And so goes June. Hello, July.
On the I-Pod this morning: Crash Test Dummies, "Afternoons and Coffeespoons". That's a song that brings back very good memories. You can never go back…but you can certainly enjoy the memories!
Have you ever listened to WMAY out of Springfield? There is a guy around there in the morning that I email with about every week. His name is Kirk. See…WAND StormCenter 17 does weather for that radio station, so I deal with Kirk about every morning. He's a good guy. Anyhoo…this morning he sent me an email saying he digs the blog. I thought that was nice of him. Check out their website if you get the chance! You can listen to them online! (I've listened to that crew before. In my humble opinion they are MUCH better than that Byers kid out of Decatur. I'm just saying…)
I'm trying not to touch on any big, controversial topics on the blog this week. The boat is settling down for a bit, and I don't want to start it rocking again! But next week I will be coming back from a mini vacation and ready to roll!
Lots of feedback for tomorrow already. Any thoughts? Send them to me by tomorrow morning to make the holiday version of "Feedback Friday"! We are doing it on Thursday this week because I'm out of here Friday.
--Someone mentioned to me yesterday that the blog, while not depressing, has been a little heavy lately. This person mentioned that it would be good to read the blog and laugh again. I'd love to be able to say that things in my life have been heavy lately, and this blog is an extension of what has been happening with me. But honestly…I just can't think of anything funny lately! That's the thing with funny…you can't force it or it doesn't work. It's not that I've been dark or in a bad mood. Funny just isn't there right now.
--I'm listening to "Memory" on the I-Pod right now. I have no qualms what-so-ever about telling you I am listening to Barbara Streisand. And you know what? "Memory" was just followed up by Enya, "Orinoco Flow". I need to get one of those I-Pod cords for the car, cause radio between Mattoon and Decatur at 3 in the morning kind of sucks. And ESPN Radio has been playing some kind of World Cup soccer show…and that just isn't my bag, baby.
--My personal phone is a BlackBerry Curve. It's an older model, and it has seen some action. I say personal phone…but it is the only phone I have. It's not like the station springs for a phone for me. There is just no reason for that. I'm not cool or important enough to have a personal phone AND a business phone.
So anyhoo…my BlackBerry can't pick up a signal in most places I go these days. I've had the phone company tap into the phone and try to fix it, but to no avail. My thinking is that it is time to get a new phone. But my question is this…should I get another BlackBerry or should I get an I-Phone? I'm big into BlackBerry Messenger, and I would really miss it. But I've got the chance to get a 3G I-Phone on the cheap.
Any thoughts? Yeah…you could actually have input into what kind of phone I get next. Stay tuned tomorrow when you'll be given the chance to solve that small issue in the Middle East!!
(By the way…after Enya came Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". And then came Hall and Oates, "Rich Girl". I'm just waiting for Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train". It's on there too…
--So today is our first morning in HD. We actually started our local HD broadcasts over the weekend…one week earlier than advertised. And just in time for HD the air conditioning in the studio isn't working this morning. Thank God it isn't going to be 95 again this week. But even still…under the lights in the studio can get to be a warm place. I hope we can get the AC fixed soon!
--We closed on the house on Friday. It was a strange feeling to be done with that part of the process. Everything went well, though. And I am officially no longer a home owner…for now. It's actually nice to get through that stuff. Now there is only one piece of business left to clear up from "my old life".
--Man. It is getting warm in this studio! I know we usually have it pretty well here. But wearing a suit, shirt, and tie in 90 degrees indoors is not a lot of fun! Plus with HD you will actually be able to see us sweat, provided you have an HD TV set up.
--Just for those of you keeping track at home…this will be a shortened week for me. Thursday will be the feedback day here on the blog. So get your thoughts in early and often!
So my good friend Bill has been yapping in my ear for a few months about Netflix. Bill is a gaming friend of mine, which means we both play video games. And we both have X-Box 360's…and we both have our systems online. Bill has been telling me that by joining Netflix you can watch movies from the X-Box. With my recent move I had been putting Bill's suggestion on the backburner…until yesterday.
All I can say is…WOW…no wonder Blockbuster Video is almost out of business! Now if only I could get my Xbox to connect to the internet!
From Sue in Decatur (6/18/10):
Dude! You are the Weather Master! Great job covering this morning's severe weather. You didn't miss a beat and actually kept the entire viewing area safe without going overboard, like another unnamed Meteorologist, does. Kudos!!
Thanks, Sue! Although you have me wondering which other meteorologist you are referring…but perhaps it is better than I remain clueless!
I try to be careful about regulating my own "rush" of covering storms with the reality that said storms could be hurting people.
From Jeremy (6/18/10):
If a hurricane were to form in the gulf right now with all the oil what would be the impact it could have?
That is a question being asked by a lot of people right now, Jeremy. And while no one knows for sure what will happen…it certainly has brought up a lot of theories. Some think that the water will be warmer from the oil absorbing heat. And warmer water generally means stronger tropical storms. And of course what will happen if a hurricane hits the gulf and picks up that oil? Will it be raining oil?
Unfortunately until it actually happens all we have are theories. I should point out that hurricanes don't form in the gulf, but I'm sure that is not what you meant. And I don't want to bust your chops. But just in case someone misunderstands…hurricanes form over the ocean and then move into the gulf. And it will be interesting, and maybe scary, to see what happens if we get hurricanes there this year.
From Angie in Charleston (6/18/10):
You KNOW what a big fraidy cat I am when it comes to severe weather. I used to watch other channels when it came to weather and I had never paid any attention to WAND until I flipped it on one morning to see you. Now, I don't watch anything else. I LOVE that you guys do the wall-to-wall thing! I generally know that if WAND isn't on, it's not time for me to run screaming. (yes, I know...I shouldn't do that anyway. Poor Bobby!)
You're right, Angie. Reverend Robert deserves to be Sainted! I'm glad that we've helped you get better during storms. It is a phobia that I do understand.
From Pamela in Mount Zion (6/18/10):
Hi Greg, It's Pam from Galesburg. I wasn't going to comment on the who's good and who's not thing but I think that I will. I agree with you about JC. He is awesome as are you and Lee. Laine gets better and appears more comfortable each day. I for one would never want to forecast the weather. That's one of those darned if you do, darned if you don't. That guy, Mr. Complainer, needs to chill. In the mental sense and literal sense, starting today with the increased temperatures. lol Anyway, kudos to you all. Let him try and do your job and we'll critique him on a daily basis. Have a great day. p. s. Tell Tara that her hair looks awesome!
I'm not passing along that compliment to Tara Barrett. She is mean.
Thanks, Pamela! Our weather team is almost as good as watching peeps make a pizza at Happy Joes in Galesburg!! (I know that doesn't make sense…but I wanted to work in a reference that only you and I would get! Big ups for The Burg!)
From April in Gibson City (6/18/10):
Good Morning Greg! I just want to say THANK YOU for the wonderful job you and the whole weather team do during bad weather. I appreciate the constant coverage during tornado warnings, even if it is not for my area. While I may not be in the path of the storm, a family member might be and I want to know about it! I remember a stormy night probably 5 or 6 years ago when tornadoes were predicted overnight for Central Illinois. I watched you guys (I believe it was JC, if I remember correctly) and he was on the air literally non-stop until at least 2 am (that's when my power went out). But I stayed up and watched and it made me feel better, even though I was right in the path of one of those storms. So THANK YOU and keep up the good work!
You are quite welcome, April. For one…we are getting paid to be here. But at the heart of it this is something we all enjoy doing. And not just because it is a nice rush covering severe weather. I've said this here before…but the entire weather staff here has roots in the area. We are all generally from the viewing area, or have at least lived here for decades. So like you…when there is a storm anywhere near us we also prolly have family and friends that will be impacted. So we basically take storms personally, and I think our coverage of storms shows how much we really do care.
Our attitude also helps our marketing department out a lot, too!
From Christine in Decatur (6/18/10):
alright gregory here's the deal... all this talk of the quality of wand has me wondering if anyone else is having my problem...
i grew up with wand (you know, all 25 years), and even switched from "good morning america" to the today show when the network switch came around 'cause i couldn't stand to watch the other guys. so that won't be changing any time soon.
BUT i have to say... its getting really hard to watch the show because the audio and video almost NEVER sync up!! could this just be comcast in the CI or something? is anyone else noticing this? my ocd is not a fan. :)
Uh oh. It's always serious when someone throws out a formal name!
Hmmm. To be honest I have not noticed this issue, Christine. If you are still having issues with it…send this kid an email: email@example.com. Frank is our chief engineer, and he might be able to help you out!
From Gina in Mount Zion (6/19/10):
Greg, Is there a link on the site somewhere that gives current monthly rainfall totals? Sorry if this is a repeated question don't have time to scan through all the posts. By the way I think all you guys do great at WAND on the weather sometime I'd like for you to announce that "Folks today we are going to have weather, rain or shine, not a thing we can do about it" I work in retail and have realized people are never happy about the weather no matter what it's like, I hear it all... to hot.. to cold... not enough rain... to much rain... Geez people WE LIVE IN ILLINOIS, not Hawaii, maybe it's just a vent to not complain about their own lives.. Anyway, keep up the good work we all watch 17 when the weather gets scary..
Check out this link. You can actually change the reporting station, too.
I have said something like that during the weather before, Gina. There really isn't anything we can do about the weather. We can only get ourselves prepared for the impact that the weather will have on us.
From Marianne in Winchester (6/21/10):
Just wondering when a thunderstorm warning or any other NWS item is listed it is stated as THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 366 IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM ...ect...how is the 366 picked? Is it the 366 warning of such type in the state...area...usa? Just curious...thanks!
Each issuing office starts at 1 at the beginning of the year. So watch 366 comes out right after watch 365. Warning 7 comes out just before warning 8, etc. The Storms Prediction Center in Norman, OK, puts out wide-ranging storm watches. The local weather service offices put out the local warnings.
From Joan in Effingham (6/21/10):
oooo - Greg, why were you in Effingham? I was not aware that there was a celebrity in town! (smile) Hope you were treated well...
Hey, Joan! I was in Effingham getting to know some of Faye's family. They hail from "down there". We were treated very well everywhere we went! And you are cracking me up with that celebrity talk!
From David in Decatur (6/24/10):
Hey Greg, old Dave here again. Was very sorry to hear about your grandfather. That will be me, before too long. Well, I hope not soon. You wrote about the blog and what is okay to write. I have to tell you that the same sort of material that I send in to you, got me banned from the Decatur Herald-Review blog. I criticized Gary Sawyer and Dave Dawson, and for this I got booted. I made some comments earlier on the blog that mentioned businesses or names of persons, and they booted for this. I made my case to Sawyer, and he reinstated me. This time I was careful not to make any mistakes, but I wrote an e-mail to Sawyer, and they booted me from the blog. I was not aware of them doing this for e-mails. I think this is wrong. I believe that editing of letters is within their rights, but omitting them completely, borders on restriction of Freedom of Speech. If they say for you to write in and then ban you that is not fair, if you are within the guidelines of decency. But since the H-R is the only game in town, I guess they can do as they please. Glad you got the closing over with on your house. Hope everything else is going smooth. Cody Carter wrote me and told me the lag time couldn't be fixed on the web site, Guess that problem will be filed with moving the feedback section from the Pits of Hell, to a better spot. Funny it was all okay before. Take care, my friend.
Good to hear from you as always, my friend. Thank you for the condolences. And I know that you, like me, have a sense of life and death. So your saying that it will be you but hopefully not soon is taken how you meant it. We can't change the fact that we all die. But we can face it with dignity.
I agree with you about being banned from the newspaper. If they ask for your comments they should be able to handle them. My rule of thumb is if something won't put my job in jeopardy I will post it. And honestly…I even post things that could have cost me my job if The Suits weren't actually cooler than I make them out to be!
The closing on the house is this afternoon. I've been on the buying side of this gathering…but this will be my first foray into the selling aspect. I'm hoping it is as easy as signing some papers and cashing a big check! However…things rarely go that well.
From David in Decatur (6/24/10):
Greg, I just thought it was interesting. I was the one that posted the 1000th vote. I did it when I made the journey to write my comment that I sent in earlier. I am very proud of that.
You should be proud of that, David! For some reason I really enjoy the fact that the blog's most controversial feedbacker is the person that gave the blog the 1,000 5 Star Rating!
Thank you for the condolences. Even when someone has lived a good, long life it is not easy to put him/her to rest. But yesterday was done without a hitch, and we gave the old boy a nice send-off. And of course it is always good to see people you don't see all that often. Isn't that always one of the benefits of funerals? At the very least it always gets a family together. You just hope that is good, right??
Yesterday I did get to meet a Gregorian. Mary in Mattoon is a very good friend of my Grandparents, so she was around yesterday. It was good to meet you, Mary. And I hope we hear from you soon here on the blog! (No pressure there, huh??)
Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". If you have any thoughts you would like to share just use the feedback form at the bottom of the blog. As a general rule I will post anything. But cussing too much will get your feedback bounced. And so will being mean to local people other than me…heh…and some of my coworkers!
You are also welcome to sign up for email alerts, also at the bottom of the blog. That way you will be notified when the blog has been updated. It is also the way that I keep in touch with you when the blog is down, or suspended, or whatever. And I try to give you a little something special in the email alerts!
And of course we are still collecting 5 star ratings at the bottom of the page, too. The goal was 1,000 by the end of the Summer. But we just about hit that goal at the beginning of the Summer.
After spending so much time with family lately I am emotionally drained…again. So this is it for now. Catch you tomorrow for "Feedback Friday"! By the way…tomorrow I also close on my house! Life goes on…
2/14/25 - 6/19/10
I got to watch an impressive lightning display on my way into work this morning. We've had a couple of strong thunderstorms in the area already this morning. This afternoon could bring some strong storms again. Seems that we've had storms for weeks now, doesn't it?? I was in Effingham for the weekend, and each night we had a couple of loud storms. Fun stuff!
Unfortunately the storms this morning are keeping me busy. The blog will be short today! If I get the chance later in the morning I will update things around here…
At 6:15 this morning state po po in Piatt county reported a funnel cloud. We had a nasty storm move through...and a tornado warning was issued. It is this station's policy that we go "wall-to-wall" during any tornado event. Our main focus at this station is weather, and when the weather is bad you really can count on us. That is not just something we say to promote ourselves. Those of us that have been here for years pride ourselves on being the best at weather.
Some of you noticed that there wasn't a blog update yesterday. I decided there wasn't much to chat about yesterday so I left the blog alone. It wasn't because of a down or dark mood. It just wasn't happening yesterday. I will quote Chicago…"Everybody needs a little time away…"
Lots of weather-related feedback from this week. Could it possibly be because it's been raining seemingly non-stop for weeks?? (Right now some literalist is freaking out because it has not literally been raining for days on end. To that person I say "Lighten up, Francis!")
I've been a Lakers fan since I was a little kid. Happy to see the Lakers win their 16th NBA title last night. Kobe Bryant now has 5 titles. You have to put him in the top 5 players of all time now. And I would love to get some feedback arguing that point! Here are my top 5 all-time:
1) Michael Jordan (No Brainer)
2) Kobe Bryan (Great offensive numbers, great defender, multiple champ)
3) Magic Johnson (Great offensive numbers, good defender, multiple champ)
4) Larry Bird (Okay…Magic and Larry are interchangeable. They're very close in my book.)
5) Kareem Abdul Jabaar (Tremendous offensive numbers, good defender, multiple champ.)
I know…Wilt and Russell. Wilt was a great offensive/defensive player and Russell was a great defensive players with multiple titles. But Wilt didn't have titles, and Russell didn't have great offense. They would be 6 and 7 on my list. I'd have Jerry West at 8, I think.
From Scott in Virden (6/14/10):
I hear your news is going HD in July. Congratulations!
I know Dawn said the pictures will be clearer and we'll be able to see you better. But doesn't that also mean we'll be able to see wrinkles, grey hairs, bags under your eyes and double chins easier?
And hey, it may be just a rumor, but is it true that your cameras are going to the Smithsonian? Oh well, maybe it was just a malicious rumor.
It is true, Scott! As I mentioned here the other day I am not sure of the exact date, but around the first of July is what I am hearing. And yes…it certainly will expose some of us a bit more than we would like!!
Does the Smithsonian pay people for their stuff? If that is the case I would say this station will probably jump at the chance to give them some of our old cameras!
From Nina (6/14/10):
Can you explain why when the NOAA radio goes off and I turn to 17 they interrupt to go to a commercial or don't even acknowledge the radio at all.
Sure, Nina. The answer to your question depends on a few things. Where do you live? Which counties are in the watch/warning/advisory that is setting off your radio? Without knowing where you live…it could be that the weather issue setting off your radio is not for one of the counties that we cover in our viewing area.
But let's assume that you live in Decatur, Champaign, or Springfield, for instance. When your radio goes off it means that the national weather service has issued a weather alert for a various reason. The NWS sends out alerts for a host of weather concerns. Some of these weather events compel us to cut into programming, and some do not. And it is a case by case basis, usually. The only issues we don't question whether or not we break into programming are severe thunderstorm warnings, and tornado warnings.
So let's assume you live in the viewing area, and your radio goes off because of an alert in our viewing area, and that alert is for a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning. The radio goes off and you immediately turn to us, as we are always saying you should. But we are not covering the storm…yet. Chances are good that we soon will…so just sit tight and you will likely see us soon. If you do not see us then chances are good we have decided that the situation does not warrant wall-to-wall coverage.
We almost never acknowledge that the radios have gone off because we do not use radios to get our weather alerts. During nasty storms we are almost always in direct contact with the National Weather Service, and we get their alerts in a different manner.
Hope that answers your questions. If not…hit me back and we can try again!
From John in Dalton City (6/15/10):
Hi Greg. Weather question for you. Why does Oregon not have thunderstorms? They have lots of rain but extremely rare to see lightning or hear thunder.
Eastern Oregon has more thunderstorms than the coastline of Oregon. While I am no expert on the climate of Oregon…my guess would be that there is not usually enough of a temperature difference in the atmosphere over Oregon to get storms going for most of the year. Oregon is on the coast…and to the north where the air is much more consistent. With a much more stable environment you don't get the "lift" necessary for thunderstorms to develop.
Again…I am not an expert on Oregon weather specifically…but if I had to guess that would be my answer!
From a Gregorian (6/16/10):
Yesterdays blog was very interesting, and informative about the Years Total of rain and snow we have had since the beginning of the year.
This may sound dumb. But how do you truly measure the snow when it drifts sometimes? When I leave my rain gage out over winter and it drifts the snow in it is banked to one side. It's only 6 inches deep unlike some of the higher ones I have seen. I would like to see this done more on the blog of the year's totals. Maybe your Gregorians would also want to see it more often.
You bring up a great question about the snow. It is an estimation. We try to find the snow level in the middle and let it rip. I've often said that people would be a little disconcerted to know how much of our rain/snow totals come down to estimations. And going into weather records gets even more sketchy. It's a great idea to take these things with a grain of salt.
Human negligence and error are not even the biggest culprits with these inaccuracies. Have you ever had an inch of snow at your house, and looked across the street only to see that they clearly had a lot more? Different parts of town have different amounts of snow during a snow storm. So when you see snow totals anywhere…not only here…take them with a grain of salt. Think of it more as: "Okay…this is roughly what the area got". It cracks me up when we get phone calls from people that want to know how much rain or snow THEY got at their house. The only way for them to find out for sure is to measure it themselves.
I don't do more of that kind of thing here on the blog because it is not something I am into that much. Climatology to me is "dead weather". I will hit it once in a while when it is news worthy. But for the most part I choose not to linger on it. However…JC does do a lot more climatology on his blog than I do. So if it is something you want to see you should check out his blog. And if he isn't updating it enough for your taste then send him feedback riding his butt about getting on his blog more often! (That was for JC…he reads this blog, too!)
From Mark in Decatur (6/16/10):
I read your blog about your hesitation about the switch to HD.
My suggestion is get Tara or Laine to let you borrow their makeup, or tell the camera operators no close ups.
BTW, is Lee on vacation? Haven't seen him for awhile, was just curious.
Hey, Mark. I don't know if Lee is on vacation. But he has not been at work this week, as you said. His time off was planned, though.
Everyone that works on camera already wears makeup, Mark. We've recently been going through make up consultations with Merle Norman to get ready for HD. I am not sure why the station chose Merle Norman…but the people with whom we have been working at Merle Norman are nice enough, and the station picks up the tab for the make up.
Here is the bottom line on this HD business. It basically is changing the way we do everything. It will change the way we look on air. It changes the way the technical people like directors and tape operators and camera operators do their jobs. It changes the way everyone does everything. So with that will come a "breaking in period". Some things will be thrown against the wall to see what sticks. It's just the way it is. There isn't time to get in boat loads of practice. This will be a process, and hopefully not a painful one!
That's it for now. It's getting hot around here! Have a great weekend…
Over the next couple of weeks if you are watching WAND you will most definitely see promos talking about our big switch to HD. I am not sure exactly when we will officially start doing HD…but I think it will be around the first of July. And I also am not sure exactly how true HD we will be. I am not a huge videophile. I know enough about video stuff to know what HDMI cables are, and to have them hooked up to everything I use at home. But I know that many stations that claim to be HD are not truly HD. And I am not sure where we fall in that conversation.
What I do know is that it could be nerve-wracking to know that our picture will be much clearer than it has ever been to someone watching on an HDTV! For me personally…aside from a year or two of teenaged angst my face has fortunately been relatively clear. I did not have to go through acne, although I did have my share of zits back in the day. However…every couple of months I have to live through an ingrown hair or two, mostly around my nose. And when those bad boys flair up they are like beacons. So I can't wait until one of them decides to hang out on the tip of my nose for a few days when we are HD. They are big enough, and red enough, that makeup doesn't quite cover it!
At StormCenter 17 by this time of the month we generally have around 2.06 inches of rain in the ole rain gauge. I just checked this morning, and as of midnight last night/this morning we have had 6.74 inches of rain so far this month at the station. That is ridiculous. And we may get more rain today and again on Friday.
Generally speaking…by this time of the year we have around 17.72 inches of rain and snow at the station. When it snows we go out and melt the snow and then measure the liquid. That liquid total goes into the overall measurement to get the average of 17.72 by June 15th. In actuality, as of midnight, we are sitting at 23.15 inches of rain and so for the year. Yep. That is pretty wet.
Something I have noticed about humans, especially in regards to weather, is this need to wrap our head around things. If we can come up for a reason that something is happening we feel a lot better about that thing. For example…lately people have been asking me why it has been so wet. Some try to bring climate change into the conversation. Naturally climate change has been a big media topic for several years. And people want to know how it impacts us. And I think some people feel better being able to attribute any weather we are having to climate change.
I usually try to avoid those conversations if I can. For one…I don't need to justify the weather. When it is very wet for a stretch I can just accept that we have been in a wet pattern, and it does not necessarily mean that the Earth's climate is changing for the better or worse. There is a natural ebb and flow to our climate…which means that climate change has ALWAYS been happening to a degree. But "people" have been so stirred up over the political debate that many people only understand weather in terms of how it is "being impacted" by climate change.
My views on climate change have been expressed here on the blog many times before. I've told you that I think the political argument is nuts. And honestly…that argument is detrimental to the actual issue. It doesn't matter whether or not the climate of the Earth is changing. It's always changing, and always will be changing. We should be taking care of this globe regardless. We need to focus less on the glaciers, which also have a natural ebb and flow. Instead we need to go ahead and keep our Earth clean anyway.
I don't think studies have come out yet directly relating the rise in certain health problems like asthma and autism to pollutants. But I have read some scientific scuttlebutt linking these diseases to the poor way we have stewarded this planet. And I think it is only a matter of time before we conclusively link some of those health issues to the state of the planet.
If we minimize everything we do…fewer resources consumed and less pollution created…we will be better off. Cleaner water and air will bring about cleaner and healthier people. And the climate will take care of itself.
--Last week there was some chatter around here about the American flag, veterans, the flag code, and patriotism. Of course we had the video of the veteran that took it upon himself to remedy a situation where someone displayed a Mexican flag over the American flag in the United States, which is against the flag code. And I mentioned here last week that I'm pretty aware of the flag code, and get mildly offended when I see violations.
So this morning I'm driving through Mt. Zion on my way to work. I notice along the side of the road that there are American flags displayed about every 20 feet or so. They are displayed on private and public property. It's an apparent show of patriotism, which is cool. But you know what else all of these people displaying their flags have in common? They are also violating the flag code. I drive to work before the sun comes out…and not one of these flags was hit with a spot light. According to the flag code an American flag displayed after dark must be displayed with a spot light. Unfortunately for me I left my Army knife at home so I couldn't cut those flags down.
--On Saturday I was to host a game show at the Macon County fair. There is a show on this station called "Minute to Win It" where contestants have one minute to perform a tough task. Is they do it…they win something. So the game at the fair was called "60 Seconds to Win It", and that gets around the problem of copyright laws. And I was the host.
I made the drive from Mattoon to Decatur for the game show. When I left Mattoon the skies were cloudy…but not stormy. But it became obvious to me as I got closer to Decatur that big things were brewing in the sky. As I pulled into the fairgrounds it started to sprinkle. I got out of my car and walked into the fair. I paid some dude a dollar to let me into the fair. Just after the guy took my money the sky opened up. It poured on me until I got to the place housing the game.
The game was scheduled to start at 2. But with the torrential downpours in the area the lady in charge of setting things up was stuck behind flood waters in Illiopolis. So Angie and Ayn, the other two people putting the game together scrambled to get things going. We were running about 30 minutes behind…but people were kind of stuck with us because it was storming HEAVY, and we at least had a roof over our heads.
So finally we were ready to go. I grabbed the microphone to get everyone's attention. I announced the game we would be playing, and how to play the game. I called over people that were interested in playing. We got everyone set up and ready to go. And then…just as we were starting the game…the power went out. Ugh! It was a situation that just had to make you laugh. But we reset the game…chilled for a couple of minutes to make sure everyone was safe. A grumpy fair official came into the place to ask us to stay inside for our own safety. And since we were stuck in the building anyway…we continued with the game. And we had a lot of fun.
--Last week the blog got a little heated. Feedback was great, and I thank you for that. There was a bit of feedback from over the weekend, and just to clear the cache…I will post it this morning.
From a Friend (6/11/10):
You mentioned about the States Spending Habits to take you to the school, on this issue.
I don't think you, and about 99% of the people paying their bills in the state of Illinois, needs more schooling on this. The only people needing more schooling are our State Representative's. Were they all born with Silver, and Gold spoons in their mouths?
Don't they know that there is such a word in the English vocabulary as "NO" when it comes to over-spending?
If they manage their home finances like they do the State of Illinois, I would bet they have and plan to file bankruptcy. The only question to them would be...If they are trying to beat California when it comes to handling the State's Budget, and how much we are in the RED?
That's kind of what I was thinking, my friend. I am sure balancing a government budget is a bit more complicated than doing one for a household. But don't the same basic principles apply? Is it a matter of elected officials not being strong enough people to say NO to their constituents? Maybe we shouldn't have our elected officials be the people actually in charge of the state budget. Maybe our elected officials should just be in charge of HIRING the accountants that should be in charge of balancing our books. Just a thought…
From Angie in Charleston (6/11/10):
The phrase actually originated in about 753 BC with Romulus...and continued not only in Europe, but our very own America. Here is a really great website that has the herstory of that and more.
Um, Angie…did you just drop "herstory" on us?? That…is…AWESOME! And thanks for the link. We will check it out…and think good thoughts about HERSTORY!
From "The Other David in Decatur" (6/11/10):
I'm not sure who this David in Decatur is but I would love to go to his work and start telling him how bad of a job he and his co workers are doing. I hate to tell the all knowing David that he doesn't know what he's talking about, but Elizabeth, "The new cute sports girl", has done and is still doing work for ESPN and the Big Ten Network. (I'm sure DAVID knows more than the powers to be at those networks) She is new and is working very HARD to get better everyday. As for Laine, I know a lot of people who love her, David has no clue about how to forecast weather or he wouldn't have to tune in at all. I know for a fact that it's not all that easy. Our weather is always changing. If David thinks he can do a better job, tell him to stop sitting on his computer blogging and go to school and get a degree in Meteorology. Now for the rest of his comments. If mister perfect likes the other station's news-watch the other stations. I know for a fact they don't do weather or sports like WANDTV.
Yikes, Other David. Maybe you need to take some time away from your computer, too, my friend!
Alright…that about covers the topic of "David" here on the old blog. I do not want this to devolve into name calling, etc. So feel free to send me your thoughts on this topic…but I will no longer post feedback about it here on the blog. Let's move on…
Also…apparently I offended someone here on the blog on Friday. First…sorry about that. Often times the written, or typed, word does not convey the intended meaning very well. I was making a joke and someone did not read it that way. It happens and can't always be avoided unless you want to do a completely bland and personality-less blog. That is not what I want here…so it's a given risk the way I do the blog that someone will be offended once in a while. I will say again, though, that being offended is a choice. And if you choose to be offended easily then maybe this isn't the blog for you. Otherwise…let me know if I offend you, I will apologize, and we will move on.
From Caleb in Mattoon (6/11/10):
Hello, I have been wondering about the oil guzzling out in the gulf. Is BP trying to figure out a way to stop the leak, or how to save the oil that is gushing out?
It seems to me that they should have figured something out by now. The longer they wait to solve this dilemma. The more time the ecosystem will need to rebuild itself.
The officials at BP need to stop thinking about the money lost and look at the toll this is taking on our delicate environment.
To be fair, Caleb, it does appear that BP is trying to get the oil stopped as soon as possible. At this point they would have to be complete morons to not understand how bad they already look to the world.
Okay. We went a bit long for a Monday, but I wanted to wrap up some business from over the weekend. Have a safe day today! Don't try to drive through standing water. More rain today, tonight, and tomorrow could leave a lot of water on the roads…
Over the last couple of days the state has announced that our public universities and community colleges can take out loans to make up for what the state can't pay them right now. I am not an economic expert…but I've made enough home budgeting mistakes on my own over the years to have learned that this doesn't sound as great an idea as the state is selling. Didn't the recession teach us to not live over our heads, and to live without rather than go into more debt? While I don't have an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of this loan deal…it seems to me like what plantation owners did to former slaves after Abolition.
The plantation owners brought former slaves on to their plantation. They gave them a place to live, and a "job". They also put a general store on the plantation with high-priced goods. So the new "employees" would buy their goods from the store…but they did not make enough to pay their bills. So the plantation/store owner would extend them credit. Well it didn't take long until the "employees" owed more than they would ever be able to pay back. So boom…the plantation owner "owns" the workers.
Maybe this state deal is different than that. I don't know. But it certainly can't be as great a thing as the state is making it out to be. Today's plantation owner could be called "The Bank", or maybe China. Whatever you call it…someone owns most of America right now…and it ain't us! (Thoughts on this? Take me to school on it? Send some feedback that we will get to next week.)
From Angie in Charleston (6/4/10):
Ok first, I hate that we all have to worry about the "higher-ups" when we are talking/writing anything...ggggrrrr! Second, wow...there were some people who really raked your co-workers over the coals. I think they're doing a great job. Third...do you know where the phrase "rule of thumb" comes from? Check it out...it may make you rethink using it. Fourth, so glad "new chick" has a name! Tons of love and hugs!
The above is from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rule-of-thumb.html
We will come back to this topic of my coworkers in a bit, Angie! And hopefully sometime soon you will get to meet Faye (New Chick)!!
From Jerrie in Decatur (6/7/10):
good morning greg i hope that you and your co-workers are starting the week off right. I want to thank you and the whole team for a good program. its nice to know if i miss the ten o clock hour i can get it the next morning. i do miss each and everyone when you are not there. seeing all of the new faces takes some time for them to get into the groove of things. to all of the wand tv crew…keep up the good work. and tara…dont let them get the best of you. i grew up with all boys and i soon learn how to fight back and they didnt like it that i could run, kick the foot ball as good as they did. have a good week jerrie
Hey, Jerrie…I appreciate your thoughts. But you do NOT have to worry about Tara Barrett. Honestly…I would rather take on AWESOME KONG again than face Tara. That is one woman that can take care of herself!
From Jim in Taylorville (6/7/10):
Not to defend Dave, but I can relate to a few of his picayune complaints. I've been watching WAND since 1988, when I first moved to this area. I swore I'd never watch it again, when we lost the GREAT weatherman Bob Murray, but let's face it: WAND has always had the very best weather reporting available. Bob was the best ambassador that WAND will ever have, because he was tirelessly supporting every community event in the viewing area. He was everywhere at once it seemed, and people loved him! To us, (the audience) Bob Murray was "Mr. WAND". Not keeping him on the staff at price, was the most boneheaded blunder that WAND could have ever made.
I agree with you that Dave should just turn off his TV. If he changes the channel, it will only serve to further fuel his self righteous sense of superiority.
Thanks, Jim. About the only thing I can say legally about the Bob Murray situation is that you are right…Bob was involved in a LOT of community events. He is the person that taught me how to do this job. And while I do have (ahem) authority issues, and Bob and I threw a lot of words at each other…he taught me a lot about how to do this weather stuff. So I do have respect for him. But as to his end here at WAND…I was working here at the time, but I was not in the room for his final conversation with The Suits. So I don't know why he stopped working here for sure.
From Phil in Cissna Park (6/7/10):
I just got back from Nashville working with the Red Cross on floods there, and now I've been called upon to go to Streator, IL., to help with Mass Care and the situation there.
In summary, tell Laine she is doing a fine job...getting better all of the time. As for JC, well, yes, he talks fast but it has caused ME to listen more closely in order to absorb what he is saying. Being attentive isn't a bad thing...LOL!!!!
And this Dave...it could be worse. A tornado could be predicted and OCCUR. Meteorology is not an exact science. We do the best we can with the tools we have, which are getting better and better all of the time. If a storm front moves into an area of dry air...it gets absorbed and disappears...POOF!!! There is always the radio, Dave.
Ole Phil here does a lot for people he doesn't know. Thanks, Phil!
We will hear from Dave on the blog today. And I will respond to his comments down the page. But for now let me say that I like Dave being on the blog. Dave and I have had many conversations here, and through email, and Dave has actually made me look at the way I look at some things. That's huge to me. And I love that. So while everyone has a different opinion about most everything…I love it that we can share those opinions here on the blog without getting ugly or dumb about it.
From Earlene in Windsor (6/7/10):
Hi Greg. I don't usually comment on blogs, I just read them, but that one from Dave really teed me off. He did not have to be so hateful about the people on Wand. I would like to met him. He must be such a perfect person that he has to have a halo. I have got to see that. There aren't very many perfect people around. I enjoy listening to all of you.
Heh. Me speaks too soon!
Just kidding, Earlene. We love to hear from first-time-feedbackers here! I'll type more about this a bit later…but I don't think Dave was too far off-base with some of the things he said last week. It is part of the general atmosphere of local TV news these days. But again…we will cover that down below! Thanks for the comments, Earlene! Stop by anytime with more of your thoughts!
From David in Altamont (6/7/10):
Life is full of choices. Today more than ever, TV has more choices than my parents even imagined. When I was growing up, 3 and on a clear day 4 stations out of St. Louis were all we could ever get. Thank goodness for satellite TV.
Myself, I get a kick out of seeing mistakes on the air. How many ye, ars has Lee Davis been seeing Al, tamont wrong? LOL He admitted it on the air. I loved that. Just keep doing what you do. You do it very well.
I used to mispronounce town names on the air all of the time…on purpose. But I stopped a while back. I got tired of the emails The Suits would forward to me from people that did not get the joke and were mad about it. Now I just do it with Mattoon once in a while to say hello to family. It's code…like when Carol Burnett used to pull on her ear to say hi to family.
I didn't know that Lee had a problem with Altamont. Honestly…you can't fault him. Have you heard how we pronounce some places around here? You think Athens in Central Illinois sounds like the Greek city? Nope. San Jose here isn't what it is in California, or anywhere else in the world! Wanna take a crack at Nilwood?? Unless you've spent time in some of these towns you really don't know how they are pronounced until you blow it on air a few times and get some emails! And for the record…all four of our meteorologists are from the area, and have lived here for a long time.
From Anonymous in Central Illinois (6/8/10):
Thanks for the reply back about the Vet cutting down the Flag, under the Mexican one. Personally I am for Arizona's new law. Our Federal Government has a law in the books just the same. The killings and threats that have been made in Arizona are, unreal.
Our Flag of the United States has Federal laws as to how it's to be displayed, and when people don't follow those rules then it should be taken down.
I don't think racial profiling is involved when this is done.
I have followed you through the blog and can tell you love our country and are active with politics in some degree, by voting and standing behind who you have faith in holding elected positions.
And thanks for sending me the link to the video, my friend. I am active politically as much as I am allowed to be. The Suits generally prefer we keep our noses out of stuff like that for a host of very, very good reasons!
Thanks for your opinion on the veteran/flag issue, too. I do agree that the Mexican flag should have been brought down. I mean…it is the law. What I question is the way it was brought down.
From Jerrie in Decatur (6/8/10):
I can understand the veteran doing this because he doesn't want our flag to be disgraced. we fought to keep our freedom and have the right to fly our flag proudly. but did the person help in the fight to save our country, or is he saying because he is an American legal or illegal. this is the point i took from the clip. Americans need to stand up for Americans and stop the garbage and do things right and work together
That is another point I was trying to make about the video. It just shows the end of the situation, and not what lead up to it. There is more feedback about it…we will continue the discussion below.
From Bart in Champaign (6/8/10):
If I visited and/or took up residence in Mexico, I'd respect and abide by the laws set forth by that country.
As would I, my friend. Again…we never heard the store owner's side of the story. Either he didn't know the law, or didn't care. And that bit of information wou, ld make a huge difference in how I think the veteran should have handled the issue.
From David in Decatur (6/9/10):
While I personally disagree with many of your opinions in your Wednesday blog, the only one that I feel needs to be commented on, is in the last sentence, of your rather lengthy blog. "If it is done legally". If this store owner is in this country legally, then he is bound by our laws and is required to know them and obey them. He broke the law of flag flying in the United States. If he wants to fly his flag, he can go back to Mexico. It is the illegal immigrants that are causing the problems, not the ones that come here, supposedly like the Trumbold's did in 1930.
If you get the chance, Dave, I would love to hear the opinions of mine with which you disagree. You can either feedback it, or email it…and it won't be posted on the blog if you don't want it to be. It would give me , , , a, better understanding, I think. See…I actually learn from people's feedback. I don't profess to have all the answers.&nbs, p; I just like to talk about thoughts and ideas. And some of mine have been shaped from blog feedback on a lot of different subjects.
It's a good point you bring up. Maybe my thought that we don't know the status of the store owner is moot. If he is here illegally…he shouldn't own the store in the first place and the flag should come down. If he IS here legally then it is his responsibility to know the flag laws before he displays his flags.
See, Dave. You brought me around again! (And by the way…there's no supposedly about it. That is the way the Trumbolds came to the United States.)
From Jim in Taylorville (6/9/10):
I appreciate your comments on this "Flag Issue" and agree with some of them regarding tolerance. Since I am a "4 year USA vet" who was drafted out of college on my EXACT 19th birthday in 1968... hopefully you will better understand us now-old farts who once chose to not be stoned hippies, and do our duty to our country simply because we appreciated our 19 years of privileged (and hard earned) American way of life that our fathers paid for.
I am no hero of any kind, but that vet in the video IS! Carrying a big knife was just for show and effect on the video. He wasn't going to injure any illegal aliens. He was simply 100% sure that those trespassers wouldn't defend their OWN flag!
And he was EXACTLY right. He defended OUR flag, and so should you.
I am so happy that a vet took time to respond to this topic, Jim. Thanks. Your input/perspective does have a lot of value with me, for what it's worth.
One of the points I was trying to make about the veteran is that we don't know what he intended by bringing the really big knife. And because of the knife the situation could have taken a horrible turn. That was my thought as I was typing the blog that morning. But to your point…maybe to someone that has been trained to use those weapons the attitude and intention would have been different.
To me…completely untrained in these things…I see an old cranky dude with a big knife and I think he is going to stab someone. But maybe, as you said, to someone that has been through the training of a vet…you have a better idea of what the vet intended. I don't know if you are right…but I know for sure that I am not necessarily right about what I thought.
And we still don't know if the store owner was a legit citizen or not. As Dave pointed out above, though, that fact may not even play into it.
To your last point I will say that I do more to defend our flag than most people I know. When I was reporting (man I was bad at reporting) I did a story on the flag code. And while I already knew the basics about the flag from school…I learned even more doing that story. Since then I am amazed all the time at how little people follow the flag code.
You ever notice on our weather graphics that sometimes someone will put a picture of Old Glory on it? You know when you will NOT see that? When I am working. I go out of my way to not do that, because I don't feel right about it. The flag is more than an icon or a graphic for a TV shot. And its image is not supposed to be on anything temporary. That includes graphics on a TV screen, t-shirts, plates, napkins…and yes…car magnets!
From David in Decatur (6/9/10):
Hey Greg, I forgot to mention that although I do now watch WICS for my news, weather & sports…I still read your blog. I did watch the video of you interviewing the newscaster candidate in front of the wrestling ring. I am sure she has a great chance of being hired.
Dave…you are cracking me up! I am glad you are sticking around the blog, too. This isn't the standard comment you will get from the station…but watch who makes you happy and causes you the least stress. Honestly…while we do value viewers, when push comes to shove unless you actually get a Nielson diary switching the channel doesn't have the impact on us that you think it would. To be honest…no one even knows you turned the station. Even with a Nielson diary (which determines our ratings) a person could watch one channel and put down in the diary that they watched a different channel.
I did want to comment on something you allude to in this feedback, Dave, and flat out mention in some of your previous feedback. Your joke that Awesome Kong was being interviewed for a job plays along with your contention that we only hire kids or unqualified people to be reporters these days. It was that comment in previous feedback that brought out the ire in some of our other Gregorians.
Let me say this to everyone…Dave is not far off the mark on that comment. Let me be perfectly clear in stating this…I am not talking specifically about this station or any of our reporters right now. The following comments are about the state of local news in general. Here at this station we have a couple of well-seasoned reporters, and quite a few in their first or second job. But all at least have the potential to become good reporters, if they are not already. I truly feel that way about most of my co-workers. They are good people trying to always get better at what they do, even those of us that have been here forever.
Local TV stations are not money-wells like they used to be. Back in the day a local TV station like WCIA that was owned by a wealthy family could pop for big salaries to get better experienced reporters. That is simply not the case anymore, anywhere. Most local stations are owned by large corporations. These companies own many, many TV stations…some even in the same market. And whether they can afford to spend more money on salaries or not…they usually don't anymore. Why? Because they know there are a TON of younger people coming up that need a job, and a lot of them just want to be on TV. It's a celebrity-driven society, after all.
It's a lot like many other industries today. You can give up a bit of quality on more experienced reporters and hire the kid that doesn't cost you near as much money. In the end the younger kids trying to learn their craft don't actually drive away as many viewers as one might think. And all the while the corporation saves money on salaries…so they can put that money towards things like the mandatory upgrade we recently had for all stations to go digital. (That was NOT inexpensive, by the way.)
This is just the way it is now. My advice is to have some patience with the kid that is obviously fresh out of school…or get your news from another source. It's probably not going to change anytime soon.
From Greg Orian (6/10/10):
In regards to the blog of the veteran, Jim Brossard – I think he did exactly what should have been done in this instance. He was standing up for what is right (even in the eyes of the law, for the most part), he would not let his patriotism be squelched, and passionately displayed his affection for the land that he loves dearly and fought for. If you look at the meaning and symbolism behind flags, it is undoubtedly the one thing that a country is recognized by. Also, when you place a different flag on top of another flag it shows a sign of defeat, belittlement and disrespect. In the video, Jim was extremely heated. He was saying that they could fight him for the flag, which from a vet's standpoint, is what the bar/store owner was implying by the symbolism of flying the Mexican flag over the American flag. Jim took it as an attack against the country. I think that more Americans should display acts of passion like Jim (within reason) in respect to standing up for what is right and what this country was founded on.
Thanks for the very well-worded feedback, Greg. You bring up interesting points. Perhaps to a veteran like Jim the store owner was implying that kind of disrespect. But we don't know that for sure because we haven't heard from the store owner…and I don't like to make big assumptions like that.
From Cindy in Macon (6/10/10):
Hi Greg, my thoughts on the vet/flag story is I agreed with everything he did. My dad, brother and husband are all veterans and they fought for this country. I look at it if someone from somewhere else comes to this country then they should be aware of the laws we have, they should see that the American flag is flown first. If they don't respect that they shouldn't be here in the first place. I don't really believe he wasn't aware of this law. I fully uphold and believe in what he did for our flag was truly amazing, he didn't worry about his own life once again for our country. If I was there I would have stood proudly right beside him.
Good to hear from you, Cindy. Someone said yesterday they heard the veteran was facing charges for what he did. I have yet to confirm that…but it would certainly be shocking to me if the charges were to stick. Me thinks the public outcry wouldn't be worth trying to prosecute someone trying to protect our flag.
An interesting point that someone mentioned to me yesterday…did you notice how badly the veteran disrespected the Mexican flag by leaving it on the ground when he was done? Two wrongs do not make a right…and if you want someone to respect your flag you owe them the honor of respecting their flag. It was not the country of Mexico that Jim had a problem with…it was the person that put the Mexican flag over the American flag. Maybe it was just an oversight on an angry veteran's part, but interesting none the less.
Hmmm. I've been a bit verbose this morning! Sorry for such a long blog. We just had a lot to get to today! Have a great weekend! Catch you on Monday!
--I appreciate the feedback on the blog so far this week. The flag and the veteran has been an interesting topic. My hope was that some veterans would chime in on the subject since I assume that the topic would be near and dear to them. And we will be hearing from at least one vet tomorrow for "Feedback Friday". Yesterday when I gave my thoughts on the topic I basically qualified them by saying I am not a veteran, and that I think we should give our vets more latitude in terms of what they should be allowed to do in our country, within reason. As it turns out…a couple of people disagreed with my thoughts on the subject, which is cool. Bottom line…I think we will have some cordial discourse tomorrow on the flag/veteran topic.
If you would like to contribute to the conversation for tomorrow morning just hit the feedback section down below. If you have a LOT to say about the topic then just send me an email with "Blog" in the subject line. If you get your thoughts to me by early tomorrow morning your feedback will make it into "Feedback Friday" tomorrow.
--My first full blown week living in Mattoon is almost over. The drive on 121 has not been that bad. My gas mileage is much better, thanks to having to drive slower than I did on 72. Plus it doesn't take any longer to make the 121 trip. So all in all it is turning out to be a pretty good situation. I will likely stay in Mattoon for a while longer before I decide whether or not I will move back to Decatur, or back to Champaign. So many decisions…
Living in Mattoon was my decision at this point for two big reasons. One…that is where Faye lives. (I know!) This situation is going better than I ever hoped it would. It might actually be true when "they" say the best things happen when you aren't looking. Talk about being blind-sided when you aren't expecting anything…
And second…my Grandparents live in the Mattoon area and they are getting "to that point", if you know what I mean. Living in Mattoon for a little while gives me the chance to reconnect with them and try to spend some quality time with them while they are still around. So for right now it is absolutely the best place for me to be at the moment. (If I keep hashing out my personal issues here on the blog you Gregorians are going to have to charge me shrink fees!)
So yesterday I posted the video of the American veteran taking offense to someone displaying a Mexican flag over the American flag. According to federal statutes…this is a no-no. The veteran walked over to the flag pole…lowered the flags… and used an Army knife to cut down the American flag. He kept our country's flag…left the Mexican flag on the ground…and walked away.
You've shared many thoughts with me on the subject, and those will be posted on Friday. I mentioned yesterday I will tell you what I think about it…so today is the day for that!
It is hard for me to say much about what a veteran chooses to do in regards to our country. For some reason I just feel that they have earned a special right to do what they will, within reason. And I know there is a special bond between our national flag and those that have fought under it. From what I'm told the flag of our country is a symbol that keeps them going when it is the toughest. And therefore a veteran's emotions are likely to run hotter in regards to that symbol.
Having said that…I gotta say that while the vet's heart was in the right place I think he could have handled it better. It would not have taken much for that situation to escalate and get out of hand in a hurry. He had a lethal weapon on him, especially in his hands. And if the gentlemen that were standing in front of the store decided to take great exception to what the vet did it could have become a tragic event.
But , you have to ask…if someone would have reported the flag code violation would authorities have responded? Would they have considered it worth their time? They are busy people…especially with fewer and fewer resources to go after a more, serious crime. , And factoring, that into the equ, ation maybe it was up to private citizens to inform the store owner of the problem. And it quite possible the person that put the flags up like that did not even know it was against the flag code. I just think a calmer approach by the veteran may have been a better way to go.
Granted…we only saw what the cameras allowed us to see. We don't know if someone approached the store owner about the problem. Maybe the store owner didn't know he had done something wrong…or maybe he knew and just didn't care. But walking into the situation with a large Army knife seems a bit over the top to me. I think the veteran has certainly earned the right to enter into the situation…but how he enters the situation is what I question. Could he have handled it in a safer way?
Of course this all plays into the larger issue of immigration in our country. Unless your name is something like "Stands with a Fist" I don't think you can complain much about legal and proper immigration. When the Trumbolds came to this country in the 1930's to get away from Hitler's Germany they were brought in like everyone else. While I doubt they spoke much more than German at the time they eventually learned how to speak the official United States language. And now we are full-blown Americana, Baby! How can you deny other people the same opportunity, provided it is done legally?
--A buddy of mine, and a friend of the blog (A Gregorian), sent me an email with a thought-provoking link the other day. The video will likely stir emotion in many Americans…and Mexican-Americans. I don't want to mention too much on the blog right now about the video, because I want you to watch it without me ruining it for you. So watch the video…and anything you'd like to feedback about just hit the feedback section below. Or…if you are compelled to feedback a LOT…send me an email with "Blog" in the subject line and I will post it.
As with any emotional issue you may be prompted to swear. That is fine if , , you swear in your feedback to me…I can handle it. But I will edit out the naughty, naughty words before I post it to the blog. Just know that cussing in your feedback for this issue will not get your feedback blocked.
Really…let me know what you think about this. It will be an issue with which our country will likely have to deal in the coming decades.
--This morning I will be interviewing Awesome Kong. She is a pro wrestler…and she is a beast. She is in town to do some things with a basketball cam, p in Decatur today, so she is stopping by for a bit this morning to say hello. Should be prett, y cool!
So last Friday I posted some feedback from Dave in Decatur. Dave was expressing concern for his perceived lack of quality of StormCenter 17. He mentioned a few things in particular, as is his right to do. I did not have to post Dave's feedback. It was my choice to do so. On this blog I frequently mention that you are free to sound off…and most of the time the feedback is positive. It just wouldn't be right, i, n my mind, if I held back the negative feedback and only showed you the good things that people say. So I posted Dave's feedback. Some of his points were good, and well taken. Some of his points were a little off in my opinion…simply because he does not have all of the information about the people of whom he was speaking. But all in all I thought it was great feedback.
I replied to Dave with my own feedback. The gist of my advice was that this is only a TV station, and it is not worth getting so worked up over. Don't watch TV, or watch a different TV channel, if something on this channel is causing a person so much stress. That is advice I would give to anyone. While we are in the business of getting you to watch OUR channel…your life will still be complete if you turn off the TV and read a book or go for a walk…or whatever. (Some would even argue that your life would me more complete if you turned off the tele!)
Dave responded to my response.
From Dave in Decatur (6/4/10):
Hey Greg. I started to write another comment about my problems with WAND and some of the on-air persons. About half way through, I began thinking about how I have been a viewer of this station since they went on the air in 1953. Fifty seven years ago. I also thought of your comment, that I should not watch the 4:30 news if I didn't like it. I then gave the situation another thought. Maybe this station and I need to part company. I enjoy watching the professionalism and polish of the WCIA and WICS reporters, getting the lottery numbers correctly, and regularly, seeing all of the words spelled correctly in the closed captioning, and just the sense of good management, and hiring of the best people. So adios, my good friend. Good luck in your work and personal life. You are one of the best in your profession. I will miss you, but WAND will not care about me, like I have cared for it. Farewell.
It is true, Dave, that there are typos and other mistakes on our newscasts. But it is also true that there are the same mistakes on the other stations around here, from what I hear. I know this not from my own personal viewing of these stations…but I hear from other people about these other stations. I can't speak to the hiring practices of those other stations because I don't really watch their local programming. Heck, Dave…I usually don't even watch our stuff! That's one of the reasons I don't really know the names of some of our night time reporters. Unless they show up during the morning news once in a while I don't even know who they are! (Okay…that one MIGHT get me in , trouble.)
You are teaching me somet, hing h, ere, though, Dave. Being a member of a younger generation than you I don't really know what it is like to grow up on one TV station. Sure…when I was a kid we lived in the country for a big chunk of my life, and we were stuck with the same three channels you had while growing up. But most of my life has provided cable, and therefore a lot more variety in TV. You quite clearly grew up watching WAND…I would assume because you live in Decatur, and it was the only logical choice for you at the time. And it is in this that you teach me…the loyalty and true feeling that people older than me might have for this station. I'm a person that gets attached to things. I have pencils and erasers and papers from when I was in grade school. Just like my attachment to these things…you might have that attachment to this TV station. So my response to you may have been flippant. I respect you and your opinions, Dave…and I apologize for being flippant and careless with your loyalty to this station.
I do still stand by my previous comments to your feedback, though. It really is just TV. There are enough stressors in this life without getting too upset about something that you watch in an electronic box. If it really does make a person happier to watch another TV station then that person should watch the other station. But do know that you will be missed, if not by this station…then certainly by me. You've contributed good things to this blog, Dave. And you have taught me some things…and I hope other readers some things. It would be sad if you stopped coming around the blog.
So yesterday morning you may have noticed that the blog was down for a little while. As a matter of fact…I know many of you noticed because many of you sent me an email asking why the blog was down. Honestly…when I first realized the blog was down I thought maybe it finally got pulled. I've blogged about a couple of things recently that could be considered bad, from a corporate standpoint. And frankly…I do this blog with the full knowledge that any given day The Suits could be displeased and pull the plug.
Alas…this was not the case. As it turns out it was just a technical glitch. And I must thank our new Web Guy Cody for solving my little issue. Although Cody doesn't come in to work until after 9 every morning, because he is an internet nerd and needs to sleep in after staying up all night playing Wizard World, or whatever. So that means we have to suffer until he gets around to fixing things. But the kid knows what he is doing and I thank him for solving our problem. I suggest in the future that he give me his phone number so the next time the blog goes down around 4 in the morning I can call him and he can resolve the issue immediately!
(I was acting just then. I was playing the part of the spoiled, arrogant on-air "talent". Sometimes it isn't a stretch to play a role.)
James in Decatur (5/28/10):
Big plans for the holiday weekend, other than moving? We're going camping. Lots of fishing and beer (not at the same time, of course)
Other than hanging out with Faye…I did not do anything besides move my belongings. Hanging with Faye is enough for me, though! (Awwwww…)
I hope you caught a lot of fish, and were responsible when drinking beer. I like beer, too. And gin. And tequila. But it's so important to be smart about it. By that I mean make sure you have someone to drive you around if you are going to tear one off.
From David in Decatur (6/1/10):
Hi Greg. You are probably not the person that I need to talk to, but I believe in you, and feel like I will get an honest answer. Yesterday. Monday, we all watched the doppler to get an idea of what the chances were for any outside activity. According to the forecasts, and the showing of the doppler, it appeared that any expectations of nice weather were shattered. Well, lo and behold, it never rained again after the early shower we had. This is inexcuseable. Who is responsible for giving correct weather reports? I hope not that dip that does the weekend evening shows, She can't even talk plain, let alone know anything about weather. The black outfits she chooses to wear, always make me think it is going to storm. But enough of that. I just think we deserve better forecasting for holidays. I can't tell what JC is saying to us, as he talks so fast, I can't understand him. Maybe the station needs to give him more time for his segment. To borrow from an old fool, "well that's my opinion, I'd like to hear yours."
Hi, David. Thank you for showing faith in me enough that you feel I will give you an honest answer. I hope I don't disappoint.
Are you feeling curmudgeonly lately, my old friend? Heh. I do understand your frustration with forecasts. And believe me…it frustrates us more than you when we blow a forecast. Like yesterday, for example, I really thought we were done with rain. Around 4 I went outside to grill a couple of steaks…and the sky opened up and poured on me for a bit. It bothers me to be so wrong, but all I can do is come into work the next morning and figure out why I was wrong and try to do better next time.
On Memorial Day…it did storm in the area. It probably just did not storm at your house. One thing to keep in mind with our forecasts…they are generally for our 25 or so counties in the viewing area. Technically…when I say it is going to rain I only need it to rain in one place in the viewing area to be right. We do try to mention the areas that have the better chance for a storm, or whatever. But sometimes there isn't enough time to break down every area. And frankly sometimes no one in the world could possibly know exactly where the rain will fall.
As to JC fast-talking…that's something I struggle to control, too. And getting more time for anything during a 30 minute newscast is tough.
And one word about Laine…she is actually a meteorologist and does know a lot about weather. No one is universally liked by everyone. Believe it or not...there are actually people that don't like me! And while those people are generally the dregs of society (!!!)...you have to accept their opinions! Either way...Laine Sylvester is one of my favorite people at this station. She is a great person, and a lot of fun to be around.
From Scott in Decatur (6/2/10):
I just wanted to tell you that after years of reading your blog, I finally signed up for your updates. And I gave you a 5 star rating. I'm in a giving mood today.
Well thank you very much, Scott. Thanks for doing the email alerts. It really helps on days like yesterday when the blog goes down. I actually sent out yesterday's blog in an email alert because I was getting so much email asking where the blog went. So people still got their fix! THAT is why it is such a great idea to sign up for those alerts. Thanks for the stars, too.
From David in Decatur (6/3/10):
Greg, here I go again, complaining about something outside your field. If any of the news people blogged, not counting the investigator, I would tell them, but as of now, you are my sounding board. Why in the world does WAND think that we need another news program called first news, at 4:30 PM, when they have one at 5 PM doing the same thing? The powers, or power that be are losing it. The new reporters are lame. The sports lady is cute, but seems to know nothing about sports, and can't even read the sports results without sounding like a second grader or worse. Is this station so broke that all they can hire are rookies with no experience at all? Who does Pulera answer to, one of the writers for SNL? I guess I shouldn't have written this to you, but I am really frustrated with the direction WAND is going. Thanks for listening, anyway.
David, David, David. I've enjoyed our interaction these past couple of years. And I love that you come here to vent. I do hope, though, that this TV station, or any TV station, isn't causing you this much stress. It's just television. Honestly…if you are feeling this much stress over the new 4:30 newscast&helli, p;just don't watch it. This stuff is not wort, h getting, worked up over.
As you suggested…I don't have answers to most of your questions. Those decisions are made way over my head, and I won't likely have anything to do with the 4:30 newscast. To be honest…I have not even seen it yet.
I have not met Elizabeth Moreau, the new sports person, yet…and I may never. But I have heard from people here that she grew up on sports. She's done so, me things for the Big 10 network, and recently did something for ESPN, or so I am told. So maybe even if it has yet to come across during her sportscasts…she apparently does know a lot about sports. Best rule of thumb for most on-air people: Give us a little time to get our bearings before you decide whether or not you like us. This job is actually harder than just sitting in front of a camera and reading to people. It takes time and hard work to get good at this stuff.
You have me wondering, Dave, if I will be spoken to for posting your feedback on the ole blog. Oh well. I love to live on the edge.
Have a great weekend! If Dave doesn't get me fired I will see you back here on Monday! (Just kidding, Dave!)
Have you heard about "The Cat House"? Nah…I am not talking about some den of iniquity in Vegas. Although if you've r, ead this blog , long you sho, uld know that I do believe prostitution should be legal. But that is an issue for another blog, assuming, I want to get in trouble again!
What I am talking about is the house in Taylorville that is full of cats. Apparently there are/were dozens of cats living in this house. The person that owned the house was apparently getting the cats from shelters over the years…or something like that. To be honest details are sketchy to me. And frankly the stuff I have seen about it on our website has not told the story well. Here is a link to what I saw on our website:
Now obviously that story seems a bit incomplete. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Why did the person fill the house with cats? Why was the person taking so many cats from the shelter? What were the conditions inside the house while the cats were there? So without all of the information I won't say too much about that particular situation.
If the cats were living well then I don't see a problem with having 4 dozen cats in your house…as long as it doesn't become a hazard to people or the cats. But…if the cats were living in squalor then I think the person should be forced to live in a garbage dump for one year. I mean that literally, too. They should be literally living in piles of trash out in the country somewhere for one year.
There is a quote that says something to the effect of being able to tell the character of a society by the way it treats its animals. Or maybe it was by the way it treats its prisoners. I forget. But for this blog I will say animals! And sometimes our society doesn't even seem to treat our people well, let alone animals. I can get over the people issue, because generally speaking people have a choice. We have a choice of how we want to live. I tend to be a little more hard core when it comes to these things…but if you don't like your life situation you DO have the power to change it. But you have to be strong.
Animals, on the other hand, are just trying to survive. They don't actively go out of their way to mess up anyone else's life. They want to eat, sleep, be loved (mostly), and make more animals. It's nothing more than that. You can train dogs to be mean…but the dogs are only trainable because of their need to eat. Whether you make them mean by starving them or train them by giving them treats (food)…it is their need to eat that stimulates the process. I just happen to feel that we should go out of our way to take care of animals.
You might be wondering at this point if I am a vegan, or vegetarian. I am not. I eat beef, pork, chicken, etc. But just because I eat meat doesn't mean that I want those animals to be mistreated before I eat them. For example, when I buy eggs I only buy "cage free" eggs, or "free range" as they are usually called. I don't want eggs from a chicken that was stuck in a cage when it was a chick. Do you know that most of those chickens are never let out of those cages? As the bird grows…the cage doesn't. I have seen pictures of chickens' feet grown around the wire of the cage. It's disgusting that we do that to a living being, in my opinion.
I just believe that the process should be re, spected. Take car, e of the animals before they are eaten. I have no problem with deer hunters. I actually like deer meat, to a degree. But I am not a big fan of sport hunters. I think if you kill an animal you owe it to nature to use the animal for food, or whatever. But hunters that kill just for the thrill of killing don't hold much of my interest.
But back to the cat story…I am not sure if this station will update this story. I don't know that we will get the answers to the questions I posted above. I just hope that there wasn't negligence of the animals involved. We have enough irresponsible pet owners in this world.
(As I type this I just saw us run an update on the story. It does seem that there was negligence involved here. But obviously that has to be proven before we send this woman to live in a garbage heap!)
--There is not much more I want to say about this BP situation. I mean…there is a lot I want to say, but little else I can say on this blog about the situation. But the other day someone sent me the link to the real-time continuous video feed of the spewing tanker. Here is the link:
Personally I can't watch it anymore. It makes me sick. But I figured I would pass it along in case some of you have yet to see it.
--The push to 1,000 5-star ratings by the end of the Summer continues to chug right along. There are still a few short weeks of Spring left and we are about three-quarters of the way to our goal. If we hit the goal by the start of Summer we will have to raise the bar for the end of Summer! The ratings system is towards the bottom of the blog!
--Seems like a good place/time to remind you that you can sign up for email alerts at the bottom of this page, as well. That way when the blog is updated you will get an email. I produce those emails myself…and often leave things on the email that you won't get on the blog. Yeah…a little added value.
--Also…this blog is generally about what strikes me as blog-worthy. But I love hearing your thoughts, too. Hit me up with some feedback using the feedback form at the bottom of the page. Most of the time we will cover your feedback on "Feedback Friday", which happens to be almost every Friday.
--Occasionally I will rant on this blog about various things that bother me. At least…until yesterday…I thought what I was doing was ranting on this blog. Yesterday I caught a video clip of a guy that is REALLY ranting. Imma give you the link to the video…but before I do I must again warn you that the video contains a couple of words by which you may choose to be offended. It's nothing as bad as the f-bomb from the video last week. But there are a couple of words that could be considered "bad".
Is this guy crazy? Is he one of those just stirring up stuff to increase his listenership? You know…Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann don't necessarily believe in everything they say. They are just gifted at knowing what their audience wants to hear. Maybe that is the case with this cat…and if it his Tom Hanks should give him a couple of his Oscars. Really…he is crazier than Glen Beck.
--It's the start of a new month. And for me it is the start a new stage of my life. My move is mostly over. I acknowledge that the past week has been a little move-obsessive on the ole weather blog. I have mentioned it here in the past week or so that the move would be a big part of my life, and therefore all over the blog. I am happy to announce that it is all but out of my system! I've got another day of moving Saturday and that will be it. After that it's the closing…and then the "Big D"…and life will move on.
It's that last part that I am looking forward to the most. Moving on with my life will be nice. I don't regret the past 7 or so years. They've meant a lot. But that time is done. And the future looks bright for many reasons…not the least of which is Faye.