The Weather Superman and Woman

The recent storms of Harvey and Irma have produced broadcasters the likes of which we have not known since World War II. No, now our front-line reporters are the brave men and women of the weather reporting media, state and federal weather bureaus.

One hundred and fifty-five miles per hour winds. Drenching rains, carrying millions of grains of beach sand. Sand that sting the faces of the weather persons. “I feel as though I was getting a skin abrasion treatment. Oh, that hurts.” Another reported standing on a pier, just alongside the Miami River, slipped on a cement block, and fortunately did not hit the water. Other reporters braving unpredictable ‘catastrophic’ wind gusts, and yet standing just three feet from the safety of a concrete parking garage, and the warmth of a massive GM SUV.

They report on the rain, and Palm trees swaying. The program directors request more shots of the rain, and flooded streets. The producers and television directors ignore the fact that we can see the rain, and the Palm trees bending. We can hear the howling wind. We see the waves, white caps and the boats floundering in their moorings, or out to sea. The camera tells us all we need to know, without the added thrill, and death defying heroism of the weather reporters. How much danger do the reporters need to suffer to keep the television ratings on the rise? What kind of harm do we have to see, before the ‘entertainment’ portion of the weather report is satisfied?

Tom Golden, Writer’s Cramp, 2017

I Need Copy

Monday evening, at about 5pm.  January 26, 2015. Writer’s conference room at CNN.

Staff of seven. Six men and one woman. They sit at a circular conference table. On the table are several carafes of coffee, coffee mugs, Styrofoam cups, coffee mate and a sugar container with real sugar, raw sugar, Splendid, Truvia packets, and a container of Agavi. Several large screen t.v. sets are attached to the walls of the room. The conference room has no windows. Each person has a tablet.

Staff: Director Bill, and writer’s Jason, Harry, Peter, Tom, Rachel, Jacob and Martin.

Bill: Well, we’ve got us a blizzard. Maybe the biggest in 10 years, or more.

Peter: Let’s get started. Don Lemon, and staff are already on station, and they need copy.

Jason: O.K.

Rachel: Do we have the commercial schedule set?

Peter: Yes. I’ve got it. We are set for 4 minutes of live, and 30 seconds of commercial. The alternative is 6 minutes of live and 90 seconds of commercial. Either way all is set.

Bill: Great. Do we have meteorologists on board.

Tom: Yes, Bill. We have two set to come on call.

Rachel: Who are they Tom?

Tom: Professor Harrison Thatcher from Univ. of Conn. And Peter Crowley from the Miami Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables.

Bill: Peter Crowley from where?

Tom: He is the chief Hurricane forecaster at the Miami Center.

Martin: We are talking about a blizzard, not a Caribbean rainstorm!

Jacob: Hurricane, blizzard so what. I have heard predictions of 50 to 60 mile winds with this blizzard

Harry: That sounds like a hurricane to me.

Rachel: In fact, what makes a blizzard, a blizzard..

Peter: Dairy Queen!

Rachel: O.K. wise guy. No I not kidding. It is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow that defines a blizzard.

Bill: You mean, if we get 26 inches of snow in one storm that is not a blizzard.

Rachel: Right. Just a one monster snow storm.

Jacob: Folks, I just got an email from Don Lemon and he needs copy!

Harry: Send the following. “ The blizzard of 2015 is just starting to arrive and do not fool yourself. This storm will be massive, and even life threatening. Perhaps where you are sitting there are only flurries, but that is just the calm before the storm.”

Rachel: That’ just 14 seconds. He needs more.

Harry: O.K. Don give this out now. “ Folks in Sunnyside, Queens or Rockville Centre Long Island why don’t you call in to 212-456-6666 and tell us your weather. In fact, any of you who would like to call to be our on-site weatherperson, please call 212-456-666”

Bill: Cut that! Stop that transmission. Stop it now.

Rachel: I’m sorry boss, it went out already. Don thought it was a great idea, and an audience builder. You know 15 seconds of fame for the guy on the street.

Bill: We can’t handle thousands of calls, and you gave the damn switchboard number of CNN. We need that line open for our news reporters.

Marty: The blizzard is the news. What else is happening?

Bill: What the hell are you talking about. The world is falling to shit, and we gonna have every Tom, Dick and Mary complaining about snowplows, and snowman in Staten Island.

Tom: Don is calling. He just slipped on some ice, and he needs cover for at least 5 minutes.

Bill: Rachel run the blizzard of 2006.

Rachel: We don’t have it set. I have the blizzard of 1776. Just foolin. I do have plenty of copy of the major blizzard of 1948.

Bill: Run it now. No wait. Finish the commercial. O.K. run it after Viagra.