--You will be happy to know that my IPod is with me this morning. Right now I am listening to U2, "Red Hill Mining Town". Bono always just lets it hang out there. I admire that. To do what you do…with unbridled passion…that is the way to Utopia, in my mind. The quote that I just dropped might confuse some people that know me well, but it is true!
--Tomorrow is a big day in the state of Illinois. Starting at 12:01 tomorrow morning the state will begin recognizing and performing civil unions. It is obviously an issue of controversy in our country. You know I don't like to mince words…so let me just put it out there, again. I do not agree that gay couples should be relegated to civil unions. While civil unions are a huge step towards equality, anything less than marriage for all citizens is short of the mark to me. For straight people to suggest that allowing gay people to marry one another will somehow lessen the meaning of marriage in our country is laughable to me.
Over the course of my life I have known dozens of gay couples. As a general rule, and from my experience, the gay couples have just as healthy or just as dysfunctional relationships as straight couples. Aside from the obvious differences on the surface there is little difference between the two. A relationship becomes what the two people involved invest into the relationship. And it makes no difference if it is between a man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Hit the feedback form at the bottom of the blog to send us feedback. It will be posted on "Feedback Friday"! Also…you are still more than welcome to sign up for email alerts at the bottom of the blog, too. When you do you will receive an email anytime I update the blog.
--Happy Memorial Day! For the first time in a long while I am using a holiday graphic during my weather. It is going to sting a little bit, too, because the colors of the American flag are on the graphic…and it is close to a flag code violation. Don't laugh! I take the flag code seriously…and you don't have to look hard to see violations. Technically the image of the flag is not supposed to be on anything temporary. That means tee shirts, hats, or clothing of any kind, napkins, car magnets…or weather graphics! But the graphic I am using this morning is a nice Memorial Day graphic and it only has the flag colors with some stars and not the image of the flag, per se.
--I forgot my I-Pod this morning so I have been YouTubing it. I started with King Harvest, "Dancing in the Moonlight"…which I highly recommend. And then I went into an Andy Gibb marathon. I'm not sure why…but it was nice!
--We had a great weekend this past weekend. Friday night we went to my little brother Javiar's high school graduation. Yes…I am almost 40 and I have a brother that just graduated. More so…we have a little brother that isn't even in high school yet! I've mentioned this here before…my family is large and diverse.
Saturday we did some stuff around the house. With four furry beasts there is a lot of cleaning to do on a weekly basis. And Saturday night we were having company so the day was spent cleaning. That night JC and his wife Ashley came over for dinner…and they brought Wrigley. Check out JC's blog if you want to see Wrigley. He is just about a year old and already a beast. So it was a bit of a doggy play date and a lot of fun! Four dogs running around the back yard was a real…treat!
Yesterday we had breakfast with Faye's parents, something that is becoming a great Sunday tradition. They are great people. The rest of the day was spent with me doing a couple of things around the house while Faye rewired a light on the back deck to give us an outlet…she scrubbed the deck…and planted some flowers. Yes…she is a machine. I mostly relaxed on the couch while she was outside doing a bunch of work. I rationalized it by saying that I had to work today and she doesn't…so I had my holiday yesterday! Somehow I think I still come out looking bad…
--This week is going to be a bit of a scorcher! Today we hit the lower 90's, and we will be in the middle to upper 80's the rest of the week. And then the weekend puts us back in the lower 90's. Did we really just skip Spring? It certainly seems like it! Enjoy the holiday today!
--I had to take Wednesday and Thursday of this week off to head north for some "business". For those of you that know…all is very well up north. Once again I take time off…and once again the area gets hit with nasty weather. It seems this happens quite a bit. I can tell you with the utmost certainty that I do not plan it that way. I WISH I was good enough at meteorology to see nasty storms weeks in advance! For a while it was Laine Sylvester that would catch the storms, and this week it was Kevin. I spent a considerable amount of time in waiting rooms while the storms were happening here, so I monitored Facebook through the day.
Man…some people are flat out mean! I get it…they don't feel personally connected to the people they see on the TV. That makes it much easier to flat out bash people in a public forum. But if they stopped to think about the fact that we are all local and all human…maybe they wouldn't be so quick to judge like that? I don't know. We've all had our share of public criticism with this job. It just comes with the territory. And while Kevin took some hits Wednesday morning he knows how to handle it. I know he knows because we've spoken about it before. He gets the fact that some people just need to vent about missing part of the Today Show, or whatever. But that doesn't mean that some of that crap doesn't sting from time to time. Thick skin is very necessary. That's why my complete lack of sensitivity is sometimes a benefit
Just a couple of pieces of feedback for today!
From Larry (5/22/11):
Replace hybrid inverter assembly. Replace inverter assembly w/ converter
Ugh. Inverters and voltage converters are devices used specifically in hybrid powertrains. Before we explore what we can do to prevent failure of these devices, let's first look at what they do to gain a better understanding of the nature of the beast.
An inverter converts DC (Direct Current) electrical current from the batteries to AC (Alternating Current), which is required to power the electric motor/s of the hybrid powertrain.
A (voltage) converter is a device that changes the amount of voltage (either AC or DC) of an electrical power source. These devices are used to take low voltage and step it up to high voltage for heavy duty work in a high power application where only a low power source is available, and conversely can be used to reduce voltage from a high output source for a light load application.
Heh. This is what COULD have happened to my car had I kept driving it with the bad wheel a couple of weeks ago. Thank GOD my dude at K.C. Summer's wouldn't let me keep driving it. As it was it cost me a little less than $500. That is much, much less hurtful than over 7 grand!
From Mark (5/23/11):
I'll put my five cents in about the "Rapture" controversy.
I found a website where you can look up Bible verses and I found an appropriate one who was stupid enough to listen to Harold Camping:
Matthew 7:15 (King James Version)
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Here's the url to find the verses. www.biblegateway.com
I figured that if anyone wanted to use the site they could.
Thanks for the link, Mark!
Have a great holiday weekend, all! I will be working Monday morning. It's going to be getting warmer this weekend, and we may have some storms tomorrow. But next week is looking like smooth sailing at the moment!
--Yesterday I was at a gas station in Decatur filling up before I headed home. I'm in my Prius and had just driven around 450 miles on about 9 gallons of gas…NICE…and I look over at a big, white Cadillac Escalade that was also being filled up. I look in the front of the vehicle and a dude was sitting there just chilling while he filled up his beast. He looks at me and gives me a look of recognition. I know the look…it kind of says "I know this guy…wait a second…who is that…OH! It's the weather dude!" So he asks me about the death toll in Joplin, Missouri, which at the time was around 90 and has sadly risen since yesterday morning. And then the guy tells me that he also reads this blog. Outstanding! I didn't think to get his name because it still sometimes makes me nervous to talk to people I don't know. But good morning white Cadillac Escalade dude!
--If you knew that you were going to die tomorrow…what would you do today? I was listening to someone on the radio this morning talk about how we should live like every moment could be our last. I've mentioned here on the blog before that it is something I believe, to a degree. Obviously we can't all quit our jobs and go skydiving today. But the overall point to me is to take a minute every day and appreciate being alive. And then when you have the opportunity…or create the opportunity…to do things that you've never done you do what you can to make it happen.
The older I get the more I realize that our main function on this planet is to be with one another. Every day I try to have a meaningful conversation with another person. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. And before you know it your routine doesn't include meaningful moments. At least that is how it gets in my life (I wouldn't want to transfer my situation to anyone else's life!) So for me making it a point to have a meaningful moment each day is important. And to me it makes me feel like I am not taking this life for granted. So what will you do today?
--This could very well be my last day at work this week. I have to go to Chicago to take care of some business. My hope is to be back by Thursday…but it just depends on how it goes. It may be next Monday before I get back. I will definitely not be here tomorrow, though. There is no substance to the rumors of me going north to interview for the job of replacing Oprah. I just want to get that out of the way right now!
The company/program we use to update our website no longer works with Windows Vista for whatever reason. That means I will not be able to update the blog while I am gone. But…I will likely be on Facebook over the next few days. So hit me up on the fan page to keep up with things. (Yet another reason I am pushing more towards Facebook lately…better accessibility!)
--Joplin, Missouri has been utterly destroyed in some areas of the city by a tornado. At this point they are talking about a death toll over 2 dozen…and probably rising. It has certainly been a deadly tornado season this year with the Gulf Coast catching some nasty tornadoes and now in Missouri.
As always the Red Cross is already on the scene to help those impacted by the storm. Those are amazing people, and some of them do what they do on a volunteer basis. Think about that for a minute…they leave their homes without the expectation of compensation to help people they do not even know. Amazing.
--I heard someone this morning on a national radio show intro their show by saying "Hope you survived the Rapture." It struck me as an odd thing to say. Wouldn't surviving the Rapture actually consist of being taken away with Jesus? Not to get too religious here…but if you are a follower of Christ wouldn't it be good to be pulled away during the Rapture? Not a big deal, I guess, but it just seemed the guy I heard on the radio this morning was missing the point of it all.
Speaking of the Rapture…it was interesting to be out and around people this weekend. Was there anyone that hadn't heard that a church was predicting the Rapture this weekend? Most everyone I saw this weekend had something to say about it. And while the church is probably backtracking now on their failed prediction…if their goal was to get people talking about Jesus and the Rapture it is hard to say that it didn't work. I am curious to know how many people picked up a Bible or Googled "rapture" in the past week. If you are a follower of that religion how can that be a bad thing?
--Most of this week we will carry a chance for storms. And most of this week we are listed as a slight risk for severe weather. We rarely see the intense, long-tracked tornadoes here…but it could happen. And even though the odds are good that you will never see a tornado hit your home…it is always a good idea to be prepared.
--We've started a little game on the Facebook fan page. Check it out this morning if you want to take part. I am not going to hype it up…I mean, I can't even give away prizes. But it might prove to be a fun little way to pass some time during the week. Hit the link up at the top-right of the blog, "like" the page on FB, and play along if you choose!
On the Facebook page we've been chatting a bit about the supposed Rapture that is supposed to happen tomorrow, according to at least one man. Some guy reportedly drained his retirement account of around $150,000 to put billboards up saying the end of the world as we know it will begin tomorrow. So how pissed is that guy going to be if he wakes up Sunday morning and nothing has changed?
Given the big news about tomorrow I knew that "Coast to Coast A.M." was going to be interesting this morning. And it was. They had a biblical "expert" on talking about how he does not think the world is going to end. The guy was actually making a lot of sense until the end when a caller brought into question how the world leaders were going to explain millions of people all vanishing at the same time from the Rapture tomorrow.
After giving a coherent explanation of what he thought would happen he goes on to say that our President is a Muslim. That is certainly crap we have heard before. But then the guy goes on to say that President Obama says he is a Muslim in one his autobiographies…which isn't actually true. And he also says that it is a well known fact around the White House that the staff makes special accommodations so the President can practice his Muslim faith. I would assume that would be accommodations in diet, and the daily prayers that a Muslim must do. But if that were true…wouldn't someone leak that by now? And even if it is true…who cares? Most Muslims don't want to kill anyone. It's a small group of people that happen to profess to be Muslim that we have issues with right now.
So there isn't any feedback for "Feedback Friday" this week. Frankly when I started shifting this bad boy to Facebook I knew it would likely mean the death of "Feedback Friday". I'm cool with that because FB is a much better platform, in my opinion. And for the most part you Gregorians have followed me over there…even the few of you that said goodbye because you wouldn't join Facebook are now on FB! And believe me…I do understand and appreciate some of you joining FB just to keep up with the Gregorians. I really do.
Have a good weekend! Storms likely tomorrow…but Sunday should be nice for most of the area. Good luck with the Rapture tomorrow. Hopefully we will see you back here Monday morning!
A few years ago I received an email from a woman in Mattoon that had a daughter in high school that was doing a class project. The project was weather related and required some of our climatic data. We occasionally will release information like this if it is for a worthy cause, and there is not a cause that could be more worthy than a Mother trying to help a child. So after a brief back and forth with both Mother and Daughter we figured out exactly what she needed, and I sent the information to them both. Honestly it did cause me a bit of work to get everything together, but it really was no big deal because I could tell that these peeps were serious about their science.
The other day I received an email from Dr. Iffat Ali, the girl's Mother and a professor at Lake Land College, one of the schools where I received my education. I do believe in trying to help out people and places that have helped me so I am always interested to hear from a former school. Dr. Ali's daughter's name is Munia Mustafa, and Munia is on the verge of doing something very impressive. Here is part of Dr. Ali's email that was sent to me, and many other people:
Please forgive me if this email came to you twice. I thought that when one of our students competes with global contestants and makes the semifinalists list (out of 7,500 entries from 90 countries), it places LLC on the world map and we should be proud of that. She is Munia Mustafa, who has submitted her LLC Independent Study research project to Google's Global Science Fair competition. She needs your vote to win the "People's Choice Award". Here is the link. Voting ends on May 20th."
We have a chance to help Munia in her competition. This is a local girl…competing on the world stage…and we can help her. It is not often we get the opportunity like this. There is a link that you can hit to give Munia Mustafa a vote. Please take a moment, hit the link, and help her make a GLOBAL impact! We have until tomorrow to vote...
--The new kid Kevin has his website profile on our website now. Basically it just tells you a little bit about him. It says on there that he is engaged to his high school sweetheart and he likes to spend time outdoors. And while it is awesome to have another Cardinals fan in the weather department to fend off Cubs fans JC and Lee…I can not for the life of me figure out how anyone would still be a fan of the St. Louis Rams. Oh well. The kid filled in for me on short notice last week without so much of a peep of complaint, so we can't hold the Rams thing against him. At least it shows loyalty to his hometown! Here is the link to his bio.
--On "Coast to Coast A.M." this morning they were talking about chemtrails. I posted on my station Facebook page that it would be hard not to blog about it this morning. While I am mentioning it as the topic of the radio show I listened to this morning…I am not going to blog this morning about chemtrails. The more you listen to this stuff the easier it is to believe we are being duped. That's all I am saying!
--It is graduation season again. This year I have a nephew crossing the stage, and a little brother…believe it or not. Obviously we are very proud of both. Derek and Javiar boldly find their futures soon.
--"Tiny Dancer" by Elton John is on my IPod right now. It might just be my favorite Elton John song. My Love Faye is an amazing piano player. I bought her the sheet music to this song and she says she can play it. Yet I have not heard her play it. Yes…this is me calling her out. I want to here you play it!
--Tough forecasting so far this week. We've got this area of low pressure off to our East that just won't go away! We might actually get some more sprinkles or light showers in some spots this morning and afternoon. This was supposed to be a dry week the way it looked on Monday. At least it shouldn't rain hard until maybe Friday night…
--Apparently I am not 5/8 Jewish German. There were two stories going around my family…and the one I shared with you a few months ago had my "people" coming over from Dresden, Germany in the 30's to get away from Hitler. That story is…inaccurate. I have two Aunts on my Father's side, and one is kind of our "Keeper of Heritage". She has our family tree going back a long time and I consulted with her this past weekend. She has the documents…and the real story.
My Father's people came to the States back in the late 1800's, and while they were from Dresden, Germany…they were not Jewish. My Aunt will be making copies of her stuff for me because I am interested in genealogy. I am not sure what all our background is…but there is definitely a lot of German, and the rest is European Mutt from what I can tell. I love this stuff.
It is weird to think you have a grasp on your heritage for a few months only to find out in one conversation that the version you were told is not the correct version. I went from not knowing…to being mostly Jewish German…to being completely European Mutt in a matter of a few months. I'm not complaining, though. There are African Americans that will NEVER be able to trace their roots because their ancestors were brought to the States on boats and sold as slaves without regard for their lineage. Think about that for a minute…
--For some reason we are still having issues with email alerts. Most of you still get them but there are still some addresses that are kicking the email alerts back to me. I do apologize to those of you that have not been getting the alerts. I believe someone somewhere is working on the issue, or at least that is my hope.
--Wouldn't you know it last Thursday I was bragging that I am rarely sick. And early Friday morning I woke up with a "call of the wild". I will spare you the details…but it became quite clear to me very early Friday morning that working the rest of the day would not be possible. So I did what I had yet to do in over 13 years here…I called in to work just a couple of hours before my shift was to begin. When people do that on a regular shift it can be a hardship to get someone to cover. But when you do that on my shift it really throws a wrench into things.
So I called Mary the morning producer to give her a heads up. Then I called Lee Davis at home and woke up his wife. Then she woke up Lee. He is the Chief…which isn't just an honorary title. He is in charge of the scheduling of this department so we are supposed to call him if we are going to miss work. So Lee presumably called the new kid Kevin. And Kevin came in to work Friday morning. Kevin said he had just gotten to sleep an hour before Lee called him. So…thanks for covering me, Kevin! (I've already thanked him privately.)
So I am feeling much, much better this morning. But sadly I may have passed that little bug along to my Love. She has had a rough couple of days, too!
--Our friend and fellow Gregorian Sharon sent me a link this morning to a new singing group out of Italy. In the coming months they are planning to show up in the States. The group is called "Il Volo", and they sing mostly opera. It is 3 people with amazing voices…and the kicker is that they are only in their teens. You won't believe it when you hear their voices, though.
Friday the 13th never bothered me. Have you ever seen the movie "Saturday the 14th"? Ridiculous…but I loved it growing up.
From Jerrie (5/6/11):
Good Morning Greg I hope this finds you well and doing good i like the face book page also but i like this page also i'm glad the weather is getting better but please try to send the sun lol i know that you can only do what the system tells you but just have to have a little fun keep up the good work. hope you all have a very good weekend for your Mother i dont have mine any more but we still do things as though she is still here but she is forever in me heart bless all of you at wand tv
Hi, Jerrie! Mother's Day was good. I wasn't able to see my Mom…but we spoke on the phone. She's a busy woman! I agree about the weather. Warmer is better this time of the year, if you ask me…
From A Gregorian (5/6/11):
I am sorry but I believe if we continue to buy Imports, Where will our Grand Children work?
Here Al-Qaida is confirming Osama Bin Laden's Death.
Perhaps if the Al-Qaida's strike the US again. Maybe the Pictures will be released then.
Maybe. My guess is that the pictures will be released in a few years, if not before. Again…I think it is probably a good idea that we take the high road on this one and not go nuts over killing this guy. He deserved it…no doubt. I always think of Barry Sanders, the Detroit Lions running back, who would never celebrate after a touchdown. "Act like you've been there before."
From Jim (5/9/11): (It's a long one!)
Suffice it to say that the new weekend guy Kevin did a very good job covering the Kentucky Derby storms last Saturday. In fact it was far too good of a job, insofar as those storms caused little, if any damage. The TV coverage lasted longer than the actual storms. Enough said.
On a more positive note, Meredith Vieira will soon be off the Today Show with the far more legitimate Ann Curry taking her place. Why NBC ever chose a game show host like Meredith to be one of the morning news anchors is beyond me. I hope that Matt Lauer will soon follow her and be replaced with a veteran reporter. I've watched "The Today Show" since the 1950's and I was just a little boy. Now I watch it every morning and hit the mute button on my TV after the first 30 minutes: That's all the time they now afford the "news". The next 3 and a half hours will just be the sissified Matt sitting there talking about fashion, cooking, or other silly matters.
I turn the sound back on when they do a "public interest story" that catches my interest. The Today Show has a long history of doing more than just the straight news, but this 4 hour morning show needs a major remodeling. I'd keep Al Roker, and agree with NBC that Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie are both good choices to move up a big notch. All they need to do now is replace Matt Lauer and get some savvy news producers. Change the Today Show back into what it used to be: Mostly news, with a bit of fun thrown in. I turn off the picture during the final hour, because my TV can't handle the sight or sound of Kathie Lee Gifford. That program has nothing to do with "The Today Show", other than it's name for the sake of the gallup polls and marketing.
Thanks for the nice Mother's Day weather Greg. It caused me and my sons to work our butts off all day for "Mom". (my wonderful and beautiful wife) We likely moved 50 tons of rock from one place to another, in a 6 hour ordeal I can only describe as "premature hell", yet we "got er done". The beer helped, and worked like magic until my wheelbarrow gave up once or twice. We were all covered in dirt, mud, and grime before it was over with, but most of it washed off. Now my wife will likely want all that rock to be moved again. I wish her the best of luck.
We now have our yards replanted and things are looking good again, really better than "good". Usama Bin Laden was finally executed by Navy Seals, so what more can a (ex-navy) man like me really ask? I'd only ask for Illinois to join the other 49 states and put our gun laws back in constitutional order, right AFTER they quit spending so much of our money while raising the constant debt. Cook County and our northern never-lands seem to have us lower-state people outnumbered it seems to me. We are being overrun by Chicago gangland problems, rather than us dealing with our own issues here at home. It's almost like being a poor man in Siberia, who one day heard that Moscow has spoken: He'll have to sacrifice even more, in order to help the "Motherland."
Yeah it was Mother's Day yesterday. I wish it had rained.
I will let this one stand on it's own!
From David (5/10/11):
I did not happen to see the part of the Ky Derby where Kevin cut in for a weather report, but if he did, it probably wasn't for long, as I think he was trained by JC Fultz. They both talk so fast, that I can barely understand what they are saying. Are they ordered to do this also?
I think many of us in this business struggle with finding a good speaking tempo, Dave. I get into stretches where I talk too fast. It is easy to do…especially when you are covering storms that are getting pretty nasty and you realize the storms you are covering are actually doing damage to homes at the moment.
From David (5/11/10):
Gee Greg, I am sorry I missed your explanation for re-running the blog about your trip to Myrtle Beach. If I had known this was coming, I would have notified anyone I know, so they could be privileged to learn this informative information pertaining to moles and their carriers. Next time give us a little lead time on your health education news. Thank you.
Well, Dave…if only one person was saved by reading my story it will have made it worth it to me.
From David (5/12/11):
My friend, after reading Wednesday and Thursday's tales of your life's pitfalls, and phobia's, it was all I could endure waiting for today's chapter in the tantalizing story of "The Weatherman's Tales From The Crypt".
From Jim (5/12/11):
Sorry Greg that you have such a major issue with "needles". (I give myself my own shots without any hesitation) I have a giant brother-in- law who is 6' 3" and 200 lbs. He fainted when watching the vet clipping his dog's nails, so you have some fine company. Hell... I can sort of understand all of that, especially if I say it "real fast".
What I don't like is dentists, who scare the dickens out of me. I can't seem to tolerate their invasions into my mouth. It's my
phobia: I don't like other people scraping or grinding on my teeth.
I don't like laying prone while a person is telling me to floss more often. It's simply not a posture that I can easily tolerate.
Your "needle phobia" story struck me funny, because it's so absurd, yet I can understand it too. We all have phobias, but a fear of "needles" is ridiculous. Today's syringes are nearly painless, and any pain they cause is usually less than a common mosquito bite. I would ignore any pain like THAT.
I am not you of course, and no two men are alike. You probably love seeing the dentist, but my dentist is a Nazi.
I actually have a great dentist that I will be seeing again next month. The dentist does not bother me at all…but I am the reason my old dentist in Charleston took the courses to be certified to give gas to his patients. I passed out on him while he was trying to give me shots for some wisdom tooth extractions.
So I decided this morning to run "Feedback Friday" like it would have last Friday had I actually been able to make it into work. Probably in a little bit this morning I will do another update for today (Monday). Sure…I will likely end up confusing myself, but why should this morning be different than any other confusing morning?
For the first time in 6 years I went to my doctor yesterday. I've been to a "Doc in a Box" clinic a couple of times in the past 6 years, but not to my main MD. Mostly I am a very healthy person. When I get a cold or something nasty that I can't shake I will go to a clinic to get some quick relief. And that is about it. Yesterday I had a couple of things that I wanted to have checked, so I went to my main MD. Everything is fine overall and I am glad I went.
I may have mentioned here in the past that I do not do well with needles. It's a bizarre thing if you know me. I've seen the insides of a human body. If I had to I think I could actually embalm a cadaver based on what I remember seeing growing up in a funeral home. Mind you…it would not be a pretty job, and my Father would likely flunk my work. But if I had to do it I think I could get the job done. I've seen some pretty nasty injuries in person, and blood does not bother me in the least. But when it comes to that thin little piece of metal piercing flesh my system usually shuts down and I pass out. It's happened to me when the needle was meant for me…and it has happened when the needle is for someone else.
I tried to give blood once when I was in college. I passed out when they pricked my finger to check my blood to see if I could even give blood. Oddly enough I wanted to continue on to give the blood but they wouldn't let me. They made me drink some juice, gave me a cookie, and kicked me out of the building.
I've passed out in the hospital when one of my Grandpa's was hooked up to an IV. He hit the button that delivers the morphine and when the medicine hit his body he moved and flinched in a way that made me uncomfortable. And then I looked at his wrist and saw the needle in his vein and passed out on my Grandma.
In high school I went to a vet for career shadow day. You may have noticed that I have a thing for animals and for a long time growing up I wanted to be a vet. While at the vet for the day the doctor was going to castrate a dog. So I walk into the surgery room to see the dog laying on the table and the doctor had just given the dog the sleepy medicine. I was standing off to the side and watching, and I was completely prepared and cool with watching the neutering process. Then a nurse walks over to the dog to give it what I assume was a local anesthetic. She pulls out a needle and sticks it in the dog. On my way to the floor my face struck the operating table. I put a nasty gash in the side of my nose and cracked my head on the floor. I still have the scar on my nose.
Several times I have passed out from regular shots. I haven't had a shot or needle in me since I was 30. When I go in for anything like that my doctor knows to have me lay down because that is where I will likely end up anyway. When I was 30 I was coerced by family to take what was only going to be the second blood test I've ever had in my life. The doctor wrote me a prescription for one Valium. I took the Valium and 45 minutes later around 7:30 in the morning before the doctor's office even opened the nurse laid me down on the table and drew my blood. I didn't pass out…but I still got the tunnel vision that happens before I go down. The Valium turned out to be the key to my staying conscious through the process. Those people were awesome to give me the Valium and the nurse came into work early so we could do the blood draw with no one else in the building. I forget her name…but I will never forget her.
So yesterday I am at the office with my doctor, and he cracks on me a bit because I haven't had blood work done in so long. I've got a family history that dictates that I need to monitor things like cholesterol and heart health. And my doctor knows that. The last time I saw him he wrote me a prescription for a Valium and told me to go to DMH to have my blood drawn. At the time they weren't doing it at his office, so I had to go to DMH. So I got in my car and started to drive around the block to the hospital to get my work done. But for some reason my car wouldn't turn into the hospital lot and I ended up at home on my couch playing video games the rest of the day. Well…they keep track of that stuff. So yesterday he called me out about skipping blood work six years ago! That's a good doctor.
I told him that the chances of me driving to get anything done with a needle are slim to none. He looked at me, smiled, and asked if I ate anything yet today. I knew where this was going…but I was honest and told him I had my usual breakfast. He wanted to hijack my vein to take blood yesterday morning!! It actually caused me a little anxiety because I knew what he wanted to do! But since I had eaten the blood work had to wait. So I have to go see him in 6 months about some other stuff…and my assumption is I will have to face the needle demon then.
I'm pulling out a story from the archives. Some of you have probably read it, and for that I am sorry for the rehash. But there are many more Gregorians these days…and I feel this story must be retold. Sure…it is an insensitive story in parts and I will not apologize for that. Life can be harsh. And the story is an important story to be told. Please do enjoy…
--Many moons ago I took a trip with some friends. One of my friends was getting married, and our group decided to take this fellow to Myrtle Beach for his bachelor party. I believe there were 7 of us on this trip. We had 3 in one car and 4 in another. It was a tight-knit group.
The trip from our happy homes in Illinois to our M.B. destination is about 15 hours long. You can do it in one stretch if you are determined...and we were...but you obviously are going to need to make the occasional pit stop.
On this particular trip we had a guy driving that was also the lead for this group on this trip. He claimed to know the best way...and we foolishly believed, even though I had made the trip a time or two before. This fool's way, however, had us going towards our nation's capital. Don't ask me how. At one point we were within an hour or two of D.C…which isn't good.
So we are going way out of our way to get to The Beach...and it ends up taking us 20 hours instead of 15. Naturally towards the end of our journey our tummies began to rumble with hunger. Some of us were getting grumpy, too. At this time...the time...was around 4 in the A.M. There is not much open at that time of day.
We were traveling now on a state highway, having left the interstate some time before to make our way into South Carolina. Along the highway, our stomachs shrinking, we see a big yellow rectangle, shining its light for all to see. As we got close the sign became more clear to us...it was a Waffle House. Thank the Heavens...we can eat!
We park the cars, and the 7 of us enter the building. This was going to be my first...and inevitably...my last visit to a Waffle House. I immediately began to see some problems with the establishment.
To begin...the floors were sticky. The walls were partly white with scattered dirt. I felt the need for a tetanus shot soon after entry.
The wait staff was about what you would expect at 4 A.M. in rural South Carolina. There were more teeth on the comb in my suitcase than in the entire wait staff. And I mean no disrespect to the dentally challenged. But I think you get the idea of the picture I am trying to paint here.
I suppose before I go further I should proclaim that I know our physical vessels come in all shapes and sizes in this world, and each is beautiful in its own way. I get that. And I do not look down my nose at those vessels that seem to lag behind the rest of the vessels. Bodies are bodies are bodies. However...there was one vessel in that Waffle House that changed my life...possibly forever, and certainly for that day. She was behind the bar, taking orders and serving food. She was of average height, and maybe a little bit chunky. She was a woman of color...but not just because of her African heritage. This woman is known in my group of friends these days as...The Mole.
She had possibly hundreds of moles on her body, including her face. Some of these moles were seepy and wet. It looked like she was the target of red spit balls in grade school...and the spit wads were permanently stuck to her face. People can be cruel and I remember thinking that her situation probably caused her some pain and probably made her the target of some ridicule. I actually do care about people and thinking about her possible pain made me feel badly for her to a degree.
We found our tables away from the bar and waited for The Mole to take our orders. She was friendly enough...and we were polite. I ordered a Denver Omelet and a Sprite...which is standard fare for me in a place like this. It was not long before our food arrived. We were jovial and maybe a bit elated, being so close to the end of our journey and finally having food in front of us. We hardily ate our meals, and I drank a lot of my Sprite. I drank my Sprite without really looking at my Sprite. I tend to not be able to eat much if I do not have a drink in front of me. My way of eating is often like a dump truck dropping a load into a pit. So when I drink during dinner I drink hard and fast.
So I am half-way through my Sprite...and I start to notice my glass. There is ice...and Sprite...and something else...in the glass. The something else at first looks like a soggy red pepper. It was certainly possible. There are usually peppers in a Denver Omelet, and the way I eat when I am that hungry could certainly lead to something falling out of my mouth and into my glass.
I pondered the "thing" for a few more seconds...and then noticed our waitress. She was pretty close to me at this point. I got a very good look at her pussy moles. My stomach dropped. I looked back at my glass of Sprite. With my spoon I pulled out the "thing", and gave it a very good look.
It was a mole.
--Yesterday's blog was not typed with an attitude. The point I was trying to make was just a straight point, with no emotion or bite intended. And that point was that whether or not you find severe weather cut ins to be an intrusion into your television watching…it is not up to the individual meteorologist to cut into programming. Those decisions are made for us by the higher ups, or Suits, or bosses, or whatever you choose to call them. I call them "The Suits". Sometimes it is one person, and sometimes it is a few. So when you frame your complaint emails or comments keep in mind that the point gets across better if you send them to the right person or people.
One of those right people is Tai Takahashi. He is our News Director and my direct boss. He is the person that calls us out for doing something wrong, and the person that gives praise when something goes well. And for those keeping track I feel he gives an appropriate amount of both praise and criticism. I'm not just saying this because the dude could recommend I be fired…but Tai probably has the best overall judgment of any of the 4 News Directors I've worked under. I've posted a link to his new blog here before…and I am doing so again this morning. Yesterday Tai blogged about the severe weather situation to make some points that I thought were interesting. If you are curious to know what goes into many of the behind-the-scenes decisions around here "Out on a Limb" is a blog you should frequent.
--It's not like I want to give the impression that I have a clue about such matters, but I am a little surprised that we haven't seen one of THE pictures of bin Laden after he was killed. The government deciding not to release the photos now is probably a prudent plan, given what the photos could do to incite what has mostly been a subdued following of the former Al Qaida leader. It's been pretty peaceful, for the most part, so why inflame the situation further by dancing on about how we killed the guy. Alas…we seem to be taking the high road.
It is very interesting to me, though, to see the videos that were released. And of course being over a week after the mission was completed we have much more information out about how things went down. While we will likely never be told the real story of what happened minute-by-minute…I think there is enough information out there now, including the fact that even Al Qaida admits he is dead, that we can all get back to the business of our business, whatever that business was before.
Our government, on the other hand, seems to be making some subtle changes that could show that we are changing our tactics on this "war on terror". General Petraeus is no leading the CIA. So we have a military General leading the intelligence community. Hopefully that means we will fight this "war" more with our intelligence officers than our military grunts. It's like fight smarter, not harder. But then again…I really don't know what I am talking about when it comes to this stuff. And I suppose neither does anyone else not directly involved…
So did you catch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday? I did. But I wasn't planning to watch it. Horse racing isn't my thing. But on Saturday I was watching something else on TV when the Emergency Alert System cut into cable to tell us about a tornado warning for Champaign county. So naturally I switched over to WAND to see how the new kid would handle the situation with severe weather and the Kentucky Derby.
Let me be clear about this…when there is a tornado warning in ANY of the counties that we "serve" we are supposed to cut into regular programming and follow the storm until the warning has expired. This is not what we meteorologists necessarily want to do. This is the station policy that we are expected to follow. If our market research showed us that you turn to us for sports then we would have cut into programming every time Jason Terry nailed a 3 during the Lakers/Mavs game yesterday. But you don't turn to us for sports…you turn to us for weather. So when there is a tornado warning we are told to cut into programming and cover the storm until the warning is done. And that is what Kevin was doing on Saturday. (Contrary to what some think, those of us that are "on-air" here do not work autonomously. We are told what to do and when to do it.)
Obviously it was inconvenient for Kevin because it was in the middle of Derby coverage. And that is the primary reason why I switched over to our station. I wanted to see how the coverage went. For covering his first tornado event…alone…I thought he did fine. I'm not going to critique his work because it isn't my job to do that. I'm sure someone else around here will do that. What interests me is how long he stayed on the air during the multiple tornado warnings. I have no insider knowledge of how it played out behind the scenes. But I imagine there were many, many phone calls and emails about Kevin covering the storms. And I would imagine that the calls and emails were very negative towards Kevin. That's the way it goes when you cut into something like the Derby. I also watched the complaint posts pop up on the station's Facebook page before someone deleted them. It was an interesting day. I just hope it doesn't rattle Kevin to a point where it makes him nervous to cover a storm again!
At some point in the middle of the tornado warning Kevin got off the air. My guess is someone in charge around here…yeah…one of The Suits…got in touch with peeps at the station and told them to get Kevin off the air because of the Derby. I think that is pretty obvious if you were watching on Saturday, so I am not breaking some salacious insider dope on this one.
I guess if there is a point to me blogging about this today it's that I wanted to let you know that when you see us cutting into programming to cover a storm it's not our choice. It is the station's decision. Once I was told to cut into the series finale of "Alias" back in the day to cover a thunderstorm warning. I didn't want to because I knew what the response would be, and I did not feel the storm warranted the coverage. But I had to…so I did. And predictably the phones went nuts. Another time I was told to do a usual morning cut in during a Presidential press conference. I didn't want to…but someone told me to so I did. And predictably the phones went nuts. Later I was told it was the wrong decision and I was given an apology. But I was told to do it so I did. The station's policy is the station's policy and we do what we are told.
So Kevin cut into the Derby coverage on Saturday not because he wanted to interrupt the race. He cut into the coverage because that is the station policy…it is what he was told to do. Maybe someone told him to stop covering the storm. I don't know. But as a general rule we don't have much choice in the matter. We just happen to be the person you see interrupting your show.
--Yesterday the price of crude oil plummeted back below $100 a barrel. It was the biggest drop in crude in quite a while. And when crude was below $100 a barrel the last time gas prices were around $3, I believe. Hmmm…wonder how much gas prices will drop in the coming days…if at all. I still think we are getting hosed at the pump. Meanwhile Exxon makes more profit than any company in the history of the world. Odd.
--My car is in the shop. I've got bad bearings in my driver's side front wheel. The tire had been making a loud noise lately so I had it examined. The Prius is at KC Summer's in Mattoon right now and I have a loaner. The dude at Summer's wouldn't even let me drive my car home while we wait for the parts. He said I could do major damage to the mechanism that recharges the hybrid battery off of the tires. And when he said it would cost me thousands to have said mechanism fixed I smiled and happily took the loaner vehicle. So as it is I have a new Sonata that is nice…but not my Prius, and next week when the part comes in I will get my Prius back. I think it'll be around $500 to fix. Ouch.
This is the second Prius I have had. Going back about 6 years with two Prii…this is the first time I have had to pay for a non-collision repair to either Prius. I consider myself to be very lucky, even though this trip will cost me half a grand. Over the long haul I have saved a boatload of money with fantastic gas mileage and virtually no repair costs on these Toyotas. Obviously I highly recommend getting a Prius.
--You have to love Alex Jones…nice. Watch this link!
I'd love to get your thoughts on these!
From Phil (5/2/11):
Good Morning, Greg;
And a good one it is. When I first heard that we got bin Laden, I was overcome with joy. You see, the attacks of 9/11 took away 228 of my former colleagues of Aon Consulting, Inc., I talked to on a daily basis. For years, I would hear their voices in my head...but now I see high-fives and hear thank you's of retribution.
I am in Birmingham with the Red Cross effort as you know...and i am no less that jubilant over bin Laden's demise. Though his death is little more than symbolic...I feel so much better...and I hope this news is welcomed by all of us.
Thanks for the thoughts, Phil. And once again…thanks for travelling far from home to help those harmed by the tornado outbreak.
From Mark (5/3/11):
I'm trying to get the Weather App for my phone.
I've got a Samsung Mythic Phone and I don't see a link for the app for that brand of phone. Can you give a fan some help? Thanks!
No idea on this one, Mark! But it's on the blog now so maybe someone that works here and can help will see it and get back to me!
From David (5/4/11):
I am so angry over the comment Rashard Mendenhall made on twitter, about Bin Laden and the American reactions. This scum bag ordered the killing of almost 3,000 innocent Americans, and we should not be rejoicing over his death? I am ashamed that this football player, that has reaped the fortunes of this country's freedoms, should have his name connected to the state if Illinois. I hope the Steelers release him, and he is banned from playing any professional sports in this country again. He can play for the Pakistan Pukes or whatever, and live there and enjoy what they have. Maybe then he will understand the difference between the cheering of death, and the cheering of the death of the man that died. Rashard and the Steelers, if they keep him, will forever be despised by me.
Yeah…it was some pretty stupid stuff he was saying. Had I already not despised the Steelers, for entertainment purposes, this incident certainly would have made me not like them much! While he is clearly too good for the Steelers to release, or even bench, hopefully you get some satisfaction from knowing, Dave, that the kid is losing money. Yesterday he began losing endorsement deals. So he will feel some pain for being an idiot…
That's it for this week. Thanks for playing. Go to Facebook and "like" the fan page!
--Yesterday's softball experience was a split. I gave the immediate results on the Facebook fan page. But for those of you that don't go there the Faculty won the first game 4-0. The Students won the second game in extra innings 3-2. It was a cool, crisp morning and there wasn't much pop in the ball…which accounts for the low scoring affair. For me personally I had no chances to make an impact in the field. During the game I played catcher, left field, left center, and right center. And there was so little offense in the game that I never had a ball hit my way. Offensively I didn't hurt the team, which was my goal. Technically I did not get a hit…but I had a sacrifice, fielder's choice, and a walk. I extended a couple of innings by getting on base…and I advanced a runner with the sacrifice in the first game that ended up scoring. All in all I was satisfied. Given more opportunity I think I could really get into the groove of playing softball again. If I didn't have to go to bed around 6 every night I would find someplace to play.
--It's interesting to watch the bin Laden story unfold. At this point I am satisfied that things went the right way. I think he is really dead. I think we were completely ju, stified to do what we did. If he was unarmed…well…if he is going to plot to kill close to 3,000 citizens of a country he should have armed himself. Period. Apparently the government will not be releasing the pictures anytime soon…and now that is fine with me. At some point down the road they will likely be leaked and we will see them eventually. They are probably correct when they say releasing the pictures may inflame the situation. It's been relatively quiet so far, so why fan the flames? We will be busy enough over the next few months just trying to figure out how they plan to retaliate. As far as I am concerned we can move on and get the next major terrorist leader.
It is also interesting to watch how people react to these events. There is obviously a lot of emotion with something like this. People do and say things spur of the moment that they may likely regret later. Take the running back from the Pittsburgh Steelers, for instance. The former U of I star made some odd comments on his Twitter page that many people didn't quite understand…and has since had to explain what he meant. I mentioned this the other day…the beauty about social media like Facebook and Twitter is that it gives everyone a voice. The ugly part of social media is that it gives everyone a voice. Heh.
The story I read this morning was talking about the helicopter that went down during the mission. Some "experts" are suggesting that the heli may be a previously unknown stealth copter. Naturally the fact that we've never seen the copter before is going to freak out some conspiracy people. But personally I hope our government has some secret weapons we've never seen. We pay these people to keep us safe from threats. As long as they remember that they work for us then them having things no one has ever seen will help keep us safe. I don't have issues trusting the government. However…that trust doesn't mean we shouldn't question the Hell out of them at every turn. The system of checks and balances is there for a reason, and every part of that system needs to , continue to function. But overall I trust our government when it comes to this stuff. And I hope that copter is something that has never been seen by civilians before. It makes me feel better that our government is working for us like that.
--Today is the big softball game at Lake Land College in Mattoon.&, nbsp; This is different from past years in that this time I am not umpiring…I am playing. We've been practicing and I think my swing is back to form. Not shockingly I am no power house. But I get on base a lot. I am a control contact hitter, which to me means that I can place the ball pretty much anywhere I want. So I get on base and the beasts can drive me home. That's how I see it.
Fielding is another matter. I have no idea where I will be playing this morning. As an infielder I am pretty good. I believe this squad is set in the infield, though. As an outfielder I have decent range…but poor depth perception because of my eye issues. That makes it very touch-and-go! I have a good glove and decent arm…so wherever I play I don't think I will be a liability. In the end it is all for a good cause, though. And thank you to those that sent money to support Lake Land College students!
--Is it just me or is this bin Laden business starting to weaken already? The media coverage does not seem to be as intense now as it was on Monday. And even the Arab world seems to be pretty subdued. I'd be surprised if we did not see a picture or two of bin Laden's corpse in the next day or so. Hopefully that won't crank anyone up about it. Wouldn't it be nice if we get through this without major retaliation? Obviously it would. Sometimes when people are too quiet, though, it can be worrisome. In the end I actually do , trust our government's ability to keep us safe. Me thinks they really do have weapons and tools that we don't even know about yet. Think about it…how else have we not been attacked since 9/11/2001??
--24 hours after I thought out loud here on the blog about wanting to see better proof of the death of Osama Bin Laden I am now satisfied that he is indeed dead. The military predictably took pictures and DNA samples of the terrorist before they disposed of the body. And soon enough we will likely see at least one of those pictures. I think right now the government is just hesitating with the pictures to give Bin Laden's allies a chance to react to his death. My uneducated guess is that our people want to see what kind of reaction there will be before they chance making it worse by releasing any photos. You have to give it to our current leadership…they are at the least very thoughtful.
And I also now understand why our military buried him the way they did. Getting rid of the body solves more problems than it creates. The military has special groups of people from all religions to handle these types of things…and Bin Laden was taken care of by Muslim American troops in a way that was respectful of their religion. It's easy to forget in the emotion of the mission that we really need to be careful with how we are perceived over events like this. Never forget…one of the reasons there are people in this world that want us dead is because we don't really seem to respect things that are not within our boundaries. So in dealing with Bin Laden's body we didn't want to make things worse by disrespecting it, whether he is our enemy or not. While maybe not popular with some…I think it was the right thing to do.
Facebook is fascinating to me. It is both very good and very evil, I think. It provides a platform to do so much good and in the same turn provides a platform for so much hate and ignorance. And the Bin Laden death has shown a great deal of both, from where I sit. The disrespect of saying a President had nothing to do with an operation like Sunday's boggles my mind. How quickly we forget that we are all Americans, and even if you disagree with a sitting President you need to respect the office. The beauty of Facebook is that it gives every person a voice. The ugliness of Facebook is that it gives every person a voice.
We have to remember that while Osama Bin Laden was our number one enemy in the world…he was still a human being. And if we give in to revenge and vengeance then we become just as bad as those we fight. You can find that theory in most any superhero movie or comic book…and if I am not mistaken it is also in the Bible.&n, bsp; We must remember that there is higher ground on which to stand and if we want to keep our moral standing in tact we must be diligent in handling matters like Osama Bin Laden. Personally I am satisfied that our government has remembered that in this particular mission. It doesn't make us weak to show some class once in a while.
--Here is a link I wanted to share with Faye. Don't worry…you can hit the link on your phone and watch it, Lover…
--Tomorrow morning we may actually have frost. There will be a frost advisory that starts at 3 tomorrow morning that will cover most of the area. While it doesn't mean the world is coming to an end…it is a little weird to have frost in the beginning of May. And while I personally don't believe the entire area will get frost, it is certainly possible that some of us might. For me…I planted grass a few weeks ago that is starting to come up and I hope the frost doesn't hurt the progress. I shared that with you to illustrate that we are impacted by bad weather, too!
So our military finally got Osama Bin Laden. Obviously that is good news. It's has been a long decade since the attacks that Bin Laden put together. And there are millions of people that will be happy to hear the news that Bin Laden is now dead. Last night people took to the streets to celebrate the news.
When I heard the news on my way to work this morning the first thing I thought was that it was good news and it would maybe help some people heal. The second thing I thought was to wonder where he was. Coming into work this morning I started reading more detailed reports than I heard on the radio. And from what I just read Bin Laden really was in Pakistan. And we've also now been told that at the moment he is at the bottom of the sea…as that is where our people put him.
That seems a little curious to me. I understand that Islamic laws dictate a quick burial…from what we've been told. But in this instance don't we want to see the body? Will pictures or video of the body suffice considering we know how to doctor such proof? Can we just trust that 1) it really was him, and 2) he really is dead? I don't want to jump right into conspiracy theories…but we've been duped before. With an election just around the corner…I think we should have been allowed to see the body as a nation. Certainly keeping the body for 24 hours and then giving it a quick burial would have been alright. While we do not want to further anger the Islamic world by being disrespectful to their burial practices…we also need to see definitive proof that Osama Bin Laden is dead. This "luxurious hideout" is basically a crime scene, isn't it? And they just dumped the main piece of evidence into the sea. Weird.
I'm sure over the next couple of days we will get more information about the details. The whys and why nots will be given an answer of some kind. But in the interim we must not drop our guard. We must search for answers to questions that must be asked. We can not let our exuberance allow us to be sold a bill of goods. Osama Bin Laden's death is a HUGE symbolic victory in our battle against Al Qaida. But that group will not be stopped by this one death. Our government will continue to work for us to keep us safe…and we must continue to work against our government to make sure they are doing right by us.