--See you later February. Much like January we can't say we are sorry to see you leave this year. Maybe we will dig you better next year.
Well hello there, March. The general feeling is you are going to be very wet. But let's just hope you aren't as frigid as that vixen February was this year.
--Over the weekend we went to a wedding in Indianapolis. My little cousin got married to a very good dude from Belgium. It was a nice ceremony and the vows that they both wrote were very well done. Faye, my brother, Dad, and I were together for the weekend…and it was a blast. We stayed with good friends Saturday night. All in all…it was a fantastic weekend. And now I need a weekend to recover from the weekend.
--Last week we spoke about Laine's departure from the station. There isn't too much more I can say about it. But some of you have asked where she is headed. I don't know where she is working now, but I do know that it is not a weather gig. She got a job in a different business closer to home. I really thought she was getting good, especially in these past few weeks. But life is too short to be unhappy, and you can't blame anyone that feels they need to continue their search.
--It looks like a pretty easy week, weather wise. We'll be in the 40's/50's during the day with maybe a little rain into the weekend.
"If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have
...no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog."
Here is another good blog I found on the Wisconsin situation. It seems to be a pretty fair look. Check it out if you care to hit this link.
From Scott (2/20/11):
I bet I know what changes you're keeping so secret about at your station. You are replacing Lee as he retires while the suits are doubling your salary. Well, there goes the TV ratings.
Heh. Not exactly, my friend! One of the changes to which I referred I mentioned on yesterday's blog. This weekend is the last weekend here for Laine Sylvester. Some have noticed the ad in the classified sections from us looking for a new weekender…so this isn't really a huge secret. We will certainly miss her!
From Larry (2/21/11):
I liked your post on the blog, let's say this would come to be a great gathering of very unsatisfied tax payers marching on, Washington, and Wall Street. It would fall on deaf ears.
#1 the President and Vice Pres. wouldn't even be their, DC would be empty.
With all the tweeting, face booking, and e-mails, big brother would have them all gathered up, and whisked off in advanced.
Government was set up for the very people who never have a say.
Maybe we should be in charge of what all is in the spending. Foreign aid, Research, and etc. in passing a Budget. Let us vote on our cuts of our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. How our tax dollars are spent and who get pay raises in Washington and State Government. You big old boys want to vote something into Law…fine as long as you get the same benefits as we tax payers will after it becomes a law of the land.
Especially here in Illinois. In the Illinois Piglet Booklet, last year our State donated our tax dollars, to 2 different Colleges outside our State. While having a Deficit next in line as big as California. Once voted in office, there must be a special award for looking stupid, and how bad you can run up a deficit, on how bad you can handle State, and Federal money.
I was once told our plant Manger was highly educated. My reply back was, "None of that matters, especially if he has no common sense."
It's now belief, that's true with anyone who gets elected. Speak good tighten your tie, super tight, cut off the blood going for making common judgment on making any kind of decisions for the voting people who you will represent.
Your opinion and distrust of our elected officials is certainly shared by many, Larry. It's a vicious cycle that I personally believe starts with We the People. If more citizens would vote responsibly, or at all, we would have more say and power in regards to what our elected representatives can and can not do. For instance…if we actually remembered the politicians that voted yes for their own raises…we could collectively vote them out. Once that happens a time or two the politicians will know that we do not want them to make more money when everyone else is losing a job.
From Jerrie (2/22/11):
good morning greg reading your blog really brings to mind of how the unions were formed way back when from then to now things have really gotten out of hand we as people are greedy selfish people we need to go back to the basics and enjoy the simple life people have no idea of what family time really means if we would go back to the family life we would understand what its all about and the same way with the government we need to learn to hold out our hand to our neighbor and give a helping hand this would help to heal this world we need to slow down and smell the roses as they say and i do understand the teachers position in wisconsin i hope that all teachers get what they are working for
Maybe one of the great things that will come out of our current hardships is a return to more basic living. Most of us have already slimmed down our lives over the past couple of years during this horrible economy. And the next couple of years are looking very tough for state governments. So maybe if we make it through this mess as a country we can come out the other side with a more responsible way to live.
From Angie (2/22/11):
Thank you for your posts from yesterday and today. I'll sign up for that march today! People on either side of the fence HAVE to start paying attention to what's really happening, to find out the truth instead of just believing anything they hear. All too often, we're given the slight of hand so that we're distracted from that truth. Find out if what you're hearing is true...and make an informed decision about whether it is right! Just because you heard it on FB doesn't make it true. Even if it's all in caps....
Are you suggesting that Facebook is NOT a beacon of truth?? Shameful, Angie. Shameful!
From Union Guy and Damn Proud of It (2/22/11):
I won't be able to tell you what's wrong with Unions.
But the people who try to talk the Unions down all the times, are miss informed, or don't like to see other people get paid more being Union, better benefits, and more time off with paid leave.
Perhaps they don't know if it wasn't for Union workers having a Sit down strike back in 1935, we now have the 40 hour work week. Most working places pay time and a half, for over time hours worked. Because of that sit down strike.
Maybe they are glad we have Child Labor Laws where their children don't have to work, and get back in School for a better education. Guess they didn't know about the United Mine Workers going out on strike, to get the young kids out of one of the most dangerous occupations.
I personally, and many others in the same Union were out on strike for 18 months, not because our wages were a big issue, or losing any benefits.
That's because the Company wanted to bring in New employees for Half Wages, and Half the Benefits, that we were receiving.
Unions are accused of raising the Cost of Living. (False) Our pay raises are Negotiated at contract time. Our COLA (cost of living allowance) is based on the Consumer Cost of Living from the last quarter index. We didn't raise it, it was already raised.
Is that being Greedy for only our own benefits? I don't think so.
That is what Union is all about, looking out for the other guy, he/she and their families welfare.
In the very world we live, and work in today, we have Leaders, (The ones who will fight for something better) Leaner's, (let someone else get things done), and finally Losers.
In closing Greg. Please sign me… Union Guy and Damn Proud of That
Alright, Union Guy! I appreciate the historical lesson. Certainly unions have played a huge role is shaping our current work situations. And I can personally see the benefit of having a union keep a company honest in regards to that company's employees. I can also see the point of people that point to the past corruptions of unions. Corruption is a concern anytime you have 2 things involved…people and money. But I can't see wiping out all unions because a few over history have decided to play the game unfairly. As a "working dog" I have to fall on the side of those that collectively work to improve the "working dog's" life. But that's just me.
And of course…just to show the other side of the conversation…here are some links that were sent to me by someone that seems to prefer no unions. It is America…and we must respect every one else's right to have a different voice!
This Red State website is obviously a Conservative website. If you're interested check it out. I perused it a bit and there is a lot of information there. Like any Liberal based website some of the information is probably accurate, and some of it is slanted to meet the desired side of any argument. As Angie was saying before…it can be tough to sort through the baloney to find the truth. And as a pretty moderate person I think the truth is usually somewhere in the middle!
Here is one based more specifically on the Wisconsin situation. You will likely recognize the author right off the bat!
And here is another one from the same website, but a different author. I will say this about the author of this one…I can not stand her. To be honest…I can never even get to what she actually believes because the way she delivers her message is completely obnoxious to me. In fairness, though, I will say that she knows her audience and is impactful. You either fervently love her…or fervently despise her!
One thing to bear in mind with this Wisconsin union situation is that we are dealing with a public union, and not a private union. The biggest difference as far as I can tell is that a private union negotiates with a private company. But a public union negotiates basically for our money, not a private company. And I think that does change the argument for Wisconsin a bit. Although I still fully support a group of workers' right to collectively bargain.
That's all this week. A little bit of snow this morning and a blast of wind wasn't a good combo for my commute. I almost went off the road in front of a bridge…which would have put me into a ravine and possible into a little river. Fortunately I happen to be an excellent emergency driver and my car handles very well in crappy conditions. I won't lie, though…I was throwing some obscenities out as I was headed for the front of the guardrail! But all is safe and sound.
--Alright. I hear you. Back to laughing for a day. Who could go for some Beyonce??
--Looks like another winter storm for us into the morning tomorrow. Most of the area is expecting 3 to 5 inches by early tomorrow morning. North of interstate 72 could see more, according to some. Me? Personally I am not buying that we will have 5 inches of accumulation. But since there are warnings and advisories everywhere I have to go with it. But on this blog I will tell you that I will be surprised if anyone gets more than 2 or 3 inches of actual accumulation. We will see tomorrow morning!
--Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". There are a lot of opinions to be shared! Get yours in now. Hit the feedback form below…or just send me an email with "blog" on the subject line.
--Pay attention to the weather on our station this weekend during the news. It will likely be the last time you get the chance to watch Laine Sylvester. Drop her an email here in the next day or so if you'd like to say goodbye. She's moving on to "greener grass"! I like her…and will miss her being around.
If you've been with the blog this week…and fewer of you have because for some reason Comcast, AOL, and some Yahoo email alerts are coming back to me undelivered…you may notice a trend. It's been a pretty serious blog this week. While I know some of you come here to hopefully get a laugh (usually at my expense!) there are things happening in the world this week that I firmly believe are worth our attention and seriousness. And you know it's messed up when I am actually saying we should take something seriously.
What began recently in Egypt has been spreading through the Middle Eastern/Northern African area. Libya was the country getting the most attention yesterday. All of these "revolutions" are cool to watch. But we don't really know what kind of governments, if any, will eventually sprout up in the wake of the chaos. And that should scare the Hell out of us. With our own tightrope of financial issues to sort out in our own country we can hardly afford for the countries providing us many of our vital imports to stop providing us these imports. It's not like we produce much more than mediocre popstars and some food these days. Could we survive without Middle Eastern oil? Yes…we can. But our world will be vastly different without it.
Factor in our own financial struggles in states like Illinois, New Jersey, California, and the big battle right now in Wisconsin…and it leaves me feeling less jovial on the blog this week. There is a blog that I read yesterday that spells out the situation very well, I think. I've given it some thought and I have decided to post the link here. Now keep in mind you will find naughty words on this blog. Some of the words will likely offend someone. So if you are a person that chooses to be easily offended you should not hit the link…or at least not complain to me if you do. So hit this link with the full knowledge that there are cuss words on the blog. My assumption is that you are either an adult, or a minor reading this blog under adult supervision. Proceed at your own risk.
As always you are more than welcome to sound off here on the blog. You can use the feedback form below. Or if you have a lot to say just drop me an email with "blog" on the subject line, and I will get them posted on "Feedback Friday".
This Wisnconsin teacher situation has me thinking lately. Can someone explain to me what is so wrong with unions? Lately that's the rap from a lot of people, that unions have destroyed America. But let me try and get my head around this. Let's see…I give a group of people a small piece of my salary. And in return they make sure I have decent working conditions. They make sure I am paid a fair salary for the services I render. They make sure I get certain benefits like health care and a pension for a fair market price. If I am wrongly fired they go to bat for me to get my job back, or at least get some kind of compensation. And they keep management from flat-out firing me when I've been with the company for a few decades just so the company can save money on my higher salary. Wow. That's horrible for the working man! Whatever. SIGN ME UP!
I can clearly see why the people in charge would be anti-union. They likely don't want to go back to the standards of the 50's and 60's where the people running a company didn't make 400 times more than the average worker within the company. I guess the only question I have left about this topic is why doesn't the average worker in this country support unions? Have we really been beaten down so badly that we can't even see the pure logic of this situation?
Personally I think it is sad. People are inherently greedy. And in a situation without regulation that greed takes over. And that is when people make decisions based on their own selfish needs. Don't believe me? Then you try and find another reason why a select few financiers would create an entirely flawed mortgage system that ended up sinking the world economy just so they could make a few billion dollars for themselves and their friends.
We've been hoodwinked. Hornswaggled. Run amuck. Only this time the great divide isn't based on race…it's based on class. There are those elite few with 98% of the world's wealth…and then the rest of us. And if you aren't the one making millions or billions every year off the backs of the working class you should be very angry.
We've got some big issues in our country, quite obviously. The President released his budget last week. And ever since the pundits have been doing what they do. Lawmakers have been on all of the shows giving their slants on what they think we should be doing. There's actually been a little bit of voting taking place. And it all still smells like crap to me.
As an example…the House voted to un-fund PBS and Planned Parenthood. However…a bill that would defund a $7 million Army banner on an automobile for NASCAR was voted out. Yep. Big Bird has to go…but that stupid Army sponsorship on a friggin race car can stay. Now you tell me how We the People are supposed to watch what is happening right now in the Middle East and not want to storm DC.
Let me state this clearly…this is my blog, on the station's website. What I say here is not the opinion of this TV station or the company that owns the TV station. This is what I think. And I think we need to show a little "Wisconsin teacher" to our national leaders. Someone should start on the west coast and start walking. As that person walks he/she will recruit unhappy Americans. And let's see how many followers this person has by the time he/she makes it to Washington. My guess is that person would not be alone.
And after the crowd makes it to Washington to "overthrow" our current leaders it needs to keep heading east until it gets to Wall Street. When it gets to Wall Street the crowd should do what our own government won't. The crowd needs to grab the presidents and leaders of the major banks, like Citicorp, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, you know…the people that sold out the world so they could make BILLIONS. The crowd then does what needs to be done to these financial leaders that have raped not only the American people but people all over the world.
Hmmm. Maybe that is a good place to stop for the morning. I'm actually in a great mood this morning. But this financial mess is on my mind. And I don't see anyone doing anything to the people most responsible for it. Argh.
And these children that you spit on…As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations…They're quite aware of what they're going through.
From Scott and Connie from Pana (2/11/11):
Greg, Just wanted you to know you have been great at delivering the weather news, really impressive when we had the bad weather to see all of the weather people there. We might be headed to Mattoon for sat any good places to eat?
We've been there several times but eat the same places. We really like the theater over there.
We would be thrilled to meet our favorite weatherman.
Keep up the good work.
Connie & Scott from Pana.
Hi, Connie and Scott! Thanks for the compliment. The morning where JC came in was actually a lot of fun. Work is a blast when you're around good people, isn't it? And JC is good people.
I'm not sure if you meant this Saturday or last Saturday. But as to good places to eat in Mattoon…like anywhere it depends on what you want. There are a couple of "decent" Mexican joints. The QQ Buffet is where we like to get Chinese food. Of course the best pizza in the area can be found at Villa…but their only spot right now is carry-out and delivery until they get the new restaurant going. In the coming weeks there will be a fantastic place to get food…but of course I can't mention it yet. As soon as I get the okay I will tell you all about it!
From Sharon in Decatur (2/14/11):
For some reason I no longer have the feedback form when I get your updates so here's what I would have said:
I'm a big Cardinal fan & I have my Pujols t-shirts but I agree with you--let him move on!!!!
Sad as it may be to let the best player in baseball get away, Sharon…you really have to think of the overall team. And while Albert does much to get us to the post season some years…I don't think his post season performances have been tremendous. If they can't come to an agreement at the end of this season that doesn't mortgage the next ten years I would love to see them go after Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez for 2/3 of Pujols' salary. That would leave them enough cash to get another All-star caliber infielder…and would make the overall team better.
And thank you for sending an email in lieu of the feedback form. Personally I think the feedback system is a little janky. If I were to send feedback I would just send me an email with "blog" on the subject line. But then…I don't like to fill out forms that ask you for so much personal information, including household income. I understand that companies like to get demo information. But I usually choose not to take part. Damn the Man!
From Phil in Cissna Park (2/15/11):
In defense of Buster should he NOT look for revenge, I doubt he would stick a paw into an open "flame" twice. Enjoyed the story...and happy for you and Faye enjoying Valentine's Day. I liked the 11/1 delivery of the roses, too!
Thanks, Phil! The roses went over HUGE! I think the surprise was good…and the fact that I RARELY do flowers made it even more special. It's like I am always trying to tell people in our "over-the-top" media world…LESS IS MORE! But of course when a company finds something that works they want to blow it out until people are sick of it. Ugh.
To the best of my knowledge Buster has not gone after Macy since "the incident". As a matter of fact…Macy was laying on a prominent part of the couch last night with the 3 dogs on the floor. I think she may have put herself at the top of our pack!
From Terry (2/15/11):
Okay Greg I must comment on Albert Pujols, I see where you are coming from because the salaries are getting out of hand. The question is, what is Albert worth? To St Louis and all the fans he is the franchise and to lose him would be major for the city of St Louis and all of the fans. But there is no one in baseball right now that could replace him on the Cardinals and make fans forget about him, me included. I was really into Mark Mcgwire in his glory days, but Albert has something about him that no other player has today. I hate to say this but if the Cardinals cannot sign him and he goes elsewhere, I would have to cheer on the team that he plays on, and I do not like the Yankees or Cubs but if it came down to that I might just have to be a fan of their team. I have been a Cardinal fan all my life but if he goes I go too.
That's the beauty of our "free" country, Terry. You can choose to follow Albert, and I can choose to follow the team. For the record…I did the same thing back in the day when Reggie Jackson went from the A's to the Yankees. I loved Reggie, and followed the A's. But when Reggie moved…I moved with him. Yes…I was a Yankees fan when I was a kid…but I was only 8! And then in 1983 I started following the Cards.
One player can not make much of a dent on a baseball team, especially a player that is over 30 and headed for the downside of his career. If the Cards pay him $30 million a year for ten years, or whatever he's looking for, then the final years of that HUGE contract will be when he is hitting 20 to 25 homers a year and batting .260. And at that point we won't be able to afford to buy another bat, provided the economic system is the same. I love Albert as a Cardinal, too. But not at the expense of future teams.
From Jerrie in Decatur (2/16/11):
Good morning Greg keep the warm weather coming the we can get out and start walking the grands enjoy going to the park and having a picnic and playing on the play ground equipment tell tara that she will be a very good mother hope all of your team has a good weekend
We will do what we can, Jerrie! I only wish we actually had that kind of control over the weather.
From Mark in Decatur (2/17/11):
My father and I were watching your forecast when he related a story about when he was working.
He's a retired truck driver who drove trucks for over 30 years. He said that this time of year was he favorite because the warmer weather made you feel good to be outside especially driving the big rigs like he did.
Also, when I was growing up, this stretch of warm weather was called "The January Thaw".
I've heard of the January Thaw before. There is actually a strand of meteorology called "biometeorology" that deals with how the weather impacts our health. It is a fact that the sun, or lack of sun, can have a huge impact on our moods. It's pretty interesting stuff.
From Little Sister in South Carolina (2/17/11):
Greg, you waited until you are this old to stop trying to annoy me? Better late than never. Have a great weekend :0)
So the other day after I blogged about the Albert Pujols/Cardinals situation I get a message from my little sister telling me that she doesn't like it when I blog about sports. She told me it was boring. My sister…who lives on the East Coast next to the Atlantic Ocean, in one of the best tourist locations in our country…wanted me to know that my blog was boring when it was about sports! My first thought was "why aren't you sitting by the ocean playing with my beautiful niece instead of sitting in a room reading my blog?!?"
I think chances are good, Lisa Lisa, that I will always annoy you. That is my hope, anyway! Love you!
That's it for this week. I mentioned the other day some big changes happening around here. I still can't tell you what I meant…but it is more than one thing changing. Stay tuned!
--This is going to one of those days that will make a lot of people wish they didn't have to work. We'll get a little sunshine…a lot of clouds…a bit of a breeze…and temperatures in the 60's. And don't give me that crap about just being happy you have a job. We get that…the economy still sucks for us small people. A lot of places are still getting squeezed by greedy bosses that are still using this poor job market just to improve their own budget bonuses. But sometimes there are more important things than money. Being able to enjoy a day like today, to me, is more important than money. I think I will go home after work today and sleep in the yard. If you see me in my backyard sleeping don't worry. I'm not passed out drunk back there. I'm just enjoying the fact that I am lying on grass and not snow.
--Most of us took it on the chin a little bit with our forecasts yesterday. It really looked like we would start clouding up in a big way. I kept saying all morning that we would see clouds move in by the end of the morning. They just stayed away! It doesn't matter as much when we err on that side. Now if I had said it was going to be sunny and warm all day and instead it was overcast, cold, and raining then people would have been calling about their rare Sicilian donkeys being stuck out in the wet! (That's an inside nod to some folks that will know what I'm talking about. Yeah…a few years ago I had a whack-a-doo call me and rant about her donkeys. Sometime I'm going to find a way to post the audio file for you. Hysterical!)
--I won't go on much about this because I don't want to annoy my sister…but the deadline for the Cardinals to sign Pujols by the start of spring training past yesterday. Now at the end of this season, barring a real development, Albert Pujols will try free agency. I'm just not sure one player in today's market will bring in $30 million a year. I hope he stays with the Redbirds. But as I blogged earlier…I am okay with him leaving, even if he ends up on the Cubs. We could get two All-Stars and some good role players for what we would need to pay Pujols. Don't you just love it when fans start saying "we" in regards to their favorite teams? Sure…like the Cardinals are going to consult me before making a move!
--I wouldn't give a squirt to know any more about the upcoming royal wedding.
--Did you know there is a video blog on this website now? The "vlog" was put together by our website guru Cody Carter, or Carl as I like to call him. It features one of our sports guys, Noah Newman, giving his thoughts on some things. I watched part of it. Not bad. The frustrating thing about this website, though, is that anytime you try to watch any video you have to sit through 15 to 30 seconds of commercial. But I guess we have to pay the bills somehow. And giving 30 seconds of your life to get something that doesn't cost money isn't bad, especially if you multi task. I'm not sure where we are keeping this vlog on the website…but I'm sure if you look around you'll stumble on it.
--This blog this morning might be a little random. There isn't one huge pressing issue on my mind this morning so I am trying to just let it rip with what crosses the cerebellum. Is it the cerebellum that controls our thought functions? I have no idea. Maybe someone should Google it. Or not.
--There is no way I can get into details on the blog right now…but in the coming month or two you very well could see some big changes around here. Stay tuned…
--Looks like we will stay pretty warm through the weekend. It's also going to stay pretty wet around here. Maybe some drizzle today and tonight with some fog into tomorrow morning. The snow and ice will continue to melt. And then coming out of the weekend it'll start raining a bit. Wet and warm usually beats cold and frozen this time of the year! Don't worry if you miss the cold. It is starting to look like we will get at least one more cold stretch before we hit Spring.
--Have you noticed Tara Barrett's size lately? Our girl is getting to that point where she looks like she could pop at any second! I will be completely honest here…she has only flipped out a couple of times since she became pregnant. Her temper and mood have stayed pretty steady…at least at work. But she talks about food ALL THE TIME! She remains one of my favorites at this station. I really think Tara and her husband will be fantastic parents.
--Friday is "Feedback Friday". Get your thoughts in now to make the cut!
--Saturday night Faye and I went to Champaign to have sushi for our Valentine's Day dinner. I've mentioned here before that I am not big into holidays, and Valentine's Day is one of the reasons why. The Facebook question of the day during the morning news yesterday had to do with believing if Valentine's Day was just a made-up marketing holiday. And to a large degree I believe that. But I will say this…it is fun to have this holiday when the person you are with is exciting. So maybe Faye is bringing it out of me a little bit…cause I really enjoyed this Valentine's Day.
Anyhoo…the sushi on Saturday was fantastic. And then we unexpectedly met up with some of our friends before we left town. We had a terrific time. Yesterday I had one flower delivered to where Faye works. That rose got there in the morning and made her happy. Then I had the other 11 roses delivered to home in the afternoon so they would be there when she got home. It was fantastic. And I am a little frightened that I got so excited about slaughtering flowers for this faux-holiday!
--This morning I was getting ready for work as I normally do. The dogs go out when I get up. I do some stuff, and then let them back in. I was just getting ready to put shaving cream on my face when I heard a yelp. I've described the boys to you before…Gizmo is the high-maintenance Shih Tzu, Boomer is our fancy lad, and Buster is ALL boy dog. Boomer and Gizzie have become playmates. And Buster has actually forged a relationship of sorts with Macy the cat. Macy is a beast and Buster is all boy, and had never really been around cats until Macy. There had actually been concern about how Buster would react to Macy. And there was even a little fear that he would try to eat her. And to be perfectly candid…I was actually a little afraid that Macy would eat Buster!
Technically Buster is a large dog. He's no behemoth…but he is over 60 pounds. Macy is a medium-sized cat, and lately seems to have lost some weight. But Macy is fierce. So this morning I hear a yelp from one of the dogs. I'm to the point where I can pretty much recognize each dog's "voice"…and I knew the yelp came from Buster. That is weird, because usually it is dainty Boomer that would be more likely to yelp. So I knew some stuff was going down if Buster was yelping. I stepped around the corner to get a sense of what was happening. Right away I see Macy sitting low to the ground in an "I just opened a can of whoop-#$% stance". And I look over to see Buster lying on the floor with both paws up on his nose. Apparently Macy had launched herself onto the much larger animal and attacked.
I'm happy to report that Buster is uninjured, at least on the outside. But I have a feeling that later today he will be looking for revenge.
Happy Valentine's Day!
As a St. Louis Cardinals' fan this season is going to be riddled with angst. Perhaps my favorite team will field a good team, or perhaps they will not. Frankly what they do on the field this season is not going to be the big story. The big story this season, provided there isn't a change in the next couple of days, is going to be the outcome of the Albert Pujols saga. Albert is in the final year of his contract, and he has told the team that if they don't come to terms on a new deal by the time he shows up to training camp…just a few days from now…that he will enter free agency at the end of the season.
For whatever reason Cardinals' fans are a mouthy group. Just ask any Cub fan. I am guilty of this…and many of my Cardinal fan friends are like this. Our favorite team has won many titles over the years, and fortunately we don't go through many stretches where our team isn't good. So we like to tell people about it…all the friggin time. But this Pujols' situation is one that has me breaking away from Cardinal Nation. See…unlike most I know…I am actually okay with Albert going to another team and I won't show bitterness or hatred for him if/when he does.
Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball today. And when he is through if he stays healthy he could very well end up being widely considered to be one of the very top players in the history of the game. His stats should certainly back that up. There isn't a good way to quantify his value to any team. And because of his invaluable nature on any roster I don't think you could ever find a number that could be paid to him that wouldn't undervalue his contribution to an organization. Basically I am saying that you could not pay him enough. He is reportedly looking for something like $300 million over 10 years. Paying one player that much money would cripple the Cardinals financially for a decade. And what happens in 5 years when Albert starts slowing down?
So I say thank you for a great run, Albert. And I hope we have a good season this year. But after this season I think it is time for you to chase your fortune elsewhere. Maybe the Yankees…Red Sox…Angels…or even the Cubs can handle paying Pujols close to what he deserves. But I would rather not see the Cardinals mortgage the next decade just to keep one player. No hard feelings…really. The best player in baseball deserves to make whatever money he can while he can. I don't think Albert Pujols is greedy. But we as Cardinal fans need to come to terms with the fact that we were really just renting Albert for as long as we could afford him. And now it is time to let him go.
So we have a big warm up coming in the next several days. A few days ago I mentioned during the weather that we might could get some fog this weekend if things go the right way. As it turns out it looks like the wind is going to pick up starting today. That should help blow the moisture along that we will have in the air from the melting through the weekend into early next week. So it is quite possible that our inches of snow and ice will melt through the middle of next week and we won't even have to deal with the intense thick fog that sometimes develops!
Big weekend plans this weekend? There is a "Bitterness Bash" happening in Mattoon Tonight. At Jeliniz Bar around 7 the Cromwell Group in Mattoon is bringing back a tradition that we began back when I worked for them. The idea is to have a party for the people that aren't too happy it is Valentine's Day for whatever reason. Back in the day people would bring marriage certificates, etc, and run them through the shredder. I hear the shredder will be there again tonight.
I've never fallen into that kind of bitterness…but it was very cathartic for many that went. I thought about going tonight just to stop in and say hello to old friends. But to be honest…even becoming unmarried within the last year…my life is so good right now that there isn't a need for bitterness in my life. Thanks, Faye! Maybe we will swing by for a little bit. I'm not sure.
From Jerrie in Decatur (2/4/11):
dear greg i would like to say thank you and the rest of the team for such a good job that each and everyone of the news team. this reminds me of the winters when i was growing up they were bad from the 50s thru the 80s back then it would start snowing around thanksgiving and stayed thru spring i had a lot of fun i lived in the country would have no power for week or longer and lot of snow drifts in our yard we would get lard tins put our food in them and bury them in the snow our food stayed frozen our land lord had the farm animals we would feed them if he couldn't get out there and of course we spoiled them and if anybody was missing any kids they would always come to our house once again a very big thank you for the great job that was done im disabled but was able to get to the store to put supplies in the house
No worries, Jerrie. You don't have to thank us…but it feels good that you do! And thanks for sharing your memories. They sound like good ones. Growing up…our house was one of the big neighborhood hangouts, too. Looking back…I kind of miss that!
From David in Altamont (2/7/11):
Christina will most definately catch flack from her performance, but at least it wasn't intentional, at least I don't think it was. Unlike Rosanne Barr's rendition a few years back.
She should have had a cheat sheet or telepromter or something, to help. In her defense, it's not an easy song to sing, correctly.
It always sends chills up my spine, every time I hear it, though.
I agree with you. It seems to have mostly blown over at this point. But I doubt it was intentional. I don't even think Rosanne intended for her version to be taken so poorly. From what I've heard she thought it would be taken with more humor than it was. But it is our national song…and you really shouldn't mess around with it. In a sense playing around with the national anthem is playing around with the veterans that fought for us. So it's prolly best to just play it straight. As to Christina…it's unfortunate that she messed it up in front of so many people. She's done the song before and knows the words. It was just bad timing this time around.
From Angie in Charleston (2/8/11):
Wow....a voice of reason. I think this should be published everywhere!
P.S. I haven't told you that I love the new haircut.
I thought it was a great letter, too. It's sadly rare these days to see such a rational response to any issue in our country. It's one of the things I like about our President, too. Most of the time he seems to have the patience and wisdom to think about things before responding. Heh. Most of the time…
From Jim in Taylorville (2/10/11):
Regarding Christina Aguilera (to be kind) "editing" the words to our national anthem... it seems to me that as a professional she should have endlessly practiced the verses ahead of time since (as you mentioned) she would be singing to millions of people worldwide.
Maybe the "suits" should have held auditions before giving her that opportunity? Even on "American Idol", forgetting the words to a song can bring about immediate disqualification. It also seems best that our beloved national songs are performed in a traditional manner at public events, rather then being stylized to such a severe degree that
nobody can even sing along. There have been years with better half-time shows, better commercials, and yes... even worse national anthem performances. At least the Packers and Steelers gave us the great game everyone anticipated.
Regarding solar storms, many years ago in the 1960's one of my teenaged hobbies was building new, or restoring antique shortwave radios.
(wish I still had those beautiful old radios, since they now sell for small fortunes) During the normal (and predictable) cyclical years of increased solar activity, shortwave reception would be severely limited, if it worked at all. Considering the "3rd World" and iron curtain countries back then who relied on shortwave for the REAL news and truth, those solar storms left a lot of people living in ignorance. I eventually wrote a college paper that described the effects of solar storms on the worldwide human condition. Bad things always happened during those years when so many people were shut off from the outside world.
I agree that a so called "super solar storm" could indeed shut down not only our power grids and satellites, but even the most antiquated dry cell or basic crystal powered communications system. It's like an 8.0 earthquake or a so called hundred year flood: The question isn't IF one will happen, the question is simply WHEN?
P.S. - I honestly DO like Dave Ramsey, and think he's a very bright and fine man who shares my Christian standards. I just wish his tiresome syndicated radio show wasn't dominating every available AM and FM talk radio station. I tend to work or play all hours in my little cabinet shop, and I love listening to talk radio. I'll soon buy a portable satellite radio just to enhance my options, but haven't yet researched that area. I know you are a radio subscriber, so I'd appreciate any suggestions or advice you might offer me. I'll need one that I can plug into my truck, just in case "my keeper" lets me leave town again someday. Naw... by this time in winter, my sweet wife actually begs for me to get out of her sight. <grin>
Hi, Jim! I'm glad you are still hitting the blog. I should apologize to you for your last feedback. Looking back I think you probably meant it more tongue-in-cheek than I took it. And because of that I came out kind of hard on it. So I am sorry about that. Thanks for sticking with us!
I mostly agree with you about the national anthem. I'm sure Christina practiced, and I know she has sung it before. But sometimes when you are live stuff happens. While it was a HUGE mistake…it was just a mistake and I don't think she should be skewered for it.
A few months ago some people were up in arms about a supposed new weapon the Chinese were said to be developing. It was supposed to be an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, device that would basically set us back in the stone age. Well that is basically what these solar storms could do if they get as powerful as NASA is saying they could get. Imagine…we've spent trillions of dollars over the past several decades to build our military arsenals to "protect" us against other countries and in the end it could be the sun that does us in, not each other.
Aight peeps…I have to crack on you about something. Our feedback lately is getting a little stagnant. The people sending feedback are sending great feedback…but it's becoming the same people over and over. I know for a fact, by watching the numbers, that many, many more of you are hitting this blog…especially lately. So don't be afraid to sound off. You are more than welcome to ask anything you like. You are more than welcome to bring up any topic that has been on your mind. You are more than welcome to share thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns of any kind. As far as I am concerned this is your blog, too. So hit the feedback form below, or send me an email with "blog" on the subject line if you have a lot to say. We love first-timers around here…so don't be shy!
Since we scared you with the super storms yesterday it's only fitting that we continue the process this morning! Have you ever heard of solar flares? Well apparently NASA is warning that we are expecting major solar flares in 2012. So now we not only have to worry about super storms…we also have to worry about the sun sending stuff our way that could wipe out our electrical grid. Here is a link to a story about it. And of course I'd love to hear your thoughts. Hit the feedback tab below, or if you have a lot to say send me an email with "blog" on the subject line.
I'm really not trying to fear monger here. I just find this stuff interesting. The bottom line is that we still can't predict the weather more than three days out with good accuracy, let alone these monster weather/solar events that people are throwing around. So I think we should be aware of what could happen…but let's not lose our heads. The fact is that every day in this life is precious…and it could end at any moment for any reason. That's why I keep one eye on the future…and one eye on the present. And for the record I am the only person I know that can watch two things at the same time!
--We are still doing P90X, in case you were wondering. Actually…even if you weren't wondering…we are still doing P90X. It's a great workout, and I am noticing results. Matt and I are not doing the 90 workouts in 90 days routine. But we are doing what 2 generally busy adult males can do. At the moment we are getting it in 4 times a week. But as I mentioned a while back on this blog…anything we do now is more than we were doing before. And both of us are seeing results. I would recommend it for anyone that wants to get into shape in a relatively short amount of time. But you should know that it is a real butt kicker, and if you have injuries, etc, you should check with your doctor before you begin.
--Yesterday morning I was perusing the internet and came across an article about the shifting of our magnetic poles. This isn't some "Coast to Coast A.M." hype. This is a verifiable scientific topic. It was an interesting read, but a little bit doomsday-ish. And then later in the day yesterday Lee Davis sent the weather crew an email with a link to the same story I was reading earlier in the morning. The article basically deals with how the shifting of the Earth's magnetic poles may create "super storms". I won't say that I agree with the article, but as I said I found it interesting. So I figured I would give you the link so you can check it out if you care to check it out. And as always you are always free to share your thoughts with us. Just hit the feedback tab below, or send me an email with "blog" on the subject line.
--Today is my Dad's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!
The other day my Mom sent me a link to a very funny video. The fact that Dad is one year older today has nothing to do with my decision to post the link today! I swear, Dad!!
Love you, Dad! You are the man I respect the most in this world, and I hope you enjoy the day.
--Here's a letter someone sent me that I thought was pretty good. His name is Alfred Bundy and I think he is a PR guy, or a syndicated writer of some sort. But he sent me the letter and said I have permission to post it. And I thought the letter was pretty good…so imma post it this morning! As always you are more than welcome to send me your thoughts. Hit the feedback tab at the bottom of the blog, or send me an email with "blog" on the subject line if you have a lot to say. This letter is mostly non-partisan and equal opportunity. The guy bashes on libs and conservatives. The letter is a little dated…from last Friday just before the President's speech on Egypt. Here it is:
As news cameras turn from beaten Egyptian protesters, you can be sure all sides will soon start beating up the President. The Left will excoriate Obama for not rushing in to support the protesters, always assumed to be democratic reformers in the mold of Thomas Jefferson, and the Right, for turning his back on a time-tested ally. Journalist Sam Stein's article last Tuesday bemoans how Obama's not making anyone happy with his reaction to the Egypt crises. Apparently, Obama was to either use his bully pulpit to cheer on the protesters, with promises of aid to come, or hunker down with Mubarek in a stubborn bid to keep his regime afloat.
What President Obama did was to wait, watch and gather information, information updated by the hour. NSC spokesman Tom Viettor says, "We have people in the State Department in particular that have long-established contacts in the region that watch what their friends are tweeting or putting up on Facebook, literally," he said. "We talk to press in the region and get assessments from them. We talk to U.S.-based reporters who have gone over there. Our embassy has reached out to as broad a cross-section of government officials, NGO activists, anyone who they can talk to, people even in the business community ... There is a vast web of interactions that are feeding a 24-hour cycle of updating information."
What a novel idea. Get informed, then act. Stein complains that Obama is "forever one step behind" events in Egypt. Well, of course he is. Egypt is not a chess game, in which you move a piece according to strategy. Unlike game pieces, humans will push back. The most universal critique of US foreign policy is that, at moments like this, the US reacts according to ideology, not fact. We either embrace reformers who turn out to be dictators, or embrace dictators, our old "friends" who are enemies of their own people. What President Obama seeks to do is get a feel for what is truly happening in Egypt before rushing forward with a plan, a plan which could create disaster if we back the wrong horse.
Today is Obam, , a's first Press Conference since the Egypt crisis began, but the slings and arrows won't start for another day or two, when the Palin-folk will accuse him of being soft on Jihadists, and the Left will tell him he ignored pleas from Egypt's enlightened reformers. Well, here's what White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod has to say about that: "You want to respond in a way that's thoughtful and constructive, and sometimes with foreign policy, the most constructive answer isn't necessarily the most visceral or satisfying." I think President Obama got it right.
I think most politicians have since come out in praise of how our government is handling this delicate Egypt situation, for the record. But I did think it was a pretty good letter. Your thoughts? Feedback goes up on Friday around here…
--Those of you that have been reading this blog since the beginning might remember me mentioning that it bothers me that "I" and "me" are two of the most used words in this blog. As I read over the recent past blogs it's something I've noticed again. But this blog is supposed to be a way for us to get to know one another. And with that comes the need for me to talk about…me. Believe me when I say that I don't have the kind of self-confidence it takes to do that a lot and not feel weird about it. Not really sure why I felt compelled to mention that…but it was on my mind.
--So the Packers won 31-25. My prediction of 27-24 was close! I watched the first 3 quarters and then went to bed. I thought the halftime show wasn't nearly as good as some of the previous shows. But the game was very good. Some of the commercials were alright. The little Darth Vader was prolly the one that sticks with me. Apparently the kid in the Darth Vader costume is a cancer patient, which is a nice story. Of course Budweiser always has nice commercials, too.
Aside from the game it could be the National Anthem that most people talk about today. Christina Aguilera messed up some words…which is never good when singing a country's anthem. I won't skewer her for it because I have never performed in front of 160 million people. But I do wonder if it is a mistake, that will hurt her at all. I would think that her current fans wi, ll stay her fans. But what she may have missed out on was making new fans, which is the point of a performer accepting the Super Bowl gig.
This week is almost over. It's been a bit crazy around here. And frankly I haven't been able to give a good effort on the blog this week. I usually do the blog as the last thing before the newscast in the morning. This week there just hasn't been much time to give the blog much attention. I feel bad about that, since this blog is just about my favorite part of my job. So hopefully things settle down around here next week!
I suppose since this week has been weather-intensive I should finish the week on the blog by mentioning a chance for a bit of snow into tomorrow morning. It'll be closer to I-70, and there shouldn't be much to it…maybe a couple of inches. And then Sunday night into Monday some of us could get another couple of inches. Another chance for some light snow mid-week next week…and then we get back to overnight lows around 0 closer to the end of next week. Pretty rough winter around here this year compared to recent standards. And we have La Nina to thank for that.
From Mark in Decatur (1/31/11):
With all o, f the impending snow coming in this week, it reminded me of the ice storm I lived through in nineteen seventy eight in April of that year.
Where I live in Decatur, we went without power for six full days before the power company had it back on.
The ironic part about it was that power trucks would fly down the street and there we were huddling around a gas fireplace cooking toast to have something to eat, waiting for a power truck to stop and turn the stupid power on.
Now we have a whole house generator so when the power does conk out, it cuts on.
I actually thought about getting a generator early this week. And then I looked at prices and decided we could make it through if we had to! Fortunately we did not lose power this week but I know a lot of people that did.
Thanks for the story, Mark. I think many of us that were around in the 70's and 80's remember some pretty nasty winter storms around here. I was in Knoxville, Illinois around that time. I can remember one winter when the snow was just about up to my chest. Maybe that's one reason why I don't get overly excited and hype up storms these days. 6 to 8 inches of snow just doesn't impress me all that much.
From Janice in Shelbyville (2/2/11):
Thanks for the awesome job that you & the weather team have done in reporting the winter storm this week. You guys rock :)
Well thank you, Janice! I tried to say something about this yesterday at the end of the news, but ran out of time. There is a lot that happens around here behind the scenes on a regular day just to get a newscast on the air. But on days like we've had this week it is almost a Herculean effort! We had people here for well over 24 hours. Some people were driving their four-wheel drive personal vehicles all over the area to pick up their coworkers to get them to work. Some were doing their regular duties…but working straight through for over 24 hours because other people couldn't make it to work. And most of these people you'll never see or hear about because they don't work in front of a camera. They make us look good…probably better than we really are. And they never squeak about getting credit. Amazing people.
From David in Mowequa (2/3/11):
you are a hottie hair or not love to have you do naked news LOL show us some chest hair damit
Gee…thanks, David. Let me just say that even though I am a little creeped out right now…if I ever did do a naked newscast…you would see more hair than most people would care to see. It just wouldn't be on my forehead.
When I get feedback like this I assume that a fake name is used and the person is just goofing. I can appreciate that. Most of us dudes don't get the real, creepy types of letters/emails. But you should see some of the stuff that some of the women have received around here over the years!
From Christal in Pawnee (2/3/11):
I'm sending you this because I don't know where else to voice my concern. When you go to the weather tab on the website and click on "Live Central Illinois Road Conditions From IDOT" you don't get the LIVE road conditions but the road conditions on 11/30/2010 @ 12:33:11 pm. This was confusing to me at first cause I saw all green and after this storm we had and the snow emergencies called I was sure the roads weren't all clear. I clicked on statewide and it sent me to gettingaroundillinois.com and showed me the most current map. Please bring this to the right person's attention so no one else out there goes out to drive down a road that is all clear by your website but is really shut down. This could be dangerous. Thank you.
Thanks for the heads-up, Christal. I sent your email to the people in charge of that kind of thing. Not sure why that happened…but peeps is working on it!
From David in Altamont (2/3/11):
The storm sure did cause alot of trouble. Some are just now getting power on, around here. I was fortunate enough not to lose power. It was bad enough that the plant shut down, Wednesday. That is the first time, since I've been there, 13 years. It was nasty. I hope we don't make a habit out of this kind of thing.
There was talk about a ground hog, but unless he used a jack hammer to chisel his way out from under the ice, he didn't see his shadow, around here.
Sadly the old groundhog didn't get much play out of us this year. On the 2nd we had bigger fish to fry, as it were. But word is he did not see his shadow, which I think means an early spring. I sure wish that early spring would get started now!
That's it for now. Have a great weekend! Enjoy the big game on Sunday if that is something you choose to watch. I will probably watch the first half and then go to bed, just like I've done for the last 6 or 7 Super Bowls. Sometimes my schedule does actually suck! Heh. If it is a great game I migh stay up and suck it up Monday morning. I still say the Packers are the more complete team, and I think they win in a close game. However…if Aaron Rodgers gets knocked out, and the Steelers WILL be trying to knock him out…then the game will be a Steelers' rout.
--I had a lot of fun working with JC Fultz yesterday morning. The two of us have almost always been on opposing shifts, and I don't think we've ever "tag teamed" a storm together before. I think we have a natural chemistry. We are also friends outside of work, in my opinion. That helps a lot. Yesterday morning was a great mixture of serious weather coverage and fun.
With a winter storm like this there isn't really any action to be taken moment to moment. Your preparation is done before the storm…getting groceries, gassing up the generator, etc. So once it starts snowing and icing you really can only sit back and watch the show. There's no action plan during the storm like there is for nasty spring storms. So given the lack of real urgency we were allowed to play around a little bit…which is nice. JC even commented to me at one point that he loved being able to clown a bit. Working on the "main shows" like he does there aren't many opportunities to show his great personality.
There isn't a "man crush" here…but as I have said before many times on this blog I think JC has really become a fantastic meteorologist. Watching him work yesterday morning made me feel more like a weathercaster. He's the kind of employee that a company should do whatever he wants/needs to keep him around. Of course that is just my opinion. What do I know about running a company?? My point is that I liked working with JC, and I think he is VERY good at his job.
--Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". As always you are more than welcome to send in your thoughts on…anything. Tell me how your storm experience was. Anything out of the ordinary happen to you? Feel free to share it here. Use the feedback form at the bottom of the blog, or if you have a lot to say just send me an email with "blog" on the subject line. There hasn't been much of the "or Not" part of "Weather…or Not" this week because the weather was so active. But tomorrow and next week hopefully we can get back to sharing completely useless information with one another!
My drive in this morning wasn't horrible. The farther north I went the worse it got, which is about what I expected. I assume the driving will be better once the sun comes up. There were long stretches on 121 where I couldn't tell where the road was. But slow and steady usually wins the day!
So with that in mind…I will not tell you not to drive this morning, because I had to drive myself. What I will tell you is that if you have to drive follow our two basic rules. 1) Give yourself PLENTY of extra time so you don't feel rushed. And 2) Go much slower than usual. In most cases that will get you where you need to go.
I'm typing this blog with JC Fultz standing to my right. Laine Sylvester is at the makeup mirror getting ready for her live shots. Somewhere in Sangamon county Lee Davis is warming up the StormRunner to do some driving this morning. And we start the news at 4:30 this morning. It might seem like overkill to some. But our goal here is not to hype anything…it is to be able to show you what is happening outside and around the area. The snow will be waning through the morning, but blowing and drifting snow will be an issue for the rest of the day.
That's it for now. Be safe out there. I gotta put some makeup on my 4 o'clock shadow. It's sad, really. I shaved a couple of hours ago. And while I can't seem to grow hair on my forehead anymore I have plenty to spare on my face (and neck, as if you needed to know that)!
--See ya later, January. Hello February. Your name is hard to pronounce and you are starting kind of harshly this year…but you are the month of love and we are glad to see you!
--Can we collectively agree not to lose our minds this week? We have ice. We should get more ice today. And then we will get snow. But our world isn't going to come crashing down this week…at least not because of the weather. Remember the 70's/80's? This is how a good winter storm used to be. That means we've seen this before. Is it dangerous? Sure…especially if you go out in it and don't respect it. But these things are easier to handle if you don't panic and freak out, especially when you are driving. Let's be sane out there…
--I got some very, very disturbing feedback yesterday. Most of the time I hold feedback until Friday around here. But once in a while someone will send something that requires prompt attention. And for this feedback I need to nip it in the bud, as they say. I don't want this kind of hysteria to spread any more than it already has. The time to stop this madness is NOW. So let it end NOW!!
From Bart in Champaign (1/31/2011):
Those Cowboys jokes are hilarious! Finally...something worth reading on this blog!
Stupid Steelers fans. I'm going to pay someone to take Big Ben bar hopping Saturday night! Let's see you win the Super Bowl with Big Ben in jail and Charlie Batch under center! Maybe you can bring back "Slash"…or the Dan Fouts look-a-like, Neil O'Clannahan! Tommy Maddox anyone??
Yeah…I know. It's a pretty weak case when you have to invoke past QB's just to try to win an argument. I still say the Packers will win, but it should be close.
--Be safe the next couple days. Really…if you don't have to go anywhere there really isn't a reason to risk it. And for those of us that have to go places…the two best things you can do are 1) Allow extra time to get where you are going, and 2) SLOW DOWN!!!