and another major credit card were trying to help us in this hard economy by removing the "over the credit limit" fees for their credit card users. While that is great...what we did not report was that American Express ALSO raised everyone's percentage rate across the board. So now when you go over your credit limit you won't get hit with the limit fee...but they will still get their money though the jacked up APR increase.
That story did not originate at StormCenter 17. It was what we call a network story that was sent down from NBC. It is also an example of how journalism has changed since the days of Walter Cronkite. I, t was a simple, quick little hit about credit card companies that probably started with a press release issued by the credit card companies. Which basically means that the credit card companies sent out a piece of propaganda that was meant to spin their rate changes to make them look better...and in today's typical media fashion...no one really dug to look beneath the surface.
I'm not saying that all media is not thorough. There are certainly journalists here, and elsewhere, that bust their humps to get the real story. But that quick and shoddy reporting, in my opinion, has become the norm these days. And I think that quick and easy attitude is how it was so easy for big business to take this country the way that they have.
Now before I start sounding like the guy from Tuesday's video...we've got the Illinois State Fair cranking up. The music lineup looks pretty good again this year. Lynyrd Skynyrd was never the same once Ronnie Van Zant died in a plane crash, but his brother, Johnny, does a pretty nice job. I like that band quite a bit. I am not a Kelly Clarkson fan, but know that she is a huge act. She is a good "get" for the state fair. The Illinois Symphony puts on a good show. Heart, with the Bangles, should tear down the house. All in all...good entertainment!
I don't think I will get to spend any time at the fair this year, but always enjoyed going in the past. One year I went to shoot some video with Scot England. He was the special ring announcer for a wrestling show involving King Kong Bundy. After the event we got to hang out with Bundy and a tag team by the name of Public Enemy. I learned that day that you usually get to do some pretty cool things when you hang out with Scotty England!
So did you check out the video yesterday? Honestly...I am surprised by how many people said that they did not want to sit through an hour of the video. Okay...maybe that did not surprise me a lot. But I know at least some of you did. And I know that some of you literally don't have an hour to sit and watch a video.
But some people just flat out said they were too lazy...and I think that is weak! I suppose it is good that these people can at least admit it! But some of them asked me to break, it down for them. Yeah...right. If you aren't going to take the effort to watch the video...I am, not going to take the effort to tell you what it was about.
I thought the video was very interesting. Whether or not what the guy was saying was true...it certainly makes a person think about our world. I think a lot of what the dude said could be true. It is not all that tough to imagine that a handful of people control the world. The World Bank and the I.M.F. do have a lot of influence. And oil is the true currency of the world. So the people that control the price of oil could certainly basically rule the entire world.
Of course the guy does have some books to sell, as he points out several times throughout the lecture. And his speaking style is a little...self-involved. I thought he spent too much time telling us that what he was about to say was shocking...and not enough time telling us what he had to say.
I think the lecture brings about some larger questions. Is it really a bad thing to have a few people running the world? Is the average human really ready to have absolute freedom? Watch the news anywhere at anytime and you will find examples of why humans might not be ready to handle "freedom". I think as long as the people running the world are at least fair...then it might not be a bad thing.
What would this world do without money? They say it is the root of all evil...and I think they are right. Sure...there have been horrible things done in the name of religion. But think about the bad things that are done every day in the name of money. Souls are sold, people are killed, and planets are destroyed so some people can make an extra buck. I know it is science fiction...but in Star Trek they live in a world without money. People work for the greater good and sense of fulfillment. I wonder if we could ever have a world like that.
Someone sent me an email yesterday with a link in it to a long, long video. The video is a little over an hour long, but it is very, very interesting. Now...I have no idea as to the accuracy or truthfulness of what is on the video...but the video held my interest for the entire 1:15.
The video is of a guy by the name of Lindsey Williams. Mr. Williams claims to have been a missionary that was allowed into the "back rooms" of an oil company in Alaska back in the early 70's. What he talks about in this video, if true, will make you angry. But again...I do not know if this guy is being honest or just full of crap and trying to sell his books.
As always...I will give you the link, and you make up your own mind. And as always...you are more than welcome to tell me what you think using the feedback form at the top of this blog. If there is interest I will probably give you some of my thoughts on the video later this week.
--I had a blast Friday night at the Decatur Celebration. My booth time was from 7 to 8:30, and many of you came by to say hi. It was very cool to finally get a face to go along with some of your names! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!
--My Mom had a birthday over the weekend. Saturday the 8th was the exact day. I don't want to seem like I am bragging...but it is my Mom, so I guess it doesn't matter if I am bragging. That woman has the biggest heart. On her birthday she was out of town...to go to a place that holds many kids that don't have a great home of their own. So she spent her birthday helping some kids that don't get a lot of help in their lives...a, nd if you know my Mom you know that is typical Linda.
--Our ole friend David sent me an email last week about the proposed economic stimulus package. I figured I would share it with you this morning!
Some time this year, we taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus payment. This is a very exciting new program. I will explain it using the Q and A format:
Q. What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy. Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.
Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
Instead, keep the money in America by:
(These are the only American businesses still operating in the US.)
Couple of quick thoughts...the stop lights in the city of Decatur are RIDICULOUS!
I still have a hard time understanding how police are going to enforce this upcoming ban on texting while driving. If I want to make a phone call in my car and need to look up a number by scrolling through my address book...it looks a lot like texting. But that action is apparently legal. Texting will not be legal. So is the officer or trooper going to pull me over so I have to explain what I was doing? That is going to waste a lot of time, and a lot of police man hours. It just does not seem practical to me.
But alas...it is "Feedback Friday"! We get a couple of weeks' worth this morning, because I did not work last Friday...
From Kristen in Maroa (7/28/9):
Are you seriously leaving work AGAIN? How many days did you work this summer??? Just kidding, just kidding. I hope you have a NICE time, Greg! I thought Tara was just getting a chance for some time off too. I hate to hear there is something more. I will keep her and family in my thoughts and prayers.
Dane puppy (Dayzee) is eating my chair, maybe I should just stay home with her a few days? haha :O)
Heh. This might surprise you, Kristen...but I have actually only used 2 vacation days this year. I've had a couple of delayed holidays, and a couple of sick days, and only 2 vacation days. I think it probably feels like more because you like me SOOOOO much it hurts when I am gone! :-)
Thanks for the thoughts for Tara. She is now back...and we are all happy about that!
From Rowena in Assumption (7/30/9):
I have lived in central Il. most of my life. I have heard that you can tell what type of winter we will have by the color of the fury willie worms you see. I would like to know if the worms are light colors does that mean a mild or several winter. I enjoy read your blog as well as JC's. Keep it up.
Great question for this time of year, Rowena. I don't want to seem like I am passing the buck...but for old wive's tales like this a good place to go is the Farmer's Almanac. Here is a great link that hopefully provides you some answers! http://www.almanac.com/blogs/everything/woollybear1
From Teri in Decatur (8/3/9):
Isn't it nice to just stay home and chill sometimes? That is what I did on Sunday and it was so nice. Glad you enjoyed your time off.
Word, Sister! To be honest...during my time off the other week I actually got a little bored, and it was fantastic.
I was talking the other day to a guy at work that has been around here longer than me, and we were chatting about how when you are younger you like to have a lot going on. But as you get older, especially after getting married or "domesticated", you really look forward to not having a darn thing to do. Funny, no?
From Phil in Cissna Park (8/4/9):
Hey Greg! Regarding your blog about sending Vets over 60...though we can all see the humor in it, there is also rationality to it. Take me, for example: I am 60, soon to be 61. I question our ability, so far, to capture Osama bin Laden. Okay, here's a guy...we KNOW where he is...somewhere on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan hiding in a hole. Put an old dude like me over there in a bathrobe and a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers. Camels? I don't ride them I smoke them...and when the Taliban and Al Qaeda get up to see me and laugh, I join them in laughter. After all, a spectacle I'd be, for sure. Osama bin Laden appears from his cave to see why everyone is laughing...I pull a RPG launcher from under my bathrobe and blow him to Allah. After all, he took 228 of my former colleagues away in the Trade Center attacks, it would only be appropriate to arrange his journey for him!
Ha, Phil! If only it were that simple. I still think you should show up to the Decatur Celebration tonight with the bathrobe and bunny slippers.
While the email was meant to be funny, and it was funny in my opinion, I think you are right. There is a certain part of it that makes you think. Now...obviously we can't se, nd grandparents out to fight our wars. But there certainly were good reasons put forth in that email supporting the idea.
From Sharon Nolte in Decatur (8/6/9):
I agree, it is wonderful to have Tara back. I not only missed her on the news, but also on Mon noon when I do the H.S. pets for adoption.
Thanks for chiming in, Sharon! Yeah...everyone that works with Tara is happy she is back. People of substance overcome tragedy...and Tara is absolutely a person of substance.
Sharon is one of the people that come in during our newscasts to show the pets that are up for adoption. Talk about people of substance...all of those people do amazing things for animals on a daily basis. Thank you!
From Sandy in Decatur (8/6/9):
Hi Greg, I haven't posted for awhile because I switched computers & could NOT get signed in until now due to my memory problems LOL. Yes, I now have written down the pertinent info, user name & password, so it's available should my memory fail me ever again. At least I can stay in touch with you on WAND. We'll TRY to go to the C. just to meet you, LIVE & IN PERSON, of course. Not everyday we get the chance to meet a real movie star or, TV Icon like You!! LOL Enjoy your day off work Friday. Happy Trails~
I'm sorry, Sandy. Did you just refer to me as a real movie star and TV icon?? Now that is funny!
I completely understand forgetting your password. Our technology is wonderful in this day and age...but there is a downside to everything. We have to have so many usernames and passwords these days...it's a little ridiculous! But at least you have access to the feedback on the blog again. It is, after all, much more important than having access to your bank accounts, credit cards, etc!
Big weekend coming up! Hit me up at the StormCenter 17 booth tonight from 7 to 8:30 if you want. Head to the fountain and walk around it until you see us. We will be in the same spot we have occupied for years now.
Hope to see you...all!
, Friday night I will be at the StormCenter 17 Decatur Celebration booth from 7 to 8:30. If you are hitting the Celebration anyway feel free to stop by to introduce yourself and say hello. If you send feedback to this blog be sure to mention it to me, and I will likely remember your name. Might be kind of cool to see some of the faces behind some of this feedback!
And speaking of feedback...tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". We will go through your feedback tomorrow and chit chat about what is on your mind. If you would like to get in on the fun just use the feedback form at the top of this blog to tell me what is on your mind. You are free to vent, ask any questions, or just spout nonsense if you like. I won't post anything that is mean to anyone but me, and I have to edit out curse words. But I think just about anything else is open game.
I saw Scot England's car in the parking lot on my way into work this morning. It'll be good to have Scotty back from his tiny vacation. As of typing this I have not seen Tara Barrett, but word is that she is coming back today, too. Really...it will be fantastic to see her back here, as well. I honestly do think the world of both of those people. You can't always say that about the people with whom you work, you know. And I don't take that for granted...
As I finish typing this...both Tara and Scot walked into the studio. Ahhh...good to have the band back together...
Yesterday morning was a pretty busy morning. The storms really kicked in just after we finished the morning news. We had wind gusts close to 80 miles per hour in some places...and you did not have to drive far to see some damage. I haven't heard any reports that anyone was hurt...which is good. But there,, cer, tainly were a lot of tree limbs lying around yesterday!
Mornings like yesterday are always bittersweet. While it certainly breaks up the monotony of a typical morning...I'm always reminded that people could actually be in danger during these storms. It's something I always think about when I am on the air covering a severe weather event. I try not to sound too excited about what is happening. I've been out of town and seen other weather people cover severe weather and they almost sound gleeful. I just find it disrespectful of the process.
Sure...it is fun for us, and for a lot of us the reason we get into weather in the first place. But some people forget that the "exciting" storm we are covering could have just wiped out a family's home. That means that family just lost all of the collected mementos of their life. And that is certainly nothing to get excited about...ever. The actual industry term for this is "weather woody".
We've had people work here in the past that get that way over storms. Fortunately we don't right now. It makes me uncomfortable. I think for a nice stretch now we have a group of people here that understand the mix between our own excitement, and the respect of what is actually happening outside, when we are covering storms. And I like working here because of that.
Honestly...if you follow the numbers for a while now...StormCenter 17 is widely considered to be the best at weather in this market, and it isn't even close. Personally I think that is because we have built trust with you. We do not blow up every little storm into a huge "situation", but when it is called for you know that we will get you through the really nasty situations. Believe me...there are a lot of stations around the country that try to hype up every little storm to try to convince their viewers that they have th, eir best interest in mind. We've talked about storm hypers on this blog before...and you know I don't like them. They do such a disservice to themselves and their viewers by crying wolf over unnecessary situations.
And more honesty...if StormCenter 17 ever gets to the point where we start doing that then it will be time for me to leave. I've hit the point of my life where I understand the bigger picture, and I won't sacrifice what I believe to be right just to have a job...even in this crappy economy. We are the number one weather station in this market, and we got here by blowing out coverage when it is necessary and staying calm when it is not necessary to hype.
It's Central Illinois, after all. We have storms all year long around this area. Here in the C-I we know which storms we can handle and which storms require , a bit more caution.
Today is my brother's birthday. Happy birthday, Steve! (Although I don't believe he reads this blog...my Mom does. So tell Steve he made the blog, Mom!!)
You know how I love to get email from you, blog reader. Someone sent me this one over the weekend. I had to clean it up a bit for the blog...but it made me laugh for quite a while when I read it. The person that sent it is one of our older friends on "Weather...or Not".
New Directive for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!
I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.
For starters: Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.
Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry'. We are impatient and maybe letting us kill someone that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.
An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-gun....'
If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.
Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.
They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training.
Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.
An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.
These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way. &n, bsp;
Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million p'd off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them.
***How about recruiting Women over 50 ...with PMS!!!
You think Men have attitudes!!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh my God!!!
If nothing else, put them on border patrol....they will have it secured the first night!
Share this with your senior friends. It's purposely in big type so they can read it.
Okay. So I did not actually blog during my time away. I did have a great time, tho. I did not do a darn thing. Emily was out of town for her job, and I stayed home with the dogs. Mostly I spent the days outside with the pooches. I only left the house a couple of times...and it was fantastic. The only problem is that now I realize that I don't really want to work or leave the house much at all anymore. Know what I mean? Oh, well. Nothing gold can stay.
Emily was in Florida for a work conference. She was staying in Hollywood, Florida at some hotel. The other night...and you will know this if you are a Cubs fan...she was in the restaurant area...and she saw Alfonso Soriano sitting at a table (with 3 women, I might add). She was with another Cubs fan at the time, so they went over to say hi. They ended up getting a picture with Soriano! The Cubs played the Marlins over the weekend, and stayed in the same hotel as Emily.
That woman has the best luck when it comes to meeting sports stars. She goes on these trips a couple of times a year for her job, and they always stay in warm places. A couple of years ago, the last time the Super Bowl was in Phoenix, Emily was in the hotel gym. She walks out of the gym...and coming down the hall towards her is Ben Roethlisberger. She is not a Steelers fan and barely knew who he was! They exchanged pleasantries and that was it.
Last year, I think, she was back in Florida. The company had taken the employees to a very nice restaurant. While they were dining they heard a bit of a murmur. Emily looks across the restaurant and Tiger Woods was walking through the restaurant with his wife!
Emily is not much of an autograph hound. In the past she has always left these people alone, aside from just saying hello. So I was very happy that she actually spent the effort to get a picture with Soriano. She is such a huge Cubs fan, much to my chagrin. I know she would have been kicking herself if she didn't do anything for a Cub.
This morning I am working with Liz Adeola. Scotty took the day off, and Tara is still with her family. By the way...word is that Tara will be back to work on Thursday, for those of you keeping track.
Working with Liz got me to thinking this morning. I've been at this station for almost 12 years now. I've been doing the morning weather for around 6 years, I think. In those dozen years here...I have worked with a lot of people for their first time anchoring here. This is not the first time Liz has anchored in her career...but it is the first time here.
Do what you will with that information.
I think I will hold feedback from last week to post on Friday of this week. With the short week for me there wasn't much feedback anyway. And of course this Friday begins the Decatur Celebration. I will let you know my "booth time" at some point this week. It looks like it'll be sometime Friday night, so you can come by and say hello if you hit the Celebration Friday.
Also...feel free to sign up for email alerts. The form is at the top of this page. That way you get an email when I update the blog. And of course you are always more than welcome to sound off by sending me feedback using the form above!
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.