I have to ask, just where the hell do you live where there are no
It's one thing to build in a flood plain, I'll agree that's stupid
but there are a half dozen or more entire (or nearly entire) states
in Tornado Alley, and an equal number of entire states vulnerable to
Throw in most of the West Coast which is at risk for earthquakes and
volcanic eruptions and what you have left of the US is at risk
Poking my nose into this thread - I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
which just happens to be an area in the US where few if any natural
disasters ever occur, at least not to the magnitude one thinks of when
the term "Natural Disaster" is used. We're at 5000' above sea level and
not much of anything happens here with respect to disasterous weather.
About 10 years ago I was in Seattle when a mild earthquake occured. The
local TV stations went into high-alert mode, with several hours of
broadcasting that went something like:
"And now, over to Steve near the Sea-Tac Airport. Steve, any damage
"Nothing, Ken. Everything is completely normal."
"Okay. We'll be back to Steve in a little while for an update. So far,
there is absolutely no reported damage... wait, we have a report from
Connie in downtown Seattle. Connie?"
"Ken, I'm at 'Hair Affair' haiir salon near the market, and as you can
see behind me, several bottles of hair care products have been shaken
from their shelves and are laying on the floor."
"Thanks for that update, Connie."
"No problem, Ken."
Life. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who
electronic equipment up so it wouldn't hit the floor. And the reporting was
particularly lame. I went around and talked to people for a few days
afterwards about their earthquake experiences. I heard a lot of things that
were much better than what got onto the news.
Two interesting stories from that earthquake.
A wine distributor talking about north and south versus east and west. It
turns out that wine put onto shelves oriented in one direction stayed on the
shelves. Wine in the other direction all jumped onto the floor. Hardly
sensational, but an interesting fact and photos. (A sticky mess to clean
The funniest one was a guy getting a physical. The doc was taking his blood
pressure. The earthquake hit and his blood pressure spiked. The doc
mentions this to his patient. The guy yells that an earthquake is happening.
The doc looks up and says, "Oh, I didn't notice. Maybe we will wait a few
moments and do this again." Now there is a doc who is either really focused
on his work, or oblivous to his environment.
I was in a store near the Pike Place Market when it hit, and my first
thought was "logging truck going by" before I realized the odd of a
logging truck in that particular location was slim.
The bottles in the cooler wobbled slightly. I bought a 6-pack and
walked back to the hotel to watch the (non) coverage.
You must have been closer to the epicenter than I.
I remember thinking that I wanted to see "Almost Live" cover it. Now
that would have been funny! The local coverage would have made the
It would have made a great bit for "Mind Your Manners, with Billy
Life. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who
Got to agree, but...most of those are local guys, and yesterday evening
there was a doozy from New Orleans: guy driving along in a foot or so
of water, all of a sudden is nose down and sinking. Another guy wades
over and helps him out the car window just as said car disappears.
Driver to news type: "I just didn't see the water."
Is it any wonder that some newspeople figure their audience is made up
of those with less than fully functioning thinking gear?
Geeeze Swing ... didn't think you had to ask that one. Oh ... retorical
question. Gotcha. Lucky for you, it's my week to answer retorical questions
if I feel like it.
The two items you mentioned (hurricane reporting and Disfunction Junction
... er ... American Chopper) are absolutely related, because that's what
most people watch. When they watch, the advertisers pay a great deal of
money to whoever is producing the show (be it Discovery Channel, The Weather
Channel, CNN or your local television station).
The intent of commercial television is not education or enlightment ... the
intent is to make money, LOTS of money (hence the name commercial
television). That's why PBS is having such difficult times ... their charter
is about education and enlightment, and most people don't want that.
Once you understand this, the rest is pretty obvious. To make more money,
you put on whatever crap is cheap to produce (more profits), requires little
or no scripting (let's not confuse our audience), and laugh all the way to
the bank (while crying how hard this job really is).
The really sad part is that people watch other's misery for enjoyment ...
whether it is having all you own destroyed by a storm, or watching people
having endless arguments ... this is called "drama" by the producers. The
viewers then use this "drama" as a sociatal model and practice what they see
... the endless "in your face" crap that's all around us. The tale of the
Klown Hammer pretty well states it: "an idle meaness ... ".
I don't know what this is called ... and quite frankly I don't care. You can
add in all the "talk" shows, court shows, reality shows and the daily car
chase shown live in LA ... all are about as deep as a a coat of polyurathane
on a piece of stainless steel (and about as useful).
I may just switch my working hours to avoid "prime time television"
completely ... and spend more time in the television-less shop. Now THAT is
a concept I like.
No, PBS is commercial no matter what they say. Our CT station was j ust
noted as an organization dedicated to fund rasing that happens to runs some
TV shows. Most shows are not interupted by commercials, but they start
with five minutes of them, like "Chevy is funding part of TOH" while the
truck is backing up to the gate, etc. The cable channels are showing stuff
that is reaching the equivilent of what PBS used to have as a foundation.
Discovery, TLG, History Channel are tough competition for them.
I used to be a regular and generous contributor to my local PBS TV
station and even sent money to a PBS radio station in Phoenix, even
though I'm in Tucson. (I liked their jazz better than the local
That all came to a screeching halt the night that the Whitewater trial
convictions were handed down, and any news organization worth its salt
was reporting on it.
I can't remember whether it was still "McNeil/Lehrer" or had changed
to "The Newshour" but I distinctly remember that rather than going
with the story of the day, Jim Lehrer did an "interview" with Hillary
Clinton, in which he threw out softball questions, not one of which
ever mentioned Whitewater.
This is not to bash the Clintons, they were doing what they do, but
for an organization as blatantly biased as this to ask me for money
under the guise of "education" and "objectivity" is too much.
I like some of their shows and continue to watch, but whatever tax
money they get is the limit of my contributions.
Go for Roanoke, VA, too. Yesterday, one of the women (and I use the
adult noun only to eliminate PC yowling) had herself strapped into the
wind tunnel at Virginia Tech up in Blacksburg, and then got the wind
cranked up to 100 MPH.
This is at least the third time I've seen a newsidjit do this kind of
silly thing. I'm not at all sure what it is supposed to prove to anyone
else, as it's not truly dangerous (unless the newsie has an
undiscovered heart defect), and, as this one had the sense to admit,
leaves out certain things like gusting winds, changing direction of
wind, wind being filled with bits and pieces of houses, trees, cars and
anything else lying around loose--or not-so-loose. Not to mention rain
with drops driven at a speed that is enough to skin the paint off most
But, hey, it sounds impressive. "I was there, in 100 MPH wind." Now, if
she bailed out of an aircraft at 20,000 or more feet during a major
thunderstorm, she might get closer to the real thing.
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