34 years ago today a hot chick was born. Well…she wasn't a hot chick at the time. She was just a baby at the time. But she is certainly a hot chick now! She is a hot chick that makes me VERY happy. Happy birthday, Faye!
I told you yesterday that this was a short week at work for me. It even turned out to be shorter than I thought it would with the "work from home" day on Monday. Tomorrow and Friday are days off for me. If you are a person that typically calls me when you don't see me at work just know now that I won't be here. But I naturally appreciate your concern!
From Kathy 3/22/13:
Greg don't feel like you have a target on your back, just think of it as a job well done. It's nice to have a weather department doing such a good trustworthy job. I always watch in the morning and when I have to go out look at the website to see if anything has changed. Thanks for keeping us informed about the weather.
You're welcome, Kathy. I did finally get on the WICD website. It turns out that Doug Quick has been at that station in some capacity for close to 20 years. But he isn't a meteorologist…he is a weathercaster. The difference is school and training. He is a great communicator, though! So while he is the longest running weather person…I am the longest running meteorologist in this market. An odd distinction…
Have a great rest of the week! Faye and I both have the next couple of days off to celebrate her birthday. Should be fun!
Well that was fun. Wasn't that a nice way to put a bow on winter? I know it was technically the first weekend of spring. But let's just consider it to be winter's last gasp and move on to what should be a great spring! The moisture from Sunday will certainly help the ag situation around here. We need a nice blast of moisture every several days to keep us away from another drought.
Here's a little house keeping for the blog. I am working today and tomorrow…and then I am off Thursday and Friday. On Saturday I will be working for Kevin. So basically I am taking the long way around to tell you that tomorrow will be the last day of the blog for this week. There is always the chance I will get a wild hair and blog on Saturday…but the plan is for that to not happen right now. We shall see!
Tomorrow is Faye's birthday so I am taking a couple of days off while she has a couple of days off. I don't think we are going to do anything major. But just having a couple of days to chill out together will be special. Her new job has her on some crazy hours. But I am finding that not having as much time with her does help me appreciate the time we do get now.
I've been looking around at other TV stations in this area. Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign have four or five stations between them. I've been at WAND-TV for 15 years and a month. Looking around at these other TV stations…I think I am the second longest tenured meteorologist in this market. Doug Quick over at WICD might have been there longer…but I can't verify that because I can't seem to get their website to work this morning. I'm not sure how long Doug has been there…but it is close to how long I have been here. And I am not even sure Doug is technically a meteorologist. So it is quite possible that I have been in this area on TV longer than any other met. JC has put in 11 years here…so I think he would be second or third right behind me.
Not sure how I feel about that, to be honest! On one hand it is nice to still have a job after all this time. But then again…does it kind of put a target on my back??
From Angie (3/19/13):
I'm still fuming about this. I realize it's a job for the media and there has to be a certain amount of distance (right or very wrong) in reporting. I try to understand that. At least (for the most part) there are some ethical guidelines to follow. In real life, there will always be people who have no couth (as my Granny used to say) and we saw that last night. People were in such a hurry to be the first to share the bad news, to be the one in the know that they didn't stop to think of the cost. This was true before FB as a friend pointed out. People always want to gossip and dissect the latest story. The difference now is the enormity of social media. This young man died and within an hour his name was all over FB, without respect or consideration for his family. I just hope they didn't find out that way. Why can't we remember that a hot story for one is a heartbreak for another? Have some decency!
While the standards seem to have slipped over the years…in the news business we try to be very careful with how we use information we get when it comes to these situations. And of course the guidelines vary from newsroom to newsroom. But with Facebook anyone could post anything at any time. And let's face it…the average person has no training for this kind of thing. Maybe it will one of those things that is corrected over time? I try to be optimistic. Eventually maybe a social media code will just kind of settle in? Conversations like this can only hope…
From April (3/19/13):
Greg, Four years ago a former co-worker passed away suddenly. This co-worker and I were close at one point, but after we stopped working together we grew apart and our only means of communication was Facebook. It was kind of an odd situation... this person passed away the day after his birthday, and the only way I found about about his death was when I went to his page to wish him a happy belated birthday. The messages on his wall went from "Happy Birthday" to "I'll never forget you". I couldn't believe what I was reading. I was angry at first because I had to find out about it this way. I was angry because no one had called to tell me. But then again, I was thankful... if it wasn't for Facebook, I may not have found out about it for weeks or even months. Because of Facebook, I was able to leave some fond memories on his wall and read the memories others were leaving as well. No one wants to find out about a death this way, but I would rather find out about it on Facebook than never hearing about it at all.
And then there is that side of it. There is no good way to receive horrible news. At some point you have to acknowledge that however you find out is pretty much going to suck. So is it better to find out sooner in a harsher way…or be late getting the news from someone in person?
From Paula (3/19/13):
I think that in this day and age Social Media is something we all have come to rely on instead of TV or radio. Its something I don't really like but news does get around faster. People need to stop and think before posting. Kinda like taking that extra time to think before you speak. Think of the other person. Think of what you would feel like if you read something about your family member before you even knew. Don't get me wrong, I do like Social Media to help me stay in touch with family and friends who don't live near or news and sports. Thanks for listening.
Good points. And the latest research is starting to show that you are right about social media's impact on how we receive our news. If you need further proof…just watch how media providers are scrambling to get people into their various social media pages and accounts. It's been known for a while in our business that you have to roll into the next big thing or you will be left behind. Just ask any good newspaper company…if you can find one…
From Jennifer (3/20/13):
For some reason the comment area was missing today but I wanted to respond to your blog post. While it is not exactly the same issue, what I have problems with is when people "share" videos online without thinking who is affected by them. One example I can give is a video circulating yesterday from a police dash cam. The point of the video was for people to stop texting, eating, or whatever other distracting thing they may be doing and pay more attention to the road. The video shows a vehicle swerving, then correcting itself only to fishtail, hit a truck next to it and then cross lanes and get DEMOLISHED by an oncoming semi. I know it is a scare tactic but all I see is the fact that there is NO WAY the driver survived the crash and we just witnessed their death. And the family now has the video of their loved one's death circulating the web. Where is the respect for the family? Is this appropriate? I may be completely off here and maybe it was the family pushing to share the video. I don't know and I really don't care. I for one will never share or circulate videos of this nature. I certainly wouldn't want it if it were of my family member-education or not.
Another good point! I think at this point most of us have seen a video like that. While education is good…it could be a matter of respect.
From Kathy (3/21/13):
One murder in any size town is one death to many. I grew up in a small town in NJ and in the years I lived there 21years, one murder happened, it rocked the town for years. Thank heavens it didn't take the police long to catch the killer. May Mattoon police catch the killer very soon.
When I blogged about the Mattoon murder and went back to read what I typed I kind of cringed at how I phrased some things. You are right, obviously, that even one murder is too many. I was speaking in a detached way in regards to murder…which isn't right.
From David (3/21/13):
I didn't think there were any murders in Mattoon for quite a long time. We had a situation, here in Altamont, a few weeks ago. You may remember that there was a bank robbery here. The Grade School security cameras picked up the car, so they have that to go on. They were caught on the west side of Grenville. Come to find out, they were also wanted in a similar robbery in the ALton area and the man was previously convicted and served time for murder. Fortunately, no one was harmed at the bank or any law enforcement were harmed. I hope they have similar results in Mattoon, as well.
I remember that situation, David. After Monday night's homicide it makes me wonder just how easily the Altamont situation could have gone down the same road.
I heard yesterday around town that the police had brought a few people in for questioning, including the person wearing the striped jacket in the pictures they put out. However…I never heard official confirmation for any of the rumors. All I know for sure is that there are dedicated people working non-stop on this thing.
That's it for this week! Thank you for the good dialogue this week. I am sure we will come back to this Mattoon topic next week as the situation develops. Meanwhile…stay tuned for us online and on air for this snow storm this weekend…
Man…that wind yesterday was sharp, wasn't it?? It kept the wind chill in the teens at times even into the afternoon. Hello Spring!!
I've been following the news in Mattoon from this robbery/shooting Monday evening. I did not know the victim. But I am from Mattoon and I live there now. I know a lot of people that knew the kid. Everyone that knows him talks about what a good dude he was. And I am not talking about the hollow way that people talk about someone that has died. You know…things like "He was a good person", or "He was so nice". I am talking about things like "He would have given you his coat during a blizzard" kind of things. You can tell the people really mean what they are saying about this kid.
Yesterday during one of our stories about this situation the anchor read the script that started with something about Mattoon having its first murder of the year. Well…Mattoon doesn't have enough murders to count like that. This could be it for the year (hopefully). So it is a slightly bigger deal in Mattoon than it is for, say, Decatur or Springfield…where you can do a count like that. So for the Mattoon community this murder is huge. And then you factor in who was murdered and it means people will be feeling this in Mattoon for a long time.
I know a few of the police officers and detectives and administrators of the Mattoon Police Department. These men and women are working literally around the clock trying to get this case solved. I know that these people aren't sleeping much. It is personal to them…because people don't get murdered like this in their town. They are pissed off and they want to find out who did this to a great kid. Monday evening someone walked into a bar, held it up, and shot the bartender in the head. Full details aren't out there yet…but it appears to be completely cold blooded murder. The police want to find out who did it just as much as the victim's family and friends. You can be sure of that.
Spring begins this morning at 6:02 CDT. Right around then the temperature in most of the viewing area will be between 20 and 25 degrees. Our highs today will be in the lower 30's. March 20th last year at the TV station the high was 83 degrees. Sorry…I had to tell you that.
Thank you to those of you that have sent in your thoughts on yesterday's blog. If you missed it you can look just below this post and catch up. I will go ahead and wait until Friday to do the feedback from yesterday. And of course you are still free to send me your thoughts from yesterday's blog. I'm sure I will share more of my thoughts as we get to your feedback on Friday.
Last night there apparently was a shooting at a bar in Mattoon with a fatality. I do not have details this morning. But I was looking at Facebook and reading some people's thoughts on the shooting and it got me to thinking about doing a blog on the subject of giving information on social media. Someone made the point that it must be horrible for the victim's family to find out about the shooting on Facebook.
This is an issue that a news station deals with almost every day. When someone is killed in a shooting, or an accident, or whatever…it is news. And a news station reports the news. Sure…there are respectful ways to cover tragic news like this. But a news station has to report what happens in the community. When stories like this come up and we report what information is available we often get some backlash from people that know the victim. Usually the backlash is regarding the fact that they heard the news from us when they would have preferred to hear the news from family, etc. This is the same issue as someone finding out about a tragedy on Facebook, because social media has become a news source for many people.
Obviously emotions run high in situations like this. And when emotions run high you can kiss logic goodbye. And when we are dealing with a situation like this we try to be as tactful as possible because we know we are dealing with someone that just suffered a loss. But what a person in this instance does not understand is how the news gathering process works. Almost without exception we do not know the name of a person involved in a fatal situation until the police or coroner put the information out there publicly. The authorities will usually hold the name of any victims until they have notified the immediate family…and then the name(s) are released to the general public. So if we are reporting a name then the information is already public information.
Facebook is different, though. Many times on Facebook when someone posts a name it didn't come through the usual process I just described. Many times it comes from word of mouth. So you often really do have names being released before the immediate family has been notified by authorities. I'm not sure what you can do about this issue. It just boils down to people having a little tact and waiting…and I am just not sure that is going to happen.
I think the best that people can do is just get used to the fact that social media is a news source, only slightly different. There is no structured code of ethics for social media like there is for news media. So it really is "buyer beware". If you are using social media sometimes you are going to read some stuff that could be painful. And aside from asking the people in your social media circle to not post things like this right away…there isn't much you can do.
This issue has personally touched me from both ends. I have learned about the death of people I've known through social media. And I have been the one posting about someone that died before the information was released to the general public. Several months ago when Robert Reese died I saw on a mutual friend's Facebook page that he had died. I know the source and knew that she would know if Robert had died. Seeing it on Facebook already…I posted on my work page that I was sad to see that he passed. Robert is a guy I knew and I was sad that he was gone.
So I posted about Robert dying because I assumed the information was public, having seen it on Facebook already. But the family at that point didn't want that information to be known. I don't know why…but it is certainly their call to release the news as they see fit. Well…I was blasted for being insensitive. People said that Robert was still alive and I was heartless for spreading the rumor of his death. At that point I knew that Robert had passed on…but out of respect for the family I let the bashing continue. A day or so later the family came out with what happened.
It was at that point that I really began thinking about this issue. And since then I have seen several occasions where someone has died…the information was not officially released…but people were talking about it on Facebook. Again…I am not sure what the answer is here. But this is certainly an issue that deserves the conversation.
If you have thoughts you are more than welcome to hit the feedback section below, or send me an email with "Blog" on the subject line. Your feedback will be posted on "Feedback Friday", or tomorrow if there is enough interest.
It's always fun getting back to work after an extended weekend. My weekend was pretty good. With her new job Faye has to work every other weekend for a while…so that kind of sucks. But other than that the weekend was good. I got to see friends and family. One of my cousins got married on Saturday. Saturday night Faye joined us at the gathering after she got off work. Yesterday I spent the day doing laundry, getting things done around the house, and playing video games. There was a lot of dog time yesterday, too. All in all…not too bad.
This weekend should be a blast. It will primarily be a blast because Faye will not be working and we get Friday, Saturday, and Sunday together. But we will also be seeing friends we haven't seen for a while.
Wednesday morning at 6:02 CDT is the Vernal Equinox. That means spring. At about that time Wednesday morning the temperature will be in the middle 20's. Our high on Wednesday will be 35 degrees. I would have to look to be sure…but I think it was warmer on the Winter Soltice!
There is a new Pope. I'm not a practicing Catholic…but this is the second time I've been able to see the Conclave and I think it is fascinating. The pageantry and drama of how the Pope is selected is fantastic. And while I know this was not what the Catholic Church intended when they came up with this process…it makes for great television. There's the smoke signal that changes colors. There is the HUGE crowd that waits outside for the big reveal. And then there is the drama of us being told they've made a decision…and we have to wait for the new Pope to come out on the balcony. It really is a great show…and I don't mean that in a frivolous manner. I understand the respect that Catholics have for the process. I am just saying that as an "outsider" it is a great story to watch unfold.
As I mentioned on yesterday's blog I will not be working here in the morning. So today we will do "Feedback Thursday"!
From Don (3/11/13):
Greg, you mentioned conspiracy friday in answer to my JFK note. On March 5th you said that you had infromation on who killed JR, I mean JFK. The very next morning you drive into a snow drift (either natural or man-made) and glide into a ditch. Beware, Great Weatherman, Caution is advised.
Why are you looking at me, Don? Wait…who do you work for?? HOW DO I KNOW YOU'RE NOT A COP??!!??!!??!!
From Jim (3/12/13):
For once I agree with most everything you said on your 3-12-13 blog. We certainly have FAR too many young, healthy people taking advantage of our welfare systems. A large percentage of them have never worked in their lives, and they grew up thinking that they are simply "entitled". Most of them dropped out of high school and started having babies with several sex partners. This increases their "benefits", and sadly generates yet another generation of ignorant dependents.
As I've mentioned, I too am a lifetime legal gun owner but I'm just not into the AR-15 styles of weapons. Like you I've shot them, and they are fun to be sure. Yet if I ever win one in a raffle I'd probably just sell it to you or someone else. I probably spend on average around $200 per month buying raffle tickets for everything imaginable: Machinery, tools, guns, cash… you name it. These raffles are always for good causes, yet two things come to mind: Every raffle I've seen has a set limit on the number of tickets to be sold. Normally you can accept an optional cash prize, which is always far less than the real value of the item you won. I'd never buy into a raffle that I'd like to win if it has unlimited ticket sales.
Last week I bought a $20 ticket with a whopping 2,000 of them to be sold. It was to benefit a Mattoon based disabled children's organization and home who's name I can no longer recall. (Glen Hope or something?) The drawing won't be until August, but 1st prize is a new Harley, or $15,000. The 2nd through 4th place prizes will be for smaller amounts of cash. I'm now too damn old to ride a Harley, but I'd have donated a twenty to them anyway. The point IS… that all these raffles start with a set number of ticket sales, so WAND surely did no harm by mentioning it. Chances are that they ran the story because they disagree with auctioning a weapon for ANY reason. (especially semi automatic for a children's baseball league)
Our so called "major news media" is no longer fair and objective in my opinion. They are now a too powerful club of ultra liberals who sell Obama's "kool-aid" and totally let him off the hook. Has anyone seen any of the 30 Benghazi survivors interviewed in the news? Hell NO! We don't even know their names. If that tragedy had happened under either George Bush… the media would STILL be ALL OVER it!
You now call our military "bloated". That point is not well taken with me because I've served 4 years through the Viet Nam war era. Our retired career veterans have now lost many of the benefits they were promised for life… and nearly ALL active service men and women are still paid near poverty level wages. Go do 4 years in the service and then we'll talk Trumbold. Yes there is waste in our military, but NOTHING like in Washington DC! When I start seeing the DC crowd cutting themselves as much as they'll cut national defense and our brave volunteers, then maybe my faith will be renewed. Our military isn't "bloated" or they'd have been there saving Benghazi. The REAL problem is sitting in Washington DC, or out on another vacation at our expense.
You're scaring me, Jim! The more you say we are agreeing on things the more I want to check myself into a place where the attendants wear white jackets! (Only joking of course…or am I??)
Let me explain what I meant by bloated military, because some people love to immediately assume that someone is saying soldiers get too much money. I was not talking about soldier pay or benefits. As a matter of fact I am on record on this blog (if you want to research it) that I don't think people that serve in the military should pay taxes, especially if they go to war. I'm in the line that says we still don't do enough for our military members.
What I was referring to, and I should have been more specific, was our hardware. The wars of the future, according to many military analysts, will be in cyberspace. Shouldn't we be building fewer ships and planes and investing more into cyber-tech? I know we are shifting to the cyber-defense stuff…but do we really need 5 times more air craft carriers than anyone else in the world? Do we really need that much hardware these days? We are talking about hardware that is ridiculously expensive to create and maintain.
You're right, Jim. I never served in the military…for reasons I don't have to explain. But you don't have to serve in the military to be able to question how your money is spent in regards to the military. The military is just as much mine as it is yours, regardless of which of us serve.
I am not sure if there is a ticket limit for the AR-15 raffle to which we've both referred. But I did just hear this morning that the national "Little League" (Trademarked) organization has heard about the raffle…and has complained to the local "chapter" about the raffle. My guess is that raffle will either be ended or the Atwood-Hammond group could get sued.
I'm halfway in and halfway out on your media thoughts. I do acknowledge certain biases with various media…but it isn't partisan. Obviously some media outlets are more liberal…and of course some of more conservative. But mostly it isn't about ideology anymore. It is about money. I am also on record on this blog with this argument. Since the day of de-regulation mainstream media became a for-profit business. It didn't used to be that way. It used to be that a company that owned a news organization almost expected to lose money. That was the tradeoff for having journalistic standards.
But now…you have to turn a profit or you will get shut down. And when you have to turn a profit you are less likely to upset your big money contributors by running stories against them. It is the same principal as candidates using contributors' money and then not making laws that hurt the contributors. When it is about business…why would you do that? Of course we are mostly talking about national media here…
From John (3/13/13):
Hi Greg, You were right when you said you develop a kinship with people when you have worked with them for many years. I retired 2 and a half yrs. ago from a place I had worked at for 33 yrs.I have seen several retire and some died, but you develop a relationship with them all. That day to day togetherness is what is most missed (at least for me) and I'm sure Lee will miss it too. Kudos for Lee on his retirement and I hope he is able to enjoy it to the fullest!
John from D.C.
It's the same thing with football players, John. When you ask most retired football players what they miss the most after they retire they will say they miss their boys in the locker room. My guess is that's the way it works with most professions.
From Don (3/14/13):
On you speaking about Lee Davis' retirement, I once told a guy who was leaving that I would forget him as fast as I could…Now when I look back, was a mean thing to say.
Was the guy a jerk, Don? Of course two wrongs don't make a right, as you know. But if the guy was a jerk I could certainly understand not wanting to remember him.
That's it for this week! As I mentioned I won't be working here in the morning. Have a great weekend!
Tomorrow is Lee Davis' last day at the station before retirement. He has been here for 19 years and a few weeks. I've been here for 15 years and a few weeks. We've worked in the same department for my entire time here. I've always been honest on this blog, even when it hasn't been popular and gotten me into conversations with "The Suits". But I try to live a "BS free" life as much as a person can in this day and age. It is in that spirit that I tell you that Lee and I are not particularly close. We've coexisted because it is good for the department/station. But we likely won't hang out after he retires. So it isn't like his moving on to the next phase of his life is leaving a huge hole in my heart. However…when anyone has worked somewhere for close to 20 years there will be a void, at least for a bit, when that person leaves.
I think for me, personally, Lee's retirement has had me thinking about my own career. I certainly did not think I would be at the same job for over 15 years. (Frankly I sometimes wonder why I haven't been shown the door long ago!) And 19 years for me isn't too far off. So I do have some understanding of the time Lee has put in here. My guess is he will have a mixture of emotions tomorrow. On one hand I'm sure he will enjoy not having to put up with my BS anymore. (How is that for making something about me??) And I am sure just having your own time at your own pace should be great. Like the rest of us I am sure he has things in his personal life that could use more attention…and now he will have the time to give those things more of his attention.
I've got to think, though, that leaving will be bittersweet. Lee strikes me as a person that needs routine. And that is in no way a knock…because I am very much the same way. And leaving the same place you've been coming for 19 years is a HUGE change in routine. I don't know if Lee has what you would call "true friends" at work (I have many I would call "friends", some I may refer to as "close"…but only a couple I would call "true".) But working around people for 19 years you have to develop some kind of relationship. And now with retirement those relationships will mostly change. That has to be hard, too.
Anyhoo…I guess I just wanted to acknowledge Lee's retirement again. It is nice to see the station doing some nice video tributes, etc, for someone that has been here for 19 years. If nothing else it gives me hope that I might get a nice sendoff when my time comes…whenever that may be.
Before I forget...tomorrow will be "Feedback Thursday". I am not working on Friday...so if you have something to say this week get it to me now!
When it comes to social matters I am a fairly liberal person. I don't really care what other people do provided they are not hurting anyone but themselves. It isn't my business, for the most part. If gay people want to get married it doesn't concern me. If someone wants to blow their money on booze, gambling, and hookers…God speed. It isn't my business. If a school organization wants to raffle off an AR-15 I don't care…as a matter of fact I am actually looking into how I can get a ticket or two for the one in Atwood-Hammond. As long as you are not hurting another person then have at it.
When it comes to fiscal matters I tend to be more conservative. I realize there are times in people's lives where they need a hand up. Life can be rough and sometimes someone needs a little kick to help get them through the tough patch. As long as those people are doing what they can to make it in their own lives I think the society in which we live benefits from helping a person.
There are some people that are born without the ability to function on their own. We live in a society so it falls on all of us that can do for ourselves to help those that can not do for themselves. But there are limits to what I am willing to pay for when it comes to other people. I don't want to pay for someone that is just too lazy to work…but I have zero issue with helping a single mother that is doing all she can to raise her family. In the end, though, we are all responsible for our own lives and I would prefer not to have to pay for another person's continued poor decision making. And of course we need to pay for things like fire protection and police protection and national defense, although I think our defense system is antiquated and far too bloated.
I'm telling you all of this because I wanted to mention the gun raffle that is being done by a local school. Atwood-Hammond's Little League is raffling off an AR-15 to raise money. I've shot an AR-15 before and they are fun. I am a legal gun owner and enjoy shooting. A very good friend of mine introduced me to guns over the past couple of years. He has shown me how to care for guns and how to be safe and responsible with guns. I no longer have any mystery or misconceptions about guns. I have a very healthy relationship with firearms at this point. I have zero issue with the little league raffling off a gun to raise money for their group. As a matter of fact…as I typed above…I am planning to get a ticket or two.
I only wish this TV station hadn't run the story about the raffle because now more people are likely to buy tickets to show support…and I think that really lowers my chances of winning the gun!
Hope you survived the time change over the weekend. The one that we do in the fall always seems so much easier than the one in the spring. I guess it is easier to receive an extra hour than to give one up. For some reason yesterday I didn't feel it too much. I woke up and went around to change clocks around the house. It was no big deal at the time. But this morning I am a little whacked out!
We had a nice little rain yesterday through the area. It was heaviest in our western counties. Springfield had almost an inch and a third. In Mattoon we barely had over a tenth of an inch. The rest of the day today we might catch a few sprinkles or even snow flurries. But by and large we are done with precipitation until Friday night/Saturday the way it looks right now. It still isn't really going to warm up much, though.
Typically this time of year we'll get to around 50 degrees. Most of the week we will fight to get into the middle 40's!
I haven't mentioned this for quite a while…but I want to tell you what is on my IPod right now. "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles. Fantastic.
Lately forecasting has been kicking me in the teeth a little bit. The past three weeks of snow forecasting has been rough. If it isn't the timing of the storm it's the type of precipitation. And if timing isn't the issue it has been how much we will get. And of course yesterday and the day before those stinking clouds would not leave! Heh. No worries, though. I guess sometimes it just bothers me more than I like to let on. What I DO NOT want to happen is for people to think that I actually take my job seriously. That would be a shame!
From Kathy (3/5/13):
Greg On 3/5 you were going to tell us who shot JFK. All this time I thought it was Aliens hunting Bigfoot who shot him. I'm curious to know who actually did.
Whoops! I guess I forgot to say who actually shot JFK. Well I will tell you now, Kathy! It was…
Oops. Hang on a second…the phone is ringing…
From Don (3/5/13):
Greg, You better come clean with that JFK story.
Or what, Don? What are you prepared to do to make sure I talk?? Now I smell another conspiracy!!!
From David (3/6/13):
Glad you got out of the ditch, unscathed. It happens so quick, reflex takes over. I had an incident, several years ago, that left me stradling a ditch. I had a 3-speed in my old El Camino and had went down a rather large hill and up the other side, without incident, but as soon as I touched the clutch, on the top of the hill, it went all over the place. I ended up straddling the ditch , on the opposite side of the road. I just missed a mailbox, A coworker stopped and picked me up , and her husband came back and pulled me out. STUPID CLUTCH !!
Oof! You're right, David…it does happen fast! Glad you missed the mailbox.
Hey…while I am thinking about it…some of you asked me after yesterday's blog post about Lee's retirement if I was going to move up here at the station. Well…no, I have no plans to move up. I've posted here on the blog before that I am not interested in being the Chief at this station. There are a couple of reasons. The main reason is that I am truly not interested in any other shift on a permanent basis. The morning news is where I will stay while I work here. I don't even want to do the noon news on an on-going basis. I love the vibe of the morning news...and I am at a point in life where I can have a say in what I do with my career, whatever I mean by that.
Another reason I do not want to be the Chief at this station is because it would not really improve what I make. They wouldn't pay me enough to justify the headache of being the Chief. While the Chief position isn't one of a boss, as I described yesterday, it does come with some added responsibility. Beyond scheduling and maintaining the weather department you also become kind of the "face of things". That means more station obligations. Not a bad gig…I am just not that interested in it.
That's it for this week! Is it possible that we could be breaking the big freeze of winter??
Yesterday it was announced on Lee Davis' Facebook page…so that makes it official…that after 19 years at WAND-TV Lee is retiring. According to Lee…and the schedule here at work…his last day will be one week from today.
Lee was working weekends here when I arrived. And over the years as people have come and gone he went from weekends to mornings…and then weekday evenings as the Chief Meteorologist. A couple of years ago the station bumped Lee to a sweet shift working the noon news, the four, and the five. It is as close to a 9 to 5 shift that there is for us.
For those of you that have always wondered…a Chief Meteorologist is kind of like the head of the weather department, but not really the boss. The weather department is part of the news department…but we are separate. So the Chief is generally in charge of making sure the schedule is taken care of…and the Chief is occasionally asked to weigh in on graphics format and things like that. But a Chief can't hire and fire…at least at this station…so it isn't a "boss" position. It's more of a caretaker position.
Lee has been in broadcasting (radio and TV) for almost 50 years. He certainly has earned the retirement. And from what I hear the station will give him a nice send-off.
Between Mattoon and Sullivan this morning I was driving on Route 121. The roads were very sketchy so I was driving between 40 and 45 miles per hour. Because of the wind the road was snow covered and slick in spots. Road crews were still out doing what they do. But the wind was blowing snow back onto the road at a rate that just couldn't be helped.
At some point I was driving on fairly clear road at about the same rate of speed. All of a sudden I drive through a little drift that had formed, quickly I assume, on the road in between salt truck passes. My car started to head towards the right ditch. I did what I usually do in those moments…I took my foot off the gas and tried to lightly steer out of the skid. But this time the road was just too slick and I careened into the ditch.
As I was heading into the ditch I knew that I wasn't doing that fast…so blowing through the ditch into the field wasn't a concern. But what was a concern was the utility pole and road sign that were both in my potential path. As I made my way into the ditch, which was shallow, I attempted once again to steer. But at this point there wasn't much I could do. I was just along for the ride.
Shortly after making the ditch I realized that the utility pole was too far up the other side of the ditch to be a real concern. But almost right in the middle of the ditch was the large road sign. However…by the time I got to the sign I wasn't going very fast and the front tires were beginning to take a little traction. So somehow I was able to steer right around the road sign…missing it by about a foot. After that hurdle was jumped all I had to worry about was getting out of the ditch.
Again…this was not a deep ditch or I likely would still be sitting there. And the snow in the ditch wasn't terribly deep, either. And all the while I was listening to Neil Tyson DeGrasse talk about astrophysics on "Coast to Coast AM". So it's not like I was in Hell! But I still had to get out of the ditch to get to work.
I was fortunately able to get traction in the ditch…within reason. I could go forward and backwards without a lot of problem. I just couldn't really turn, especially up the ditch to the road. So I began laying a track. I went forward until I could go no farther. Then I backed up all the way. I went forward again on the track I just put down…which allowed me to attack the snow with more speed to lay more track. Finally when I had enough of a runway…I backed all the way up…went forward until I picked up a decent momentum. Just before I ran off the track I had created I lurched the car to the left…drove through the fresh snow up onto the top of the ditch…and right onto the road again.
I had planned to blog this morning with the HUGE news of who really assassinated JFK. However…given our impending weather situation…I simply don't have time to get into the whole JFK this morning.
It looks like most of our area will see between 2 to 4 inches of snow by late tonight. Some of that will be blowing around a bit, too. By Thursday afternoon most of it will be gone. And we will be into the 50's this weekend. That's how we roll in the C-I. Just keep in mind this afternoon through tomorrow morning the roads could be a messy. Be careful out there!
As to the JFK situation…the people responsible for his assassination are…
Whoops! Out of time. Sorry about that…
--We have another tough storm system to forecast to start this week. As it stands right now most of our viewing area will see a little snow and mostly rain this afternoon through Tuesday night. However…a minor shift in storm track and temperature could mean big snow for some of us. Right now our in-house RPM (Precisioncast) is showing about 9 inches of snow for Watseka by early Wednesday morning. While that might be a little bit overshot…it just shows how uncertain this storm is right now. This makes three weeks in a row a storm has been tough to pin down. Oof.
--So Dennis Rodman went to North Korea to watch basketball with Kim Jong-un. Apparently they had a great time together and now consider one another friends. I have no issue with that. As a matter of fact I am on record on Twitter as saying that I think it may actually help thaw things out between our countries.
Rodman was on another network over the weekend talking about his trip. Even though we are technically at war with North Korea because they never signed the peace treaty at the end of the Korean War…Rodman said that Kim Jong-un is a great guy and doesn't want to have another war with us. Of course because we are not friendly with North Korea Rodman is taking some heat from some people.
Maybe Dennis Rodman is naïve in thinking that something could come from the leader of North Korea and our President Obama talking basketball. But what would it hurt if the President called Jong-un some morning and said, "Hey Kim…you catch that game last night? LeBron could be the best ever before he is done." And Jong-un responds…"Yeah. He is amazing." And then a relationship begins…and maybe they decide we won't blow each other up. Is that so far out of the realm of possibility??
Okay. Maybe it is. But Rodman is just a basketball player and an entertainer. Can we lay off the expectations that he should come back from his trip sounding like a Head of State?
February…you did more than your fair share to get us back on track. You were wet…you were cold…you were fun. We bid you adieu for another year. Take care…we remember you fondly.
Hello, March. February set the bar pretty high this year. We were dry…now we are close to being in good shape. Let's hope you are wet and warmer. You give us a few reasons to be positive.
Yesterday I wasn't feeling very well. I didn't blog. It happens. This morning I am feeling great. I am blogging. That also happens.
From Jim (2/23/13):
Having been flooded by Ramsey on radio talk shows, (and TV) for too many years, I must say that he has perfected his sales pitch to the success point that he no longer needs any credit. I'll agree that he offers the same advice to everyone, but let's face it: Not everyone is in the same situations. His basic philosophy seems sound to me, but he's pretty much an extremist when it comes to being "debt free".
More than once in my life, (due only to my excellent credit score) I have borrowed money to start new corporations, and each time that debt paid itself off and paid me quite well. It's totally unrealistic to think that all debt is evil… so unless you're Dave Ramsey or Bill Gates, most entrepreneurs and corporations will always be borrowing. I'm now too old to be risking much or working, but my wife and I will soon make our last mortgage payment… with no balances left other than her car payment.
People call his radio show every single day and say "Hi Dave. How are you doing?" He ALWAYS says "Better than I deserve." I'll certainly agree with him on THAT stale statement! I think he's capitalizing very well on other people's miseries. Besides that, he's preaching nothing more than what my grandparents and parents taught me: hard work, and fiscal responsibility. (not to mention Christian giving)
Hi, Jim. I won't disagree with you about the Dave Ramsey radio show, although I've started listening to it on the Taylorville radio station on the way to work in the morning. I also won't disagree with you about Dave Ramsey giving nothing more than sound financial advice that your Grandparents used. Mine used it too. It's a generational issue…and I am not sure if you'll get it because I'm not talking about your generation. But you're a smart guy so I assume you understand.
My generation and younger have been brought up to expect unrealistic lifestyles. It's a cultural issue. Combine that with how easy it is to open credit cards and you have a serious financial situation. All Dave Ramsey has done is find a niche and run with it…as any good Capitalist does. So I don't begrudge him making millions by providing his common sense advice. If there wasn't a need for it he wouldn't be able to profit from it.
From Phil (2/25/13):
Hi there Greg. Oh, it's me again...Phil up in Cissna Park. I couldn't remain silent on today's topic so I am chiming in. I have ALWAYS been in favor of equality, in the workplace, in sports and on our battlefields if women are physically qualified to do so. I also believe in equal compensation...clear across the board. There still is sexual discrimination, I'm afraid, and it saddens me as it does you. Early in my working career, I was promoted to a Supervisor in a computer center. Along side of me was a female, same position, same qualifications...who I found out later was making considerably less money than I. I saw NO justification for this, I mean in all reality the job for Company A was being done, and quite well, when she was on duty. I was appalled by this, yet back then we could NOT discuss our salaries with anyone, for any reason. In fact, it was a terminating offense to do so. I want to feel that we've come a long way since then, and are equally treating those of the same "rank" regardless of sex, race, sexual preference and even AGE if the qualifications for the position are met. If it's not this way, I sure hope to see it in my lifetime. Then, I can depart this planet feeling like we have evolved, ever so slightly as it may be.
Oh, Hi there Linda! (Yes, your Mom is apparently a fan of my jibberish!) See? I don't discriminate whatsoever! LOL!!
Ha! My Mom will love the shout out, Phil!
From Ole Dave (2/28/13):
Ole Dave here Greg. I just couldn't give up on you, even though I am wondering what your problem is.. No blog today and yesterdays, Wednesday, made me curious about your frame of mind. Did someone put you underwear in a bundle? I have an old shoulder you can lean on if you need it.
Awwww Dave…I am glad you are still coming around. I was worried after your last feedback that you would leave. So thanks for sticking with it.
I'm doing great, Dave! Don't worry. I appreciate the shoulder…but yesterday I just had a horrible headache. So I cut back on some of the things I usually do. The day before I just had a thought in my head and I wanted to post it. No big deal, Dave!
That is it for this week! The snow should be done by late this afternoon. Colder this weekend…but we finally should get some sun! Be well…