BY DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY FEB. 9, 2017) — A few inches of snow in mid February in New England and — panic in the streets!!! Rodan and Mothra spotted over Onota Lake. Stockbrokers jumping off the roof of the Crowne Plaza, while there still is a Crowne Plaza. Jake “JIV” McCandless giving a jump start to a flashlight in a closet. Egahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
As you can gather, we have lost all perspective in our ability to handle weather. We have become weather wimps. In a sense, it mirrors the manner in which political discourse has become impossible without the rankest rancor or the most vitriolic venality. Too much is never enough.
It snows in February, but snowing isn’t enough. First, we must give each storm a name, personalize it as if the neutral forces of Mother Nature have it in for us. After we’ve named it, let’s put the storm first in the 24/7 news cycle of internet, cable TV, and worst of all, The Weather Channel. An inch of white? Shut the schools. Close public buildings. Eat your young.
Parkas And All
The Weather Channel will send out its reporters in parkas, hoods up and ski gloves gripping stick mics. These intrepid souls will tell us “it snowed” or “it’s snowing.” These parkaed schmucks are called “meteorologists,” as if they just arrived on an asteroid or came in off the set of Satellite Six. They will stick rulers in snow piles. They will speak in the most alarming terms to satisfy their sponsors.
Now we get to the heart of the matter. Weather is money. That’s why at the first sight of a snowflake anywhere on Doppler radar, the TV stations will make the weather the lead story. Steve Caporizzo will tease you with a question like: “Just how much snow are we getting? We’ll find out, right after this.” Insert commercial here.
Winter weather is about two things: Making money and avoiding lawsuits.
THE PLANET just gave you an example of the money part. Ski areas have been known to grease the palms of program directors to play up — not play on or in — snow and even potential snow. It doesn’t actually have to be snowing. If it is, great. If not, the station simply pushes a few buttons, finds a storm system anywhere in the contiguous states, and say something along these lines: “It’s clear now, but we’ve got our eye on this developing front in the Sierras. Should the jet stream convulse upon the ice pack there, it could coalesce into prominent occlusion, what we call an inverted angulation. By the weekend, it could impact our weather here.”
When THE PLANET did our daily talk show at WBRK, during the winter months we had “The Storm Center.” In September, Bullet Bob Shade, John Campoli, and the sales staff would pitch “The Storm Center” package to advertisers. The package included X numbers of commercials guaranteed throughout the winter plus mentions every time WBRK activated The Storm Center, which it whenever Huck Hodgkins took a long drag from his Benson & Hedges. If Rick Beltaire dropped an ice cube at the station commissary, WBRK would activate The Storm Center. More Storm Centers = More Moolah.
As for lawsuits, you know how it works. Timid School Superintendent sniffs the weather then bails out. Plays it safe. When they cancel school, it’s another day lost that cannot be made up. Oh, public schools go through the charade of “snow days,” tacked on at the end of the school year. Would it surprise you, however, to learn that on June “snow days” no school work gets done? Students surf the ‘net for porn, teachers handle personal business, and everyone leaves early because no one cares.
Schools fear a lawsuit if any bus so much as spins a tire, even though:
(a) 99.999% of parents would never bring a suit and
(b) the idiots that would bring such a suit could be easily crushed in court.
Friends, some things are for sure.
- The New England Patriots are again Super Bowl Champs (aside: the Big Game is no longer called the Super Bowl. It’s now The New England Patriots Invitational).
- The sun rises in the east.
- There are daily shootings on North Street, both gun and needle.
- And there is weather. Snow. In The Berkshires. In February. Imagine.
It’s all over.
“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
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