It looks like this may be a difficult start to the week, weather wise. By the end of the day today we should get into wintery mix, including sleet and freezing rain. It should continue off and on through Tuesday night. And the farther south you go there could be up to an inch of ice accumulation. Then getting into Wednesday morning things will turn into snow…and some of us could get close to a foot of snow accumulation by the end of the day on Wednesday. Plus on Wednesday the wind is going to pick up and cause blowing and drifting of snow.
Once the snow stops much colder air will be moving in. Early morning lows will be dropping below zero. That could be a huge problem because of the potential for many of us to lose power from the ice storm. The last time ice knocked out power in this area the power was out for over a week for some of us.
As with any forecast there are always variables that could greatly change our situation. For instance…if we get a shot of colder air a couple thousand feet above us most of the precipitation could be snow…which would be better than ice. Or if we get a shot of warmer air at the surface the precipitation would just be a couple of inches of rain. Of course at this point neither of those scenarios seems likely. But you never know!
Any way you slice it this entire winter storm event is Tara Barrett's fault.
--When I was 12 or 13 years old I remember being in Peoria with my brother, sister, and Dad. We were going to a friend of my Dad's house for a while. It was in the winter. As we were leaving the friend's house there was an older woman that was going to get in her car and leave. Her car was covered with snow and she was trying to clear the windows. I remember thinking at the time that I should help her. Back then I associated things like that with God. And I wondered if it was really God testing me to see if I would help her. I ended up not helping her for whatever reason. But that moment has always stuck with me.
I don't claim to be a person of great faith. It's a subject that still leaves me struggling. Those types of answers are so far elusive to me. But I will say this…when I am faced with similar situations today I always try to help, even if it means letting people deal with their own problems. You know…sometimes thinking you are helping someone by doing something for them really isn't helping them at all. But in the end I at least give situations like that a lot of thought. Do what you will with that information.
--I am quick to mention here that I am a Dallas Cowboys fan. Since I started watching football back in the mid 70's they have been my favorite team. And naturally the Pittsburgh Steelers are my least favorite team, as is often the case with people that watched football in the 70's you either love one or the other, and hate one or the other. (I'm using "hate" here in a loose sense. I mean…it's just a game. We don't really want the other team to die.) Given that situation I often take shots at the Steelers, much like I bag on the Cubs when given the chance. The other day someone sent me an email with Cowboys jokes. In the spirit of fairness I figured I would post some of them today. Enjoy, as they say.
Q. What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A. The Dallas Cowboys
Q. How do you keep a Dallas Cowboy out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal post.
Q. What do you call a Dallas Cowboy with a Super Bowl ring?
Q. What's the difference between the Dallas Cowboys and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.
Q. How many Dallas Cowboys does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A. Nobody remembers.
Q. What do the Cowboys and a possum have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road!
Never let it be said that I am not equal opportunity!
Now on to feedback…
From a Gregorian (1/27/11):
Greg, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard over your blog. Only a dog owner could relate how bad that was in a closed up house, and a fresh spraying.
So what did you do first? Opened the windows, changed cloths, or got the mop, and air freshener?
I'll bet you won't do that again in the house.
The first thing I did was make sure Buster was cool. I felt bad that I made him literally crap himself. I let him outside and he ran right to his spot in the yard and finished his business. The second thing I did was get some paper towels and some of that orange-smelling cleaning spray. I wiped up "ground zero" and assessed the situation. Then I got the mop. When I let Buster back in I made sure he was cleaned up, and then spent some quality time with him. I think he was still a little freaked out and I wanted to make sure the damage wasn't permanent. He seems to be good now!
I did not open a window because in a sense I believe in punishment/reward…and the smell would remind me to be more careful in the future. And for the record when I got home yesterday from work I popped my head around the corner as soon as I could to let Buster know that it was me. And I did not bark like a maniac coming through the door!
From Bill in Charleston (1/27/11):
Being a fellow Star Wars geek I assumed that you might like this.
Like it says in the article it isn't exactly as good as the hologram in the movie…but man are we getting close! Thanks for the link, my friend! And of course you realize what I am going to do the next time we are over at your house to play Kinect…
That's it for this week! Yeah…not much feedback, but that's cool. If you'd like to learn why our winter has been what it has been this year check out JC's blog. He has a great explanation!
If you sniff around this blog you will find pictures of 3 dogs. The dog to the immediate left of here is Gizmo, The Wu. On another page of this website you can find a picture with two other dogs, Boomer and Buster. I've described all 3 dogs previously on the blog. Boomer and Buster are brothers. Boomer is our fancy lad, and Buster is ALL DOG. It is Buster that this story is about this morning.
Yesterday I had some services done to my car. The car was done around noon and that allowed time for me to meet Faye for lunch. With my schedule being what it is you just learn to squeeze in time together when you can. It was a good lunch. After lunch I went home to my boys. Boomer and Gizmo get the run of the house for the most part. And Buster has to be sequestered in the kitchen because of his love and taste for footwear. The kitchen can not necessarily be seen from the entrance of the house. So Buster can hear someone coming in…but can't always see who it is. And remember…Buster is ALL DOG.
In my life I try to acknowledge that most things are small…and I don't sweat the small. I like to think my life is fun and that I am fun to be around on most days. So I like to horse around a lot. And yesterday as I was walking into the house I heard the dogs going crazy and my playful nature took over. I started barking at the dogs as I came in the door. Gizmo and Boomer could see that it was me…so their barking became playful but loud. Because of the angle that I entered the front room Buster could not see that it was me, and I was using a loud aggressive bark.
Buster is a medium-sized dog with an occasional mean streak if provoked. He growls when he gets grumpy, and the hair on his back stands up when he is ready to go. From my position in the room I launched myself towards the kitchen, and a growling and barking Buster. I was still being playful and Buster was still thinking of me as an intruder. There is a gate in the kitchen door that Buster could easily jump…I've seen him do it before…but he has a mental barrier that keeps him in the kitchen. I jumped in front of the gate and reached out to grab Buster, still being playful but barking and making a racket.
I could see right away that Buster was not being as playful as me. As a matter of fact…the hair on his neck was standing up and he was getting into a low growl just as I launched myself at him. When I reached out to grab him he made a bit of a yelp combined with a vicious growl. I wasn't really worried about Buster biting me. While he is a mid-sized pooch I am pretty confident in my ability to handle dogs. So I was prepared to handle his attack. However…I was in no way shape or form prepared for what was about to happen.
It began with a look on Buster's face. He was no longer enraged with the thought of taking down an intruder. What was on Buster's face was the fear one gets when faced with someone that is obviously not backing down from his aggressive stance. The fact that I actually tried to grab him to wrestle only enhanced the fear. Next came an odd…smell.
It was a vaguely familiar smell…and yet one that I have only smelled in specific circumstances. It took me a moment to place the smell. But once I did…it came flooding back to me. I had accidentally set off Buster's "Anal Gland Emergency Alert System".
Buster was in a defensive posture…hair up on his back and growling with the intensity of a guardian protecting a castle. But I inadvertently overcame his stance…and when the fear hit him he sprayed out his butt like a friggin lion. I'll spare you further details here...
--The email I posted yesterday has been floating around for a couple of years. A few of you emailed me to let me know you have received it before. For stuff like this I use snopes.com. Snopes says that the email is partly true. While the incident in the email is unverifiable…it is quite possible to get someone's home address from a GPS device. So while it is unclear whether the burglary of a car at a football stadium actually happened…it is certainly possible that it did. The tips in the email are still good tips.
--Have you been paying attention to the Rahm Emanuel situation? With the imminent retirement of Mayor Daley in Chicago Rahm stepped down from President Obama's cabinet to run for mayor of Chicago. Emanuel has strong political ties in Chicago/Illinois, and would likely win from most accounts. However…there is one little snag. Rahm Emanuel rented out his residence when he moved to Washington D.C. So technically he has been a resident of D.C. for over a year…and not Chicago. And to run for mayor of Chicago you have to be a resident of Chicago for the year previous to running for mayor. Now the case will go in front of the IL Supreme Court. Meanwhile the ballots are already being printed with Emanuel's name on them. It is becoming a real cluster up there! Here's a link to some details of the story.
--Speaking of Chicago…get off of Jay Cutler's back. To be a quarterback in the NFL you have to be tough. Period. There are only 31 other people IN THE WORLD that share his job of starting QB in the NFL. Even the worst QB in the league is better than all but 31 other people IN THE WORLD at their job. And you don't stay in the league if you are not tough. Hell…you don't even GET to the NFL if you aren't tough. The man was sacked over 50 times this season and only missed a game because he had a concussion, and the league makes you sit out if you get a concussion! He wasn't dogging it on Sunday by not getting back in the game. As a matter of fact he went back into the game after he got hurt. His coach sat him down when it became obvious Cutler's injury was hampering his play. Enough already! There are some real morons saying very stupid things about Cutler. Ridiculous.
--What is it about deer that allows them to run head-long into their doom? Driving to work this morning I saw one deer crossing the road ahead of me. At this point in the game I know enough to know that that deer wasn't likely to be alone. So I slowed down as much as I could to wait for her friend(s). Next time I think I am going to keep going the same speed. Every time I slow down in this situation I end up meeting the friend(s). This morning I looked to the right and saw the friend. But the friend apparently didn't see me.
He/she kept running at my car like he/she couldn't even see the car. I hit the brakes harder and swerved into the left lane as much as I could. Fortunately this time I only heard the sound of the deer's head swiping the back quarter-panel of my car. To the best of my knowledge the deer only has a headache right now, and my car only has two clean spots where the deer's fur cleaned away the road salt.
It's odd to me to watch an animal that has very strong fear instincts keep running towards the bright lights that it fears. I got a good look into the deer's eyes this morning. I saw fear and a kind of blankness. Maybe it is just an impulse to run when the fear kicks in. When you watch the safari stuff on National Geographic TV the gazelle just run. The deer just run. Maybe that is just what they do. DANGER!!! RUN AT ALL COSTS! JUST KEEP RUNNING!! Well in our urban world of cars that isn't the best policy. And I wonder if in the coming decades the deer will evolve to include that little bit of survival. DANGER!!! SLOW DOWN AND WAIT FOR THE CARS TO PASS! Is that message too complicated for deer? Perhaps.
--Here's an email that someone sent me last week. It seems a bit paranoid to me…but does contain some interesting information that's probably good to consider.
This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.
A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.
When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.
Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.
I never thought of this.......
This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet... Etc...was stolen.
20 minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says 'I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago.' When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.
Moral of the lesson:
Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.
Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc....
And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you.
Someone emailed me over the weekend to ask me why I haven't been talking much about football lately. The biggest reason is because I am a Cowboys' fan, and the Cowboys are no longer playing. Another reason is because a few of my closest friends are Steelers' fans and I don't want to encourage them. But I do think a Packers/Steelers Super Bowl will be a very good game. I am interested to see how the league's hottest offense handles the leagues hottest defense. And can the Packers' stout defense stop the Steelers' running game? Not to mention two storied franchises whose paths have never crossed in the biggest game in football. So I am very interested in football…I'm just not talking about it because it doesn't involve my favorite team. Selfish? Maybe. Childish? Probably. Reality? Surely.
Since the game is being played at my favorite team's stadium I will give you my early pick. And keep in mind this is an early pick. So if there is a significant injury or "incident" I reserve the right to change my mind before the game. I say "incident" because of what happened just before the Oakland Raiders' last Super Bowl appearance when one of their key pieces flipped out before the game and didn't play. You never know when Big Ben will decide to go bar hopping, and that could influence his team's play. (Yeah…that was a cheap shot from a disgruntled Cowboys' fan.)
I think the Packers will win a close game. I'm not saying this because I loathe the Steelers. Don't get me wrong…I do loathe the Steelers. But I think the Packers' offense is good enough to handle the Steelers' defense. As long as they can get enough production out of Starks on the ground it will allow Aaron Rodgers to exert his will on the game. The Steelers' secondary is their weakness…and Rodgers is good enough to exploit it, as long as the Packers can run enough to ease the pressure a bit.
I also think the Packers' defense is good enough to bottle up the Steelers' ground game. Charles Woodson is a huge piece of the Packers' puzzle, and I think the way they use him against the Steelers will make the difference. They have shut down corners in Williams and Shields. That frees Woodson up to do what he do. And I think Clay Matthews is going to be all over Big Ben. It will be a close game. And I think it is a game that the Packers win by less than a touchdown.
It is my personal/professional opinion that JC is doing a great blog. We've talked about the fact that I never wanted this blog to be weather-intensive. For me I just don't think it would work. But for JC…I think it is working. He updated his blog last night to talk about yesterday's snow event. He's got totals from around the area, including a new record snowfall. But last night JC also explained how many of us try to predict how much snow we will get. He mentioned the QPF, which is a diagnostic/predictive tool. I'm telling you…if you have any interest in the weather or how we do our jobs…JC's blog is really getting good.
From Mark in Decatur (1/15/11):
The reason I asked is that its amazing is that you try to guess which direction you're aiming at.
For awhile, they showed the silo that's off of MLK street for many weeks, then they moved it all around. I was wondering how the weather gang decided on the pic.
A lot of it depends on the time of day. When I use those web cams in the morning I have to point them at something bright. If I don't the video goes black and white and it looks like the Desert Storm video we all watched on CNN back in the day.
From Shelley in Decatur (1/17/11):
It's funny you mention the gas prices in Missouri! My boyfriend lives in Kansas City, MO and travels to come and see me quite often. He has to tell me where he gets gas the cheapest and sometimes the difference in the gas prices range nearly 25 cents! It is my dream to move to Missouri, but I really like my job here in Decatur and... well... if you have a job nowadays, you probably should hold on to it because they are hard to find!
Speaking of financial peace, I went through Dave Ramsey's FPU and it is AWESOME! I really do like the tools that come in your kit, especially the CDs. I listen to them STILL and I went through the course over 3 years ago. I do hope you enjoy it! He makes a lot of sense!
Dude...love the haircut! Tell Faye she (and your hairstylist) did a great job!
Word on that, Sister! Jobs are very hard to find…still. It's nice that your boy makes the journey. Long distance has to be tough.
I'll agree with you on the FPU. As I mentioned earlier this week…Faye and I are not in dire financial straits (thankfully). And for this course you don't have to be. Whatever level of financial well-being you are in there are still very useful tools in the system. And sure…it used to be common sense…and still should be. But that is just not the reality of our world these days. And it hasn't been the reality of our world for quite a while.
Most American households now are a great example of what happens when very smart bankers market to poorly informed citizens. The stats prove it. Ultimately it is "buyer beware"…but I think the banks have some responsibility, too. They know what they are doing. And I would even go so far as to say that it is unpatriotic to prey on your own country's citizens the way they do. Look how this latest economic crash has weakened our country. Now if they would get other countries into debt…that would be fantastic! (I know…most other countries are in debt. It was a joke I was making…)
From Jerrie in Decatur (1/18/11):
Good morning Greg the speech i have a dream is for each one us to be proud of it doesnt matter what our race is it was said for all of us each one of us were to follow this our world would be a better place for each and everyone of us i was only 13 when this took place but after i got older that i only understood what the true meaning was to me each and everyone of us are equal no matter what when the young people of today would learn what mlk jr was meaning they to would be different in there style of life thank you greg for posting the speech please keep up the good work jerrie
I'll keep on keeping on if you do, Jerrie! I agree that everyone should see more Martin Luther King, Jr.
From David in Altamont (1/20/11):
Hey, I saw the Stormrunner way down here in Altamont, today. I didn't get close enough to see who was in it. I figured they came down to check and see how right or wrong you were on snow totals. LOL That's the first time I've seen it in out little town.
Hey, David. That was Lee in the StormRunner yesterday morning. He got up before 4 yesterday morning and started driving it during the morning news. Then he drove it through what we call the cut-ins during the Today Show. And he even drove it during the noon news. While in Altamont he stopped and measured the snow. 6 inches is what he recorded. And yes…he was probably checking up to see who was right! Heh.
Snow totals are a funny thing, though. You really need to take them with a grain of salt. The main reason is because you can measure snow in your backyard and get 6". Then you can go across the street to your neighbor's backyard and measure 4". It cracks me up when someone will call or text me to ask how much snow they got. Usually I tell them to go in their yard and measure. They think I am joking…but if they really want to know how much snow THEY got…that is the only way to be sure. Otherwise it is an estimation at best.
Wind can make a difference in snow totals between houses on the same block. Topography can make a difference. Are there trees in your yard? What about a fence? How high is the fence? These are reasons I don't usually go over snow totals during my weathercasts. Those totals are just a guideline or a reference point. "Generally speaking…we got 4 to 6 inches" is something I am much more likely to say, as opposed to showing a map with numbers on it. Unless of course I have a lot of time to fill. And in the morning there isn't a lot of time to fill.
Yikes. Sorry to go off on a tangent there. I guess that was just on my mind lately! I can't imagine why…what with the emails, phone calls, and texts from friends and viewers wanting to know how much snow they got!
Have a great weekend!
--Last week we had some discussion about Illinois' new income tax. As with any discussion there are at least two sides to every story. So I thought to be fair after bashing the tax last week that the other side of the story should be shared. Here is a link to a Chicago blog that has a different perspective on the Illinois tax hike.
--I mentioned earlier this week on the blog that Faye and I have begun Dave Ramsey's Peace University. For us it is a good move at this point in our lives. But like with anything that is put out on the open forum it is open to criticism. Or maybe a better way to say that is that by putting information "out there" some people will always feel obliged to share his/her opinion. And I support that, especially here on the blog. Having said that…here is some feedback I received yesterday from Jim in Taylorville.
Okay Trumbold, please don't take this wrong... or on second thought take it wrong if you want. <grin> I loathe the Dave Ramsey talk show for 3 reasons other than the fact that he's syndicated on far too many talk radio stations:
1. He's tiresomely always better off than he deserves to be. "Come on Ramsey... get a few more comeback lines and use the spontaneous personality a generous God surely gave you."
2. His typical call-in audience member is often $60,000 or more in debt to credit card companies alone, and they need his help to locate their financial problems? Pinch me. "Look inside yourself grasshopper and get off my damn radio"! Two thirds of his call-in people are likely the same ones that call Toni Grant in search of nirvana. Toni will instantly psychoanalyze them, to a perfect degree unheard of in the legitimate world of medicine.
3. If you are debt free then stop calling Ramsey to scream it into the phone! You don't need The Dave Ramsey hour any more than me!
I'll also add that a life of living on nothing but rice and beans is a thrifty life, but it in no way seems a solution to me. On the surface this guy seems to value cash far more than even a healthy diet, or any pleasures in life. What does he plan to do with his millions anyway? Have it buried with him? Good Lord Ramsey... at least admit that you enjoy many luxuries via selling extreme advice to pathetic people in dire straits.
Ramsey is a genius at selling nothing but common sense to people who have little of it, and for that I applaud his brilliant success after once being bankrupt himself. (unlike me) I merely listen to him and Toni now and then because it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the biggest fool on the face of our planet. The biggest fool is the wealthy "call-in guy" now living on rice and beans who also dropped his beautiful girlfriend because she couldn't get along with his strict Mother.
He will die as a very poor pauper if you ask me.
Your rant, Jim, is mostly about Ramsey's radio show. I've listened to about 10 minutes of it, and that is it. What Faye and I are doing is the Ramsey Financial Peace University, which helps you structure your financial life. So I can not really comment on much when it comes to your actual rant. I would like to point out a couple of things, though.
You say that "on the surface this guy seems to value cash far more than even a healthy diet". To that I would say you need to go below the surface and do a little more research. In fact…I listened to a CD this very morning where he talks about wanting everyone to live well. What he does not want is for people to live well at their future's expense. The banks in our country have spent the past few decades conditioning us to go into debt. The number thrown around was a little over $400 million a year in marketing campaigns to convince us that everyone needs a car payment…everyone needs a mortgage…and credit cards will improve our quality of life.
In a big way it is a generational issue, Jim. You've said you are older. And as a general rule the older you are the less you will likely see value in someone like Dave Ramsey. The World War 2 generation didn't do credit. Their kids were introduced to it in the 50's with the first credit cards. Their kids really began to see a credit card explosion in the late 70's and early 80's. Also around that time the banks introduced the variable rate mortgage. And by the time I was coming up we were getting credit card offers coming out of high school. My generation's parents were not prepared for what the banks were about to do. When I was in college you could get a card and use your parent's income to get a credit limit. Should we have known better? Yes. Were the banks predatory to make a buck? Absolutely.
It probably is common sense to your generation, Jim. (Although it was bankers from your generation that saw this weakness and capitalized, at the overall expense of the country.) And I know I am giving you great opportunity to go on about the good old days here…but this kind of sense is no longer common to MOST of our country. I recently heard that 60 to 70 percent of our country has debt. So your opinion is your opinion and you are entitled to share it like the rest of us. But it is my opinion that your opinion is off the mark on this particular topic. And I know that won't bother you at all!
--So yesterday morning I had the chain of weather events correct. Rain turning into frozen stuff and then into snow flurries. What I got wrong was the timing of events. What I thought would only take a few hours yesterday slowed WAY down and is wrapping up this morning with some snow flurries. Sometimes that happens, when things just decide to take a lot longer than anticipated. And you will likely hear me say this several times this morning during the news…but there will be stretches of your commute this morning that will leave your brakes useless. To enter our station parking lot you have to drive up one of two slopes. One is steep and the other isn't. And even the slight slope gave me fits this morning. PLEASE BE CAREFUL OUT THERE! ROADS ARE DECEPTIVELY SLICK!!!
Tonight into tomorrow we are now looking at a big snowfall in some places. JC has a great breakdown of this on his weather-intensive blog. Bottom line is the farther south you go in our viewing area the more snow there will be. Places along Interstate 70 could get 6 inches or more by the end of the day tomorrow.
--There are steps in front of my house. This morning as I was leaving the house I hit the first step and it was fine. But the second step was covered with ice. I went down…fast. I bring a computer bag with me to work everyday, sans computer. My breakfast, et al, is in the bag…and I landed on it this morning, thankfully. Everything is intact. My shoulder is sore from partially catching myself. And I put salt on the steps before I drove away. I don't want to sound the alarm here…but it is freaking slick this morning.
--Did you watch the MLK clip I put on the blog yesterday? It was 17 minutes long, and well worth the time in my opinion. As soon as I finished the blog yesterday morning I started the video and I watched the entire 17 minutes speech while getting ready for work. This is something I have done in the past and plan to do again in the future. It is important to remind ourselves I think.
--Our boy Larry in Illinois sent me another link. This one may elicit a physical and audible response from some of you. I know that I made a playful little noise of glee when I watched the video from the link. For some of you it will be like a little kid watching a magic show for the first time. Others of you will probably be impressed with the sheer efficiency of what is on the video. And let's be honest…for some of you this video could be life-changing. I'm not even exaggerating about that. So hit this link…watch the short video…and let me know what you think. Use the feedback form below to send me your feedback, or if you are moved to use a lot of words send me an email with "blog" on the subject line. Feedback is usually posted on Friday around here.
--I've already begun cheating a little bit on this Dave Ramsey course. The program is a 13 week series of lectures and homework. As I mentioned yesterday I can't go to the lectures because they are during the week at night. But Faye was given CD lectures, and that is what I am listening to on my way to work. She has gone to one lecture and started her homework for the week. But this morning I listened to the second lecture. So basically in 11 more work days I will have listened to the entire course, while she is just getting ready for her third lecture. BUT…she is also doing the coursework, which will give her a more thorough experience. And between the two of us we should be able to make great changes in the way we both deal with our money.
It is usually tough for me to buy into stuff like this. It is not in my nature to give in without questioning the Hell out of everything. But after listening to two lectures I am a believer. The first lecture was about saving money. This morning's lecture was about money and relationships. Money is the leading cause of divorce according to some (I hear Facebook is quickly climbing that list). And this morning's lecture also deals with teaching your kids about money. I picked up some invaluable lessons on the way to work this morning.
--Today is the day that we observe Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. But more than that…today is the day that we reflect on the life of a man that knew a better way for his country to live. And that man had the courage to tell us how we could live in a better way in this country. Even towards the end of his life when he felt his beliefs would be the cause of his death…he had the courage to keep on keeping on. There is nothing I can really say that will be better than what he said. So this morning I am leaving a link to the most well known of the man's speeches. I recommend that you take 17 and a half minutes out of your day today and listen to the entire speech.
--Here is some interesting feedback I got over the weekend about gas prices.
From Scott in Virden (1/16/11):
Usually when I drive to St Louis, there gas prices are about 10¢ to 20¢ less than it is around the Virden area. Here's the breakdown of what I found today:
$3.25 at Springfield and Chatham
$3.19 at Auburn, Virden and Girard
$3.09 at Carlinville
$2.99 at Brighton, Jerseyville and Alton
$2.86 at St. Louis!
St. Louis businesses still only have a 6% sales tax. No city tax. No county tax. Just state tax. Amazing.
Yep. It certainly is amazing, Scott! Like I asked last week…what is Missouri doing right that we must be doing wrong? Is it fair to compare states like that? I certainly hope our lawmakers become better stewards of our state.
--Speaking of becoming better stewards…Faye began the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" last week. I'm interested in the course…but it is during the week and too late for me to physically go to the course. However…they give you the seminars on CD, so I have begun listening to them on my way to work in the morning. So far so good as far as I am concerned. After the first CD I've learned that I am doing a couple of things very well and need to work on a couple of other things.
Yesterday found me chatting with a good friend about yesterday's blog. My buddy mentioned that I may have missed the mark, in his opinion. So I want to take a bit of today's blog and clarify a few things, and elaborate on other things. The point of yesterday's blog was to point out that we all know things are tough in this country. And when your state is in the shape that Illinois is in no one is surprised when we have to give more of our money to improve the overall situation. But what the state does with our money is very critical in times like this. Above all else we have to balance our budget and get back in the black. It'll take years to get there, after all it took us years to get so red. And I think most of us get that.
But there is also a political side, or perception side, to this problem. In our state we send Governors to prison. We have one there now, and one awaiting trial. We have an image problem. And our current legislators are likely aware of this. So while they are raising our taxes and cutting our programs…I think they should make a completely symbolic gesture. They should whittle down their staffs to bare minimum. They should give up all of their perks, if they haven't started already. After all…most of the private sector has already done this to We the People. And I think the biggest and best move our legislators could do is agree to cut their own salaries.
Would it cure the budget problems? No…it wouldn't even make a splash. But it would make the statement that they understand that we are all in this together. That is what I was trying to put across yesterday, but as a friend pointed out I may have missed the mark a bit.
From Scott in Virden (1/11/10):
Considering your extreme early morning commute and the weather, have you ever had a time that the roads were so bad that you (or your colleagues) couldn't make it to work to report the weather?
Good question, Scott! I know for me personally…no. In the past when it seems like we are really going to get whacked I have stayed in a hotel in Decatur, though, just to make sure I get here on time. A couple of times the station even paid for my room! I can't recall a time when one of the others here has not made it to work, either.
I'm a pretty firm believer that I can drive through anything. Usually regardless of the weather I plan to be able to get to work. The key…as I am so fond of saying during the news…is to leave very early and drive much slower than usual. And I suppose that luck plays a part, too.
From Jerrie in Decatur (1/11/10):
i wish that when the wand station would make the crawl a little larger ive got a new flat screen and i can only see the tops of the letters cant read what it says and my older tv is the same dont mean to complain but there wasnt anything on school closing on the web site
I'm not passing the buck here, Jerrie…but you might check your new TV's theater settings. Widescreen TV's have zoom features that will cut out part of the picture, and it sounds like that is what is happening here. I'm not sure what is causing the problem on your older TV, though. If you really want to get to the bottom of it you might try emailing our Chief Engineer, Frank Brannock. He's a smart dude and might be able to figure it out for you. And who knows…maybe the problem is on our end. Either way…Frank is your guy!
From Mark in Decatur (1/11/10):
Every time you show the "Live Dopplar Radar" shots for Decatur and other towns, do you or somebody else look them over and choose the one you'll use for the broadcast?
In theory…yes. We look over everything before we put it on-air. Once in a while I will get caught off guard. We have a lot of weather "hits" in the morning, and sometimes things get pretty crazy behind the scenes…and occasionally I won't get to something before it goes on-air. I'd love to know what is behind your question! Did you catch us doing something wrong?
Our friend Larry in Illinois sent me some more links. There are two here…and I have not fact-checked either. But one is very funny, and the other is pretty informative. Check them out if you care to, although I know many of you that never hit these links!
From David in Altamont (1/11/10):
Laine changes her hair and now you gotta keep up with her!!!
Just remember, never shave your head, it might make your hair mad and it won't come back. This may or may not be true, but at my age, I don't tempt fate!!
Haaaa!!! Thanks for the laugh, David! As of now there are no plans to shave my head.
From Mark in Decatur (1/12/10):
Hope the haircut works for you. Here's my comment about the Ted Williams debacle.
Years and years ago, there was an unwritten rule that all media at the time used. The rule was that you did not publish or broadcast anything about the personal life of your subject, regardless of how bizarre, or salacious the offense.
The only thing that the media could publish or broadcast was the person's public life, what they did that you can see and relate to.
I think we need that today, especially on these 24/7 outfits like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.
Cronkite's gotta be spinning in his grave, right? I'm hoping media coverage is like a pendulum, and sometime in the near future we will get back to what I like to call more respectable coverage.
Yesterday they broke the news that this guy was headed into rehab. I actually heard Meredith on "The Today Show" say something to the effect of "at least there he can get out of the spotlight". So let me get this straight…you put him in the spotlight to get ratings, and now you think he needs to get out of the spotlight?? Nice. Here's a mirror. Look into it nice and hard.
From Mary Jo in Decatur (1/12/11):
I like the hair, it makes you look younger. Good move.
Thanks, Mary Jo! I really didn't think the hair was that big of a deal. But yesterday morning after Chris and Tara went on and on about it ad nauseum during the news Tara explained to me that my hair hadn't changed since she started working here. That is over 6 years. I truly didn't realize that it had been that long. So they made a big deal out of it during the news…all morning…yesterday.
From Shannon in Decatur (1/13/11):
Hey, Greg -- two BIG thumbs up for the new 'do!! It looks great! I agree with Tara, it does make you look younger! Good choice and good for you being brave enough to make a change! Glad you're back to work, we missed you while you were off!
Thanks, Shannon. And sorry to hear about your BIG thumbs. I hope they at least look proportional.
Most of the hair credit should fall on 2 people. My girl Sarah at The Main Place is the one that actually did the hair. But my love Faye is the woman behind the do. She did a load of research on what hair would be best for me, and I think she nailed it. So far she has improved my wardrobe at work, my wardrobe in my personal life, now my hair…and the quality of my life overall. Pretty lucky dude over here! I can only hope I do the same for her.
From Larry in Illinois (1/13/11):
What do you do for making a living Greg, Weatherman, or Carpenter? Your blog 1/13 hit the nail on the head every time. Our State Government is just what you called it, a Shamble run by the most Intelligent elected people in Illinois. But let me stress this fact, "All that intelligence, don't mean nothing if they don't have common sense."
For decades our State, and Federal Government has raised our tax's, and spent the monies while ignoring the fact. You don't spend more then you make, or take in.
From what I have read, Calvin Coolidge once said, "There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within our means."
We could probably use a little Calvin Coolidge at this point in our country. He was the one that followed the corrupted joke that was Warren G. Harding.
Here is another link that Larry sent me that gets you to a page that will show where Illinois has spent some of our tax dollars. It's an interesting read for those of you that like this kind of thing.
From Teri in Decatur (1/13/11):
I like the new hair style. As far as the State of IL the tax raise is going to hurt many people's budgets, and I see it really hurting donations to the nonprofits. I can see people will be moving out of this state. I was one of the dumb ones I lived in Texas and I moved back.
I've also heard people talking about moving away from Illinois. Most of that talk is probably just talk. But you have to think that in the next few years we will lose some people and businesses to our better-budgeted neighbors. That just makes it all the more important that our state leaders don't squander the extra money we are giving them.
From Nannette in Decatur (1/13/10):
New chick, New clothes, New hair style (love the new style). New attitude. I have a feeling Faye had a lot to do with this. Keep up the funny sarcasm. The morning team is the Best! And one more thing…I think the State Government(elected official) should have a wage freeze for the next four to six years as well.
Ha! Right you are, Nannette. Right you are. Faye has loads to do with it. And while I think I've always had the same attitude…it is nice when all aspects of life are humming right along.
Agreed about our state leaders, too. But I don't think a wage freeze is enough. I think a wage reduction would be a better idea. For the next few years I think they might even need to be brought down to the average salary in our state. While you have to pay elected officials a decent wage just to get people to run for those positions…being a government official shouldn't make anyone rich. And compared to average wage standards in this state our elected officials are doing quite well.
That's it for now. If you get a second or two today you should check out JC's more weather-intensive blog. He's talking about our good snow chances over the next week or so. It is starting to look like our chances are getting good for another measurable snow around the start of the week!
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Tommy was a smart dude, no? Most rational citizens of this state understand that we are in a dire situation, I should think. Most rational citizens in our state also understand how to balance a budget. So most of us understand that to balance a budget you sometimes need to create more income. However…most rational citizens of our state know that raising the income won't scratch the surface of the problem unless you also cut spending.
So the state legislature agreed to raise our taxes, and our Governor says he can't wait to sign the bill. All of that is fine and good…but let's see some budget cuts. And let's see that you are taking our extra money and doing good with it. Don't waste it…and don't let us catch you being fraudulent with it. (I know…how dare I bring up the fact that in Illinois we might not trust our elected officials to at least not commit fraud. Be sure to tell George and Rod we said hello while you are criticizing me for suggesting we need to be worried about it.)
I'm no economy expert. But I have common sense. You look around at other states and see how well they are doing compared to everyone else. I've heard Indiana is in pretty good shape. Alaska even gets a dividend from their state coffers every year, although to be fair Alaska is a different beast as far as states go. Places like Florida and Texas don't deal with state income taxes. Yet in Illinois we are raising our income tax 66%. We have this huge budget deficit. Our schools are a wreck. And businesses seem to be leaving. So what are we doing so poorly that other states seem to be doing well? I ask this while thinking about the fact that we have our two previous Governors where they are…one in the can and the other possibly on the way to the can.
To say we are at a crossroads is an understatement. It's sink or swim time, and our last two swimming coaches didn't show up for their last meets. This Quinn cat seems like a nice fellow. But let's hope he understands that the people that just elected him are not going to sit idly by and let a third Illinois Governor in a row make a mockery of OUR state. We are tired of being the joke. We are tired of being broke. We need heroes…we need leaders. We need men and women of substance. Give us our JFK. Give us our MLK. Enough…as they say…is enough.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.
What do you suppose Tommy would say if he were alive today and living in Illinois?
--Yesterday I left work about the usual time. It was a busy morning at work…but not crazy. After work, as I mentioned yesterday on the blog, my hair was going to be cut. So I left work and headed to The Main Place in Decatur where I get my hair did. I walk into the place and get ready to sit down to wait. Before I get seated I see Hunter, the owner. We both say hello. He's a good guy, and always very cordial. After our greeting I see Sarah, my hair chick, walking out of a back room. She is walking towards the front of the hair place where I am standing and looks at me with a shocked expression on her face. She says "I have you down for tomorrow…"
So I may have inadvertently lied to you yesterday when I said I would be in this morning with a new do. Or probably more correctly I am not a liar. I am just stupid and forgot that my usual Tuesday hair appointment had to be moved to Wednesday this time around. So now I say unto you by the time I come back to work today to do the noon news my hair will be drastically different, and hopefully fantastic. And there i, s a fairly goo, d chance now that the blog this week will in fact be mostly about my hair. How self-serving of me.
--I read somewhere yesterday that the homeless dude with the golden voice was recently picked up by police after a fight with his daughter. I'm not going to say I told you so…but I am waiting to see how long it takes the same media that built him up to completely crush him. Don't take this as me blaming this guy, although we all have to answer for our own decisions in life. But the way this guy was thrust into the spotlight really set him up with unfair expectations…and that is not his fault. Most of us could not come out unscathed from today's style of scrutiny.
--I don't have the entire background for this story, but someone sent me a YouTube link to the story. Apparently somewhere in our country some kid rode his bike to school and put our flag on his bike. And for whatever reason the kid was discouraged from doing so. I want to end the blog today on an uplifting note. So watch the video.
--I do not want the blog to be all about hair this week. But I have decided that I am going to attempt a drastic change to my hair. The "style" I have now (and I use that phrase loosely) has been on my head for far too long. Back in the day I used to change my hair quite a bit. Then I got into TV where they want everyone to look the same. But if things go the way I would like by the end of the day today the new do will be done. And you will see it tomorrow morning. Now it will not be crazy hair. But it will be noticeably different…and hopefully fantastic.
--My drive in to work this morning wasn't that bad at all. There was maybe an inch or two on the road. From what I could tell I was out before the snow plows, although I did pass one that was just making it out. I'm assuming the roads will only get worse as the day wears on, though, so still give your self plenty of extra time. And plan on driving much slower than usual. Those two simple rules will make everyone's life much easier today. Relax!
--This Arizona shooting si, tuation is weird, isn't it? First…it is very sad. But now people are acting crazy and using it as an opportunity to push agendas. I even read an article yesterday from someone trying to blame Sarah Palin for the guy flipping out. I am no fan of the former Governor of Alaska…but it is ridiculous to try and say that this one person's dastardly act is because of Sarah Palin.
I guess there is nothing new about people jum, ping on situations like this. Maybe the noise just seems louder now because of the 24-hour ad nauseum coverage we give everything.
Feel free to send your thoughts on the matter. Use the feedback button at the bottom of the blog. Or you can email me and put "blog" on the subject line.
--Ladies and Gentlemen…our time is NOW! For centuries many of us have been plagued with a "problem". We've discussed it here on the blog several times. But now we may be nearing an end to this scourge. Look for yourself…
Maybe some day we can rid ourselves of this foul disease. And maybe that some day is quickly approaching!
--The story about the homeless guy with a great voice is touching. And I hope he takes his new-found opportunity and runs with it. But there are, some concerning elements to the situation, in my opinion. To begin&hellip, ;as wit, h anything these days…it's a media frenzy. Why do we blow these things up so much? Is that just my perception? It seems like this guy is set up with impossible expectations now. And in a few months when the real tests to his sobriety occur…should he fail…these same people that are lifting him up will be more than happy to tear him back down. Don't believe me? Have you been watching national media for the past several years? Brittany Spears…Anna Nicole Smith…Michael Jackson…Lindsay Lohan…oh how we love to destroy our heroes. And there is something about this newest story that has me hoping the same thing doesn't happen.
--JC Fultz might just be the best meteorologist in Central Illinois, including the kids at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. I pay pretty close attention to who says what when it comes to forecasting. Our kid is hardly ever wrong. Yesterday I was not impressed with our little snow event last night/today…so I said it would be hardly more than a dusting. Meanwhile JC was saying around an inch for a while. As it turns out…our kid was once again correct. Granted the difference between his call and mine was less than an inch. But he really knows his stuff. At least when it comes to weather. His favorite sports teams leave a lot to be desired. He needs to get his head out of those Chicago teams!
From Bill in Charleston (12/28/10):
Weren't you talking about this issue a while ago?
Glad to hear of your fun plans in Chicago. Maybe now the rest of us will have a chance to get a Villa pie without you hogging the line.
Hi, Bill. Yes…I agree with our President about Michael Vick. In our country you are innocent until proven guilty. When you are proven guilty you are sentenced to a punishment. When you have fulfilled the terms of said punishment you are allowed back into our society to become productive. By all accounts…Michael Vick has become productive.
I've only had two Villa pies since they reopened, my friend! The lines are still pretty ridiculous! Although the other night we ordered a Villa for delivery and once we got through on the phone we had our pie in about an hour, which isn't bad at all. The hysteria seems to be waning…which is good for everyone involved. Now we can get back to our addiction without the crazy waits!
From Jim in Taylorville (12/29/10):
I'm retired (or used up). How is it that you and the vacationing leader of the free world both have more vacation time than me?
Ha! I get 3 weeks a year, Jim. I just plan them in bunches so it seems like I am never at work. Or maybe it's the fact that even when I am at work I make it seem like I am not really working!
And for the record…ALL of our Presidents take ridiculous vacations. But…their vacations aren't like our vacations. They still get daily briefings, etc. So I think it is fine if our leaders try to get whatever relaxation they can get for their four or eight year stints. We don't want those people getting fried. I doubt we could truly understand the stress and burden of serving in that position. Just look at their before and after pictures. None of them come out looking better than when they go in.
--Here's a link to an odd story. Apparently a hunter got some video of a strange creature in the woods. Chances are it is a hoax of some kind. But I think someone sent it to me with all of our talk of "Coast to Coast A.M." lately!
From Kevin in Atlanta (1/6/11):
Good Morning Greg, It's good to see you back at work. Just wanted to say what an awesome job Laine did while you were away. She worked her tail off, and we appreciate that.
Have a great day,
Hey, Kevin! New Year's Eve around noon I got a text from Laine saying something about how I had done it to her again. The last three or four times I have taken an extended vacation she has had to deal with severe weather! And of course this time there were tornado warnings…and an EF3 that actually did damage! Laine is alright. And I love that she has sense of humor enough to appreciate those moments!
From David in Altamont (1/6/11):
Welcome back, Greg !!
I missed you in the morning, but I gotta tell you, Man, Laine sure does brighten my morning up.
Do me a favor and tell her the straightened hair looks NICE!!
Now get back to work, y, a slacker !!! LOL
You just told her that her straight hair looks NICE, David! See…many of my coworkers are addicted to this blog. I think they read it because I occasionally talk about them here. They want to make sure I don't bash them!
Laine and I have discussed her hair quite a bit. I like the straight look, too. And that is not to say curly doesn't work. The straight hair is a nice change of pace. But she doesn't do it all the time because apparently it takes hours to get it that way.
That's it for now. I won't have a vacation for a while, for those of you keeping track! Have a safe and hopefully warm weekend!
This may be the longest I've gone without blogging since I started the blog. Even back in the dark days when I stopped the blog for a bit…it was only for a few days (before The Suits came crawling back and asked me to start it up again!). There were a few times during my vacation that I thought about blogging. But in the end vacation was just too good to mess up by thinking about work.
Work did not pop into my mind much at all while I was away. Vacation was fantastic. As Faye was saying to me yesterday we did not do anything monumental…and it was perfect. We spent a few days in Chicago around the New Year. The rest of the time was spent relaxing. We both had the same days off for this vacation because there was talk of a Mexico trip. But as things worked out we just spent the days around home, mostly.
There is some feedback from last week and while I was away. It will be posted tomorrow, along with anything you want to tell us between now and tomorrow morning. The feedback form is below or you can send an email.
Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? This may not surprise you…but I don't believe in making any. While I don't begrudge anyone that does I just find that for me it works better if I take stock of my life once in a while and decide to make changes then. Most people don't keep Resolutions anyway…so I figure why stress yourself out over it. I generally strive to be a better person every day so I don't hold anything until around the first of the year.