Emmy Judging

This has been an exercises in frustration. I volunteered to coordinate judging of the Weathercaster Emmy for the Mid-America region (basically St. Louis and Kansas City) and sent out dozens of invitations to other weather people around New England, including many who I know enter themselves… and got very few responses.

If it weren’t for the fact that it was summer, some folks were on vacation, the AMS convention had taken place last week, I’d name names because I’m pissed. I don’t mind that only a few people said yes. I’m more upset at how many didn’t respond at all!

Anyone who enters the Emmy’s expects more… and deserves it.

Our Emmy panel was comprised of Matt Scott and Gil Simmons and me from WTNH, Michael Friedman from Fox61 (WTIC TV) and Jayne Smith (meteorologist and former weather intern turned weather producer). We watched 9 tapes. Helaine was the ‘caterer’ and as is always the case, we ate wonderfully… and then had pizza for good measure.

The rules say I shouldn’t discuss individual tapes, and I won’t, but I will discuss the general quality of the entrants and the tape content itself. No one really stood out. There were two who I thought were better than the rest… but not by much. There is less of an edge or style to these Midwestern folks than what we see here in the East and a lot more nuts and bolts meteorology (which I’m by no means criticizing).

By and large, there was not enough “talent at chromakey” on the tapes.

It seems all but one of these entrants confused a good location with a good presentation. Because you’re somewhere, and something beyond your control has happened, doesn’t mean what you’re doing is special.

Don Fitzpatrick, TV talent guru, used to talk about reporter audition tapes that included a live shot from the president coming to town. Unless you got that exclusive one-on-one with the prez, ditch the tape.

At this hour, all our score sheets (which I haven’t sneaked a peek at) are in the Airborne envelope, waiting to go out with the tapes on Monday.

Poker Update – We’re down $16!

I guess I haven’t been keeping good track, but as of this morning, we’re down an incredible $16 since we started.

Tonight I played two tiny $5+$.50 tournaments and came in 2nd once. So, that’s $3.50 on the upside. I think Helaine did the same earlier.

I find, because the action is there, that I’m playing a lot of No Limit Hold’em, which is a totally different game than what I had been playing. I’m not totally sure how much I like it, because there are major bluffs going on. So, it’s possible for another player, in essence, to ask you to put up your entire stake (and any chance to place in the tournament) and that player has nothing.

If you have a larger stack, it’s much easier to be bold, because you can force someone to make a life or death (so to speak) decision, yet you have much less on the line relatively speaking.

Even if I hadn’t placed, this game offered good entertainment for the investment. For my $5.50, I played for 1:15.

Cool Blackout Satellite Imagery

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The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program takes pictures of the earth from space and usually I don’t get to see them. Over the past few evenings – clear evenings – as they flew over the Northeastern United States they were taking visible light images (it maybe their norm… they don’t share with me), literally looking at the nighttime sign of civilization most noticable from space – electric light.

At the TV station, we mostly use infrared satellite images because they show weather patterns even when it’s dark. And we use geosynchronus satellites, whose orbital position seems to remain motionless in relationship to the Earth.

The DMSP photos here are from a low Earth polar orbit satellite sensing visible light, a totally different animal.

With clear skies Wednesday and Thursday, the setup was right for an incredible comparison of before and after during the Northeast Blackout.

Very impressive.

Crying Man returns

Last Friday, after a dreadful week full of clouds and rain (in fact rain on the first 9 days of August), I thought it was time to resurrect Andy Savas, playing the part of “The Crying Man.”

In tonight’s episode, Andy is a high official with the Cape Cod Tourism Association.

Andy cut this tape years ago. It’s probably been 2 or more years since I last used it. Having this video squirreled away in my desk is like money in the bank.

Weeding the front yard

I’ve volunteered to host Emmy judging tomorrow. So far, the response has been really poor, and it’s a shame for the weather people in St. Louis that we won’t have a bigger crowd to see their tapes.

Helaine asked if I would go and weed our two front beds, so we might make a good impression. Yikes! That stuff grows like… oh yeah, I guess it’s supposed to.

It’s funny. If you plant tomatoes or flowers or anything you really want, you have to take extra special care to make sure they grow healthfully. But a weed! It doesn’t give a damn. It will grow anywhere.

I’ve seen weeds growing in the cracks in a sidewalk, through concrete, and my favorite, in the rock face that makes up the ‘canyon walls’ on the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Weeds are the pigeon of the flora world.

While I was down on my hands and knees weeding, I did notice one unusual thing. This is a major year for worms. I couldn’t believe how many of them I found. They were all very fat and anxious to get away from me.

I’m sure they noticed I was wearing gloves and realized that meant any worm inhibitions I might normally have were out the window.

Phantom Lightning

As the power failure/blackout story progresses, the Canadian power authority has begun to blame a lightning strike in Northern New York State.

This would be a subject I have some expertise in. So, take my word. There was no lightning strike in Upstate New York this afternoon that might have set off the blackout. Period. End of story.

Continue reading “Phantom Lightning”