A Storm Unlike Any Other

I called and told him I was confused because I’d never seen this particular setup before. Neither had he!

dot greenwich camera.jpgEarlier tonight I took a quick look at one of the CT DOT traffic cameras on I-95 and gasped. The camera was in Greenwich-adjacent to the New York State line. While the rest of Connecticut was seeing moderate to heavy rain with temperatures mostly in the 40&#176s Greenwich had limited visibility with heavy snow. The snow had begun to accumulate!

dot westport camera.jpgA few miles up the road in Stamford there was nothing but rain! Even now, hours later, only the communities in Lower Fairfield are seeing the snow stick.

In retrospect the Greenwich blitz doesn’t change my forecast. It was scary to see–sure. The weather had done a rapid about face. It was all part of the forecast, but it happened so quickly and with such fury I was originally taken aback.

Let me qualify this because it’s easy to lose sight of what I’m talking about.

Something’s been falling from the sky since early Tuesday. One storm came and went. This is Part B of Storm 2. However, this unnamed¹ winter storm is so unusual scholarly papers will be written about it!

Thursday while Atlantic City was seeing snow Albany, NY was getting rain. Friday morning New Haven, CT will see snow while Bangor, ME gets the rain! Crazy.

90fbw.gifThe barometer is so low it’s approaching the range usually seen in hurricanes and tropical storms. We get pressure readings this low every decade or so.
Tonight, as the wind in New London shifted from east to southwest the temperature dropped 9&#176 in one hour! Cold air advection from the southwest! Isn’t that where warm air comes from?

Seriously–that’s nuts.

I called my weather colleague Dr. Mel Goldstein this afternoon. I’d developed my forecast but was unsure about one aspect. He’s a great weather historian so I called and told him I was confused because I’d never seen this particular setup before. Neither had he!

My concern was how much warm air would remain and how much water would stay on roads as the snow fell? How would this affect Friday? My guess is a great deal of the storm will just melt as it hits the pavement–not all of it. What does accumulate will be wet and sloppy and very heavy to move.

After Friday I’ll know better how my speculation comports with the real world. I am working totally in a theoretical world right now.
I am exhausted. This week has been a killer. There’s been no forecast where I could let up because they all were jammed with critical information.

Bring on the weekend.

¹ – As long as I’ve been in Connecticut WFSB has been naming storms. It’s probably a good promotional tool for them, but on those occasions when people refer to a storm by the WFSB given name I gag. These are people who also call the Fiesta Bowl the FedEx Fiesta Bowl.

The Times Tom Friedman Draws The Wrong Conclusions

It’s a race to the bottom. There will always be someone who has less and is willing to settle.

I read Tom Friedman’s op-ed “The Do-It-Yourself Society” in Sunday’s NY Times. His observations are correct. His conclusions are not. He sees, as I do, technology increasing productivity and competition. He misses what happens to the other two people when one person does the work of three!

No one looks upon FedEx, VOIP or the Internet in general as evil. Yet to many people they are. Technology has radically reduced the worth of many human endeavors!

Before technology shrunk the world we only competed against ourselves. We only competed with people looking for the same standard of living. No more. We’re now competing against people willing to live at a much lower standard than ours… which is still higher standard than their current one!

It’s a race to the bottom. There will always be someone who has less and is willing to settle.

Today it’s the Chinese. As their standard of living goes up and individual Chinese want more they’ll be undercut by someone else.

We have become a Walmartized world. We are driven by price and not much else.

Technology and advanced industrial processes have removed much of the advantage of craftsmanship. Until recently the best good were handmade. We now mass produce well made goods.

Our cars, our cellphones, our washing machines are better than ever while cheaper than ever. Our American labor has been priced out of the equation. If it’s made here, it’s made with fewer people. If it’s labor intensive it’s made where labor is cheap and plentiful and pliant.

I could easily do my weather job on three or four or more stations in three or four or more markets! I suspect some day I will. Technology removes the barriers.

I remember sitting in front of a TV in Bangor, Maine watching Jim Kosek doing the weather. He was in State College, PA working for AccuWeather. He was much better talent than what could normally be afforded in Bangor. Few watching knew he wasn’t local.

It’s already happened in radio. There are fewer local radio shows than ever. Many stations have no local programming or no programming produced by people who work solely for that one station.

What makes this awful is our society’s long standing tradition of valuing people based on the individual work they produce. We just don’t need as many people to produce what we need. From a goods and services standpoint we’d do just fine today with a significant portion of our society sitting on their collective hands.

Unfortunately, in our society if you’re unemployed or underemployed you are deprived!

Without jobs people have no purchasing power and no benefits. They can’t be the consumers that drive demand. And yet, in many cases, their lack of a job is the fault of our technological age and not themselves!

The Luddites were weavers, put out of work by the mechanical looms of the early industrial revolution. They protested by destroying the new mechanical looms as if destroying them would make them go way.

Recently I’ve had Luddite moments. Wouldn’t it be nice if the efficiencies driving people to the curb didn’t exist? My Luddite dreams are no more practical today than they were for the Luddites.

Our society and way of life is rapidly being dismantled. We can’t stop progress. It’s bigger than we are!

What we have to do is find a way to better distribute the gains of a world where the work of individual humans is less important. I don’t know how to do that, but I think about it constantly.

Until we rearrange things individuals have no choice but to try and be that one who does the work of three. None of us has a real choice. Slow down and you’ll be trampled.

J’Accuse–Some Of You Probably Know My Evil Stalker

The Internet isn’t anonymous. In order for data to be sent to a computer the server must know its IP address. So, when this person spewed on my website it was in my logs.

Someone doesn’t like me. OK–that’s an understatement. Of those who don’t like me someone is being pretty mean about it sending me a stream of vile emails and blog comments. It’s been going on for a while.

Not only have I been the target, so has a co-worker and some other people (more on them later).

I know who it is. It’s pretty obvious. I just don’t know why–what I ever did to this person to deserve his wrath?

I suspect some of you reading this know who it is too. You connect the dots.

This weekend he sent comments to my blog from a McDonalds on Mansfield Avenue in Norton, MA. That’s right by I-495. Today it was from a Barnes and Noble in Farmington, CT. That’s what you’d expect if someone in Maine was coming here for a visit or vacation.

Most of the time his stuff has come from the Bangor area of Maine.

How do I know? The Internet isn’t anonymous. In order for data to be sent to a computer the server must know its IP address. So, when this person spewed on my website it was in my logs.

Facebook is a little more problematic. Well, it was until I found out the originating IP address in Facebook mail is hashed within the message and it can be pulled out. With that little tidbit I found a mean and nasty email sent to a co-worker via Facebook came from a RoadRunner account serviced from Warren, ME, between Portland and Bangor.

Earlier web comments came from another Maine RoadRunner account and from a business account serviced by MidMaine.net

Our miscreant has a variety of pen names he uses, creating and discarding Gmail accounts at will. The most interesting to me are: Fishers4, Dick Fishamajig and JackHammer1968.

Fishers4 and Fishamajig would imply this is someone who knows something about fishing. The 1968 might be his birth year.

One of these pseudonyms appears on a bulletin board sending the same “good wishes” to a former KC-101, Country 92, disk jockey. Maybe our boy has a radio connection?

I know who this is. I have all the pieces except why. I’d rather not go to the police and lodge a case for harassment, but I’m getting to the point where I have no choice.

As I said in the beginning–some of you know this person. Maybe it’s time to put a hand across his shoulder and give him some wise advice. You’ve been caught. Stop.

Cat Stevens and Me

Tonight we reported on a London – Washington jet diverted to Bangor, ME. Homeland Security called for the diversion because one of the passengers, Yusuf Islam, is on a US Watch List… a nice way of saying we think he is a danger to this country.

Many people know Yusuf Islam by his former name, Cat Stevens.

Back when I was a disk jockey, playing Moon Shadow and Morning Has Broken, I would often say his real name was Steven Katz. Hey – I was a disk jockey. Cheap humor was my stock in trade.

When I read the wire copy story tonight, I remembered that I had met Cat Stevens, probably back in 1970. I was a disk jockey at WMUM – FM in Palm Beach, Florida. I had been invited to a concert, which was the custom when record labels were trying to promote their artists.

At the time I was dating a girl named Barbara. That’s about all I remember about her – her name.

Barbara and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale for the concert, but before it started, she got sick. I’m not sure what it was, but I remember she had trouble standing. Today it would be scary. Then, I was so naive – I never would have thought it could have been anything serious.

We were with the promotion people from Cat Stevens’ record label and they had backstage access. They found a couch and Barbara laid down… in Cat Stevens’ dressing room.

We never got to see him perform, but after the show he came back. It was, after all, his room. He was as nice as could be – a gentle man (and I am using both words individually by design). He seemed genuinely concerned.

This was nearly 35 years ago, so my memory is somewhat hazy, but I know it happened pretty much as I’ve just said. This impression of Cat Stevens has stayed with me throughout the years.

I hope our government is wrong – that he is not a threat. Of course, I hope no one is a threat. But hope isn’t enough. There are threats and I understand the need for vigilance.

My real hope is he’s still that gentle man I met in Ft. Lauderdale – that tonight’s diversion was a mistake. There’s no way I will ever know.