Too Much Weather

I’m not talking about the rain. There has been too much rain lately with more on the way. I miss our dry hot summers. Maybe we can get a nice, cool, dry October. I doubt it. Anyway, I mean there are too many people out there giving weather forecasts. You have the TV weather guys, the newspaper weather guys, former TV weather guys with a website, amateur weather guys with Facebook pages, science teachers with a Facebook group, etc.  There’s too much weather out there.

Anyone with a computer and an interest in the weather can become a social media weather guy. I could start a page right now in less than five minutes and start posting my thoughts on the weather. It wouldn’t make me an expert. It would just make me a guy with a computer and time on his hands. I could probably still get a few people to follow me and, if I guessed right a few times, swear that I am the most reliable weather guy on Facebook.  Maybe I should experiment by posting weather guesses on my Tater page and see what happens.

There are multiple problems with the multiple weather guy issues. TV weather guys need viewers. Retired weather guys with a website and a business needs clients and clicks. Random weather enthusiasts feel good about the number of people following their page. How do you get the attention? HYPE! Sensational posts and headlines highlighting the worst case scenario. Push for the idea that the NWS snow totals are low and we could get a massive snowstorm instead. Pick the model that shows the hurricane will come closest to the area and cause the most damage. Who cares if you create unnecessary panic. You got some extra hits and some more money from ads and clients. You got some more people liking your weather page. More people are watching the news. This is what it’s all about, right? Not accuracy. Accuracy is for nerds.

There’s also the “I don’t really know what I’m doing” issue. These are the guys who are weather enthusiasts, but don’t really know how to read the models properly This is who I would be if I started a page. I can look at a radar and a model forecast and make some guesses about what will happen, but it really is just a guess. If I guess right a few times, people will think I really am an expert. When I’m wrong I will just throw out some meteorological babble that sounds good and gives me a reason why I couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. I don’t think these guys are purposely trying to fool people. I think they like the weather and like trying to forecast it. The problem here is the people who use them as their main weather source. Why are you asking them about the forecast instead of going to more legitimate sources? Do you think the rest are fake new?

An example of the bad weather forecasts: Yesterday, the Washington Post weather people, the TV weather people and the one weather guy I trust on Facebook(Christopher Bressi) all said our area could expect 2-4 inches of rain from Florence based on the current models. Pretty good agreement there. It could change because models can be wrong, but for right now, that was the estimate from almost everyone. Soon after these forecasts were released, a guy with a Facebook group put out a post that the area would get 5-7 inches of rain. That’s 3 more inches than anyone else is projecting. That is a significant difference and there are people who will only read what he said and not the rest. Where did he get these numbers?

So, be careful who you are trusting when it comes to weather forecasts in the case of extreme weather.

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Congress, The Bad Employee

Congress works for the American people. They are our employees. We have hired them to run our country. They are terrible employees. Here’s a little play to illustrate.

A company hires someone to run things. The company is America. The boss is us The employee is Congress.

Boss: Congratulations. Based upon your resume and the ideas we discussed in the interview, you’ve been selected to run the company.

Employee: Yeah, I lied in the interview. I’m not actually going to do any of that stuff. I just said it to get the job.

Boss:  OK. Here is our ideas for how to make the company better.

Employee. Nope. I’m smarter than you so I’m just going to run the company my way and ignore you.

Boss, at the annual review: You are really bad at your job, but I’m going to give you an extension because I know you and the unknown is scary. Please try to be better at your job.

Employee continues to ignore the boss and do a terrible job running the company.

Boss, next review: You are still terrible at your job, but I’m still not going to fire you.

Employee: I’m shutting the company down!

You wouldn’t keep an employee like this in a business. Why keep an employee like this in charge of the country? Let’s fire them and try to replace them with people who might actually care about what we think.

Tater Takes on Some Current Events

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about stuff in the news. Here are some thoughts:

Kathy Griffin: Griffin recently posed  holding up a bloody head resembling that of President Donald Trump. Griffin issued an apology after almost everyone agreed that it was disgusting, inappropriate and possibly criminal(threats on a president’s life is a federal crime). She has since been fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve show. I agree with almost everyone else that this was disgusting, inappropriate and possible criminal. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I throw up in my mouth a little every time I have to type the words. This does not mean I support anyone who would even joke about his assassination. Regardless of how you feel about him, he is a human being with a family. How would you feel if someone posed with a bloody head resembling one of your loved ones? Or posted on social media that they hoped you died? Get some perspective.

Portland’s Burritos: There was a recent article in the Washington Post about a Portland burrito cart that was forced to shut down because people were angry that two white women had “stolen culture for profit and gain.” Someone even created a Google doc listing all of the white owned restaurants “that have appropriated cuisines outside their own culture.” They even singled out a place called Voodoo Donuts for “profiting off a religion thought to combine African, Catholic and Native American traditions.” This is all ridiculous. Portland has lost its mind.  As a friend put it on Facebook, “Whatever happened to the concept of “melting pot?” White people aren’t allowed to learn from other cultures? A white person who loves Mexican food and can cook it isn’t allowed to open a restaurant? Is a person from Mexico allowed to own a pizza shop? Should we shut down hot dog stands not run by white people? Dumb.

Sports: The Wizards are out of the NBA playoffs. The Caps are out of the NHL playoffs(not that I’m a hockey fan), the Braves are bad again, the annoying Nats are in first place and we are far away from football season.  I get the Post so this down sports time is filled with whiny Nat’s coverage. Wah, little Brycey got hit by a pitch. Wah, little Brycey got suspended for charging the mound. Wah, wah, wah. They are the whiniest bunch of baseball people. They don’t deserve a good team. These are the same columnists that spent years bitching about John Wall and trying to run him out of town because he couldn’t single handedly turn their crappy basketball team around. Now that hey are winning they love him.  As soon as they have a bad stretch they will hate him again. Is it football season yet?

Weather: This month has 31 days. It has rained on almost all of them. I can’t find the actual number, but I’m pretty sure it is over 25 days of rain this month, Enough already. I need the sun.

Donald Trump: Still a bad president. Still possibly colluded with Russia. Still tweeting stupid stuff.

Running Out of Ways to Respond

I hesitate to write anything in regards to the Manchester attack last night. I’m not sure I have anything of import to add to the discussion and I don’t want people to think I am using the tragedy to get readers. It has, however, been on my mind today.

As a father I think about how horrible it would be to send my kid off to enjoy a concert and have it end in tragedy.  I think about the times my son has gone to concerts with friends and thank God he always arrived home safely.  I think about future events my kids will attend and pray that they will not be marred by terror and tragedy. I pray for those who lost family members in the attack.

I would rather not think about politics, but the takes are out there. People are once again using the tragedy to push a political agenda. I’ve seen several posts saying this is why we should not allow refugees in the country. Never mind that the suspect was born in Manchester. Somehow, the refugees are responsible. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. You can’t fight hate with hate and fear is exactly what the terrorists want.

There are once again positive stories from the aftermath. People in Manchester were taking in survivors. Cab drivers were giving free rides. Doctors were offering services for free. Many of the people helping were Muslim. If you look, you can always find the good even in the worst of times. I will try to remember to look for the good.

I will end with something I copied from a post after the Paris attacks and something I still believe today: Offer help to those in need. Don’t hate others because they don’t look like or worship like you. Don’t assume an entire religion can be judged on the actions of a few. Don’t let the terrorists make you scared to leave your house. Be vigilant, be aware, but don’t stop living.

Tater Takes on United, Hitler, Egg Rolls and A-Holes

  1. United: Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen the video of the man being dragged off a United flight to make room for United employees who needed to fly. To be fair, United only ever said the skies were friendly. They never promised to be friendly before takeoff or after landing. I might consider adopting this management style. No volunteers to take the desk shift? Let me re-accommodate you. I like it.
  2. Spicer and Hitler: So, Sean Spicer when talking about Syria actually said Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in WWII. We had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” He then tried to clarify with “he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing” I think it’s time for a visit to the Holocaust museum. I’m sure he would be allowed to do that on work time. I’m sure the alt-right is pleased with the thought that he might not consider Jews people.
  3. White House Egg Roll: It seems based on recent reports that the White House is way behind on the planning of the White House Easter Egg Roll. I can see the reason behind this now: “President Trump, we need to get things going on the egg roll” “I love egg rolls. I like to dip them in ketchup. But no egg rolls unless the Chinese pay for them” I’m glad we got a chance to take our kids to the event when they were little. It was a lot of fun. Too bad it looks like it won’t be well planned this year.
  4. False Equivalence: I’m not really sure if that term applies here, but it’s the closest thing I could think of for this section. I’m tired of seeing people argue that we shouldn’t help refugees until we help homeless veterans. Why can’t we help both? I saw a comment on the topic of drug addiction saying we shouldn’t spend money on treatment for addiction because kids have cancer. Again, can’t we fight cancer and drug addiction? No one is saying we should only help refugees or only fight drug addiction and I think the people with the false arguments know this. They just don’t want to help refugees or drug addicts, but it sounds better to say they care about others than to say they just don’t like these people. I wonder how many of them are actively helping homeless veterans or donating to organizations fighting cancer.
  5. People Suck: The last couple of days I’ve had some situations that remind me that most people only care about themselves. They can’t take a minute to stop and think about how their actions might affect other people. There is a knee jerk reaction to do what is easy for them instead of some consideration for others. I’m not claiming to be a saint, but I like to think that more often than not I try to do the right thing and help others when I can. On days like this I sometimes think that I’m done with that. I’m going to become the asshole who only cares about himself. I never will though(unless I already am and don’t realize it. The asshole is usually the last to know) I don’t think I could live with myself if I did that. Please, stop and think about your decisions. Do the right thing when you can. Try to be a positive influence on the world. Look outside your personal bubble and think about those around you.

Currently Reading: Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century

Tater’s Take on Some News of the Week

  1. Starbucks is Less Rewarding If You Are Cheap: People are furious that Starbucks is changing the rewards program. This is a program they don’t have to offer, giving you rewards you don’t deserve and you are angry? If you buy what I buy, it actually works out about the same as before. If you buy food, you might come out ahead. It only goes bad for you if you are only buying a regular cup of coffee. If you are only buying a regular cup of coffee, you are already losing because you are paying too much for over-roasted coffee. Go to 7-11. They have a drink reward system that would work for you.
  2. Librarian of Congress: President Obama has nominated Dr Carla Hayden of Enoch Pratt to be the next Librarian of Congress. It’s great that he has selected an actual librarian for the job. I’ve never met Dr. Hayden, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about her. I think she is a great choice. Unfortunately, when I see Dr. Hayden I only think of her appearances on the mess of a Saturday morning news show on WBAL where she does book recommendations. She’s not horrible, but I’ve often thought that there are probably other area librarians who would be much better than her. Also, she rarely recommends a book I would want to read. Maybe I can take her slot when she moves on.
  3. The Election: Jeb! is out.Jeb! and Cooper Manning need to start a support group for brothers of more successful people. Oompa Loompa American Donald Trump is still winning meaning America is closer to losing. Clinton says she has never lied, proving she can’t help lying even when talking about lying. Evil Eddie Munster seems to be fading behind Robot Rubio, so there is a positive to report.
  4. Justice Waffling: McConnell and the Republicans were fine with Reagan nominating Kennedy late in his term, but now think it’s a bad thing. Biden used to think nominating someone in an election year was bad but now it’s fine. Is anyone surprised that politicians waffle on the issues? Why do we keep electing people like McConnell? We reap what we sow. Also, mmm waffles.
  5. The Uber Killer:  A man went on a killing spree in Michigan recently. All of the news reports lead with the fact that he was an Uber driver, like that had anything to do with the killings. Would you lead with his job if he was a librarian or a banker? I think the news is in the pocket of Big Taxi.

I thought doing the writing challenge would make me write more. This is my first post in six days. I need to jot things down as I watch the news. It might make these posts a little better and I might write more. I’m a bad blogger.

Link or it didn’t happen

Like every other obsessed Kentucky basketball fan, I have been following the firing of Billy Gillispie and the search for a new UK basketball coach. One place I look for information is The Cat’s Pause message boards. One phrase I keep seeing in the board is “link or it didn’t happen”. As with most people of the internet generation, the people on the board believe that if it is not being reported on the internet, it is not real news. One such posting of the phrase was after someone posted something they heard live on the local news. I’ve been told that event this has to be based on information given over a computer in some way. I disagree. There is still journalism happening in the world that does not have it’s base in the internet, email or anything more sophisticated than a telephone. Here is the most likely scenario for the story heard on the news:

Local reporter with ties to university has friends on staff as sources. Source hears information the coach will be fired. Source calls local reporter to tell him. He alerts producers who break into live news broadcast to report the news. Notice the absence of the internet? I’m sure this type of reporting goes on all the time. Of course, eventually, there will be a link once the story is typed up and posted on the station’s website. The lack of the link during the live broadcast does not make the news any less real. I would be more likely to believe that story than the hundreds of internet rumors that pop up every day. These rumors have links that can be shared, but this doesn’t make them true. At least the reporters for the most part will actually verify the story before running it. Anyone with a computer can make up a story. Just having a link doesn’t mean it happened anymore than no link means it didn’t.