Guns And Teachers And Friendly Fire

The ‘friendly fire’ piece of the story was only revealed this morning. As soon as I heard it all I could think about was arming teachers.

There was a tragic incident this past weekend in SoCal. An argument between a 28 year old man and his grandmother spiraled out of control. He shot her seven times, grabbed her car and headed out. The chase ended when he crashed the car and ran into a crowded Trader Joe’s supermarket.

Briefly, a gun battle ensued. Thankfully, the perp retreated, began talking with the cops on his cell phone and three hours later surrendered.

We got to watch Trader Joe employee “Sean” help fellow employees escape through a bathroom window.

During the crossfire a woman was killed. She was shot by a cop. This is the responsibility of the perp, but that doesn’t make this any less tragic for the woman killed nor the cop who mistakenly killed her.

It’s a terrible story. Justice cannot even the scales on this.

The ‘friendly fire’ piece of the story was only revealed this morning. As soon as I heard it all I could think about was arming teachers.

Even police, well trained in the use of their weapon, sometimes get it wrong — especially when the situation is one of mayhem. I can’t imagine how arming teachers could end well.

I Probably Owe Kevin Hart An Apology

Helaine and I were the lucky tag-a-longs with my cousins the “Original Irvine Foxes™” and our friends Farrell and Vered¹ for a Saturday night grown-up date night. We had Italian at Angelina’s (real Italians from Italy — not an easy find here) then headed to the FIVEPOINTS Amphitheater to see Kevin Hart. The amphitheater is a temporary 12,000 open air venue adjacent to Irvine’s Great Park (the former El Toro Marine Air Station).

If I knew about the Kevin Hart tickets before yesterday that thought was long forgotten by Saturday afternoon.

I was ambivalent. I’d seen him on TV, probably grazed one-or-two of his movies on cable and decided, “Meh.” He was loud and profane and super egotistical. That’s how I judged him. And I was worried a large part of the show would be about a black experience I only know from reading.


Kevin Hart at the FIVEPOINTS Amphitheater, Irvine, CA.

The guy who came up on stage was a father, husband and maker of decisions good and bad. More than that, he was a great storyteller. This was not setup/punchline/repeat. Kevin Hart is a monologist. He took us into his life warts and all. He is a charming, thoughtful, flawed man.

The cursing I worried about was dolloped on heavy. I can see how some (many) people might be put off by this. I heard it from our friends. In the end content trumped shock for me. Your tolerance may very.

Kevin Hart did an hour ten minute set (I’ll have to ask, but I suspect there’s a 10:00 PM curfew for the venue) and was funny for all seventy minutes. Before he left he mentioned how he always made Irvine a part of his tour. He’ll be back. Hopefully me too.

If I would have gone with my gut (and had a choice) I would have passed up this show. I had no choice, luckily.

Additional note: I have never heard better sound in a concert venue. I would recommend this place for any show.

¹ The term is not really trademarked, but my cousins are well known and liked wherever they go.

It Didn’t Snow In Santiago, Chile — Uh Oh!

If I got a snow forecast wrong people knew and were VERY upset. After all, I claim I can predict the future. People would come up to me on the street or at the market and let me know. No one wants to disappoint the people who trust you — certainly not me.

American GFS computer mode – 12Z 10June2018

It’s winter in South America and the forecast in Santiago, Chile called for snow. It didn’t snow. Snow is a rarity in Santiago, Chile. They get snow, not often. It’s a Mediterranean climate — just what we have here in SoCal.

Which brings us to the message I got Monday afternoon from a reporter at Las Últimas Noticias, a national newspaper in Chile.

Hello Geoff.

Thank you for answering.

Last week, all the forecast said it will be a snowfall this Monday morning. Even the schools closed. Most of people took the prediction as something extremely catastrophic. Well, the predictions failed. The TV weather men and women had to give some explanations. There are a lot of complains and jokes on Twitter about this. So here are some questions:

-How difficult is to predict a snowfall?

-What factors do you have to consider make it?

-Is it a matter of technology? The snowfall forecasts in US don’t fail too much?

-Have you made mistakes in situations like this? What do you do next? Is it good or not to try a kind of apologize?

-In Chile, at least, the weather in TV channels is a kind of terrorific issue. A heavy rain prediction, for example, is almost the end of the world, even with a terrorific music in the background. What do you think about that?

-Do the weather sell in TV?

Thank you
Ariel Diéguez
Las Últimas Noticias

I’m not sure how he found me, but of course I answered.

Of all the predictions meteorologist make, snow is arguably the most difficult. It is a multistage forecast. It’s not just how much moisture is in the atmosphere, but the temperature at different levels in the atmosphere. A small change in temperature is the deciding factor between rain and snow, or even sleet (ice pellets) or freezing rain (rain falls as liquid but freeze immediately on contact with trees, power lines, roadways, etc.).

We used to do this all ourselves. Computers have made life much easier because computer models follow the drops as they fall and figure out their state at every stage. Humans can’t do this alone — much too complex.

The technology has gotten much better over time, but snow forecasts are much more complex than most others. Cloud temperatures decided how fluffy snow is. Snow can range from 6 or 7:1 (7 cm snow from 1 cm liquid) to 30:1 or higher! So, how much snow will fall is very difficult to forecast and almost never exactly right.

I was on TV for 30 years in Connecticut, about 100 km northeast of NYC. If I got a snow forecast wrong people knew and were VERY upset. After all, I claim I can predict the future. People would come up to me on the street or at the market and let me know. No one wants to disappoint the people who trust you — certainly not me.

The number of wrong forecasts is definitely a fraction of what it was 30 years ago. No one is happier about that than me!

I have apologized on-the-air. Absolutely. I take responsibility. The forecast is mine, not the computer’s. I ask you to believe me.

Weather is the single most cited reason for people to watch local TV news. People accuse us of hyping storms, or making them scarier than they are. No. No. No. No. There is no upside to being wrong.

One more thing — Chile doesn’t make the forecast easier by sitting alongside the Pacific. Though we now have satellite observations, much of the Pacific has no surface weather observations. This leads to poor initialization of the computer models and garbage in/garbage out.

Ari – let me know if there’s anything else you need.

Glad to help,

A Connecticut Facebook friend in Santiago promises to keep an eye out for the story.

A Few Moments With My Dad

Just got off Facetime with my dad. He’s feeling a little tired today.

We chatted for a few minutes. Nothing important. Roseanne. Politics. Somehow, how surreal it was to think of him as a sailor.

I had never heard this before. He told me what his father said as my 18 year old father left for WWII. His recollection: vivid.

“Don’t kiss any strange girls.” Thank you Grandpa Jack.

In another part of the conversation we were talking… well, does it make a diff the topic because this really works in all situations.

“Geoffrey, I am 92 years old. I have seen stupid people in my life.”

Yes he has.

So Here’s The Plan

A few weeks ago my sister told me the good news. My dad’s doctor said he was healthy enough to fly. We began to make plans to bring him west.

Then reality set in. My sister was never strong on the idea, but didn’t have the heart to stop us. My niece was wary too and told me so.

It led to one of those awkward conversations where father and son sheepishly came to the same sad conclusion. Practicality over fantasy. My dad had permission to fly, but was he prepared to spend a full day traveling then do it again on the way back?

And so the trip was scotched. Of course that’s not the end of the story.

I purchased tickets tonight. Helaine, Stef and I will be heading to Milwaukee for Father’s Day weekend.

“What are we going to do with Doppler?” Helaine worried. We have no one close-by to leave her with. So guess who’s taking her first airplane ride!

My father got the news on Facetime this afternoon. “I’m very excited,” he said. Me too. Us too.

In spite of having grown up in Queens and her husband Jeff in Washington Heights, my sister and brother-in-law have planted their roots in Wisconsin. Three children. Four grandchildren. And, of course, my dad.

Can’t wait to see them all.

And the Phillies will be in town!

The Political Come To Jesus Meeting About To Take Place

I watched cable news this morning as reporters and anchors tried to explain how Michael Cohen’s accepting money from AT&T, Novartis, Korea Aerospace and a billionaire pal of Vladimir Putin’s was probably legal and the job description of loads of Washingtonians. Business as usual!

What I’m saying is we needn’t worry how retired US Senator John Boehner will afford his newly embraced pot love. Selling access in Washington is big business. Boehner’s easy to pick on but it’s Democrats too.

I’m hoping this will open a national dialog about the position of money in government. I’ve used “come to Jesus meeting” in my title with the understanding it means a frank discussion about a very serious problem that needs immediate action. That’s us.

Obviously, AT&T, Novartis and the others who ‘gave at the office’ felt there were real profits to be made by buying Michael Cohen’s time and shaping his opinion. I find that entirely disgusting.

Before the recent tax bill was passed, The Hill reported this tidbit from Congressman Chris Collins of New York.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) had been describing the flurry of lobbying from special interests seeking to protect favored tax provisions when a reporter asked if donors are happy with the tax-reform proposal.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’ ” Collins replied.

Here’s who they are:

Fewer than one in fifty of Collins’ campaign dollars comes from small individuals. Those weren’t little guys asking for this bill.

When you see obviously unpopular legislation (net neutrality and consumer financial rules as two examples) and wonder how could that possibly become law–see above.