As a nation we have allowed the problems which led to today’s inexcusable acts get out-of-control. I wish I knew how to turn it around. I do know the answer is neither denial the problem exists nor violence.

I just went to Google and searched for images that match “Baltimore.”

generic baltimore search

Now I limited the search to images from the last 24 hours.

baltimore last 24 hours

I am watching the video from Baltimore and crying. I understand the frustration unequal justice and law enforcement gone amuck delivers to black and other minority communities. Violence is a symptom, a last resort when people feel they have no other voice.

Rioting and destruction is not the way to change things. It never has been. Newark, Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities did not benefit from rioting in their cities. The primarily black neighborhoods where the riots took place suffered greatly after-the-fact.

As a nation we have allowed the problems which led to today’s inexcusable acts get out-of-control. I wish I knew how to turn it around.

I do know the answer is neither denying the problem exists nor violence.

We as a nation should be better than this. Today we are not. That’s why I’m crying.

I Miss A Lot. I Don’t Miss Winter.

Lesean McCoy in the snow

Before we moved Helaine and I talked about this day. We discussed sitting at home, seeing winter on TV. Boy did we see it today!

Detroit was playing the Eagles at in Philly. Light snow was forecast. Nearly all of it would begin after two.

In reality heavy snow fell and started hours early. The game started with the field covered and Fox cameras unable to see much detail on-the-field. Offically at PHL it was heavy snow, &#188 mile visibility and a temperature of 27&#176 (19&#176 wind chill).

Let’s pause while I tell the Philadelphia meteorologists, I feel your pain. I’ve been on the wrong end of a bad forecast. It’s a horrendous feeling.

At first I thought it was really cool to see football played in a near blizzard. Then I realized it had removed most skill from the game! Kicks didn’t roll. Passes didn’t carry. Runners couldn’t make cuts.

Detroit’s first touchdown was followed by a two point conversion. No way a kicker would try the point after.

There was some satisfaction sitting here in SoCal. I won’t lie. My apologies. I feel your pain too.

The weather here wasn’t perfect, or even good. We were in the mid-50&#176s all day with mainly cloudy skies.

WPC Probabilistic Winter Precipitation GuidanceWe’ll get to 70&#176 before this week is out with no precipitation in the forecast. That makes it easier to take.

Back in Hamden the next twenty four hours will be an unavoidable pain in-the-ass. Snow, sleet, freezing rain. I don’t miss that.

I miss lots about Connecticut. I don’t miss winter.

Janet Napolitano Gives The Wrong Answer

No! The correct answer is, “Yes, this was a failure. We shouldn’t be letting known threats carrying explosives on airplanes. I am very upset. This will be fixed immediately.”

I really didn’t want to write about security and the Delta Detroit incident but then Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, appeared on Sunday morning TV. She delivered one of the most stupefyingly insipid comments I’ve ever heard–an insult to America.

This week’s suicidal crazy used the same chemical, PETN, shoe bomber Richard Reid used!. That led David Gregory on Meet The Press to ask if this was a security failure. Napolitano answered:

SEC’Y JANET NAPOLITANO: Well, I think we don’t know enough to say one way or the other in that respect. The forensics are still being done, the investigation is still underway. I think the important point here is that once the incident occurred, everybody reacted the way they should; the passengers did, the flight crew did. And literally, within an hour, additional measures had been instituted not only on the ground here in the United States, but abroad and, indeed, on the 128 flights that were already in the air from Europe.

No! The correct answer is, “Yes, this was a failure. We shouldn’t be letting known threats carrying explosives on airplanes. I am very upset. This will be fixed immediately.”

We got none of my answer.

We are trying to protect targets when it seems more manageable to find threats.

We Miss The Boat On Security Again

Personally I think we need to see some heads roll at TSA. The TSA has other ideas. They’re adding more inconvenience to flying!

Helluva holiday. A suicidal crazy tried to blow up a Detroit bound Northwest Airlines jet. We knew he was a crazy. He was on some sort of security list. Not only that, his dad went to the embassy to make sure we knew he was a threat.

His trip began at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Even I know what goes on there. This isn’t the first time I mentioned that particular airport. Back in 2006 I wrote:

Where are the good old days when the only signs you saw warned you about Murtala Mohammed Airport?

I was referring to signs which used to be posted at every US airline ticket counter and gate warning of the one airport (really, they only warned about one for a while) with the worst security in the world: Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

Here’s more from UK’s Independent:

Police know that the KLM ticket that Abdulmutallab travelled on was purchased on 16 December, with cash, in Nigeria. The departure airport was changed from Accra to Lagos shortly afterwards. When he took his window seat, number 19A, he had only one piece of hand luggage and none in the hold – unusual for someone who was allegedly planning a two-week stay in Detroit.

Did he need to wear neon to be noticed?

You would think the TSA would make sure this suicidal crazy didn’t get on a US bound airplane. Wrong.

Again, this was a guy we knew was bad. Maybe we need to spend a little more time stopping people like him and less time patting down my mom.

We are so scared of offending people that no one can be targeted or profiled. We will never be any closer to being safe if we consider every passenger an equal threat. There will always be some way for a bad person to do major harm

It is much easier to find bad people than it is to close every possible security weak spot.

Personally I think we need to see some heads roll at TSA. These would be high ranking heads. The TSA has other ideas. They’re adding more inconvenience to flying!

International travelers will now be restricted for the last hour of their trip (no bathroom for you travelers). There will probably be some carry-on restrictions added too. Legitimate travelers will suffer while terrorists will work around new regulations or find softer targets.

The US governments action’s this past week were dumb. To be good, security must be smart.

The Numbers Are In

Nielen ratings are in for last night’s debate

The Nielsen ratings are in for last night’s debate. I’m confused by the list of stations aggregated which doesn’t include Fox News and MSNBC, both of which would add significantly to the final total.

If these overnight numbers stand, the ratings are well below other recent debates.

OK–I’m a little surprised. I thought for sure there would be a lot more interest considering all the buzz.

DMA Rank Market RTG Rank RTG SHR (000) 21 St. Louis 1 52.1 82.0 649 48 Memphis 2 49.5 67.0 330 26 Baltimore 3 47.1 66.0 515 9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 4 44.6 68.0 1030 29 Nashville 5 44.0 66.0 424 46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 6 42.2 61.0 285 32 Columbus, OH 7 41.5 63.0 377 43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 8 41.4 59.0 298 58 Richmond-Petersburg 9 40.3 55.0 211 18 Denver 10 39.7 65.0 586 24 Charlotte 11 39.3 54.0 426 7 Boston (Manchester) 12 39.3 58.0 944 22 Portland, OR 13 39.0 74.0 450 31 Kansas City 14 37.7 61.0 350 16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 15 37.2 52.0 573 38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 16 36.4 55.0 282 27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 17 36.2 54.0 377 51 Buffalo 18 36.1 54.0 230 25 Indianapolis 19 35.3 59.0 379 53 New Orleans 20 34.8 48 209 11 Detroit 21 34.3 55.0 661 59 Knoxville 22 34.3 51.0 185 61 Tulsa 23 34.1 55.0 178 45 Oklahoma City 24 34.0 55.0 231 40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 25 33.5 48.0 245 52 Providence-New Bedford 26 33.5 50.0 211 15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 27 33.4 59.0 569 19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 28 33.4 52.0 479 62 Ft. Myers-Naples 29 33.3 51.0 164 28 San Diego 30 33.0 59.0 349 50 Louisville 31 33.0 48.0 218 17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 32 32.9 55.0 505 37 San Antonio 33 32.9 48.0 261 20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 34 32.7 55.0 454 4 Philadelphia 35 32.1 51.0 941 44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 36 32.1 50.0 218 23 Pittsburgh 37 32.1 51.0 371 6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 38 32.0 62.0 779 13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 39 31.7 49.0 569 49 Austin 40 31.6 52.0 201 36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 41 31.5 46.0 265 64 Dayton 42 31.4 50.0 161 1 New York 43 31.3 48.0 2317 8 Atlanta 44 30.9 52.0 714 3 Chicago 45 30.7 51.0 1067 14 Seattle-Tacoma 46 30.3 58.0 541 30 Hartford & New Haven 47 30.2 45.0 306 47 Jacksonville 48 30.0 47.0 196 33 Salt Lake City 49 29.9 63.0 261 35 Milwaukee 50 29.2 49.0 262 34 Cincinnati 51 28.3 49.0 256 42 Las Vegas 52 27.9 46.0 196 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 53 27.7 46.0 671 2 Los Angeles 54 26.4 50.0 1484 12 Phoenix (Prescott) 55 24.8 47.0 448 10 Houston* 56 0.0 0.0 0 Weighted Avg. of 55 markets* 33.2

The Geekiest Thing I’ve Ever Done

We received a yellow pay envelope every week with tax info written on the outside and your salary, in dollar bills and coins, on the inside.

Have you ever had an idea pop into your head for no apparent reason? I’m talking some totally disjointed event that has nothing to do with anything and just moved itself into your conscious brain. It just happened to me. I just remembered the geekiest thing I ever did. Ever!

My first job working with adults was at Sears Roebuck in Flushing. New York isn’t a particularly “Sears” type of place. The store was small and ill suited for Downtown Flushing&#185. Sears has no stores this size anymore. The store was designated 4524, a B3a class store.

We received a yellow pay envelope every week with tax info written on the outside and your salary, in dollar bills and coins, on the inside.

I worked at the credit desk, catalog sales and customer service. One summer I ran shipping. That was fun. A few times I answered the switchboard.

It was an old timey switchboard with Bakelight switches and rubbery cords covered in fabric. In the forward right corner was a dial without a phone. The operator wore a headset with large earpiece and heavy duty microphone. This was pre-miniaturization.

“Good afternoon, Sears. May I help you?” Back then, to me, a switchboard was an iPhone. Savvy?

Long distance was expensive. No problem for me. I had no need for toll calls since I didn’t know anyone outside New York City, or more accurately, Brooklyn and Queens. Still, I had a desire to make a call somewhere.

Sears had a national network of tie-lines, linking various regional headquarters together. My guess was, it was flat-rate so it wasn’t closely monitored for use. I started looking at the internal company phone book.

It turned out you could dial a routing code and, voila, you were in Chicago or Boston or some other center. You’d hear “click,” and then their dialtone. I know. I tried. You could even dial-9 and get an outside line in Chicago or wherever.

My goal was to dial from one regional office to another and then another, ad nauseum. I’d go as far as Sears would take me. That’s how one afternoon with nothing better to do, I called myself.

From Flushing, I called North Jersey, where our credit accounts were held, then routed myself to Chicago then Detroit. I don’t remember the rest except it was a long list. As each additional leg was added, the sound quality became more watery It was all one call, but taking a ridiculous route through mechanical switches and low grade analog voice lines.

It took a few tries. A few times unidentified lines in the center of my call would drop, forcing me to start over. Still, I achieved my goal. By late afternoon I’d made my other line ring from a call that traveled the entire country and then some.

My wife and daughter will undoubtedly not be impressed. Back then, this was quite the geeky achievement. I’m still kinda’ proud.

I have no idea why it came to me tonight.

&#185 – The Flushing Main Street subway station is consistently the busiest outside Manhattan. It is a thriving downtown, teaming with mostly Asian immigrants and virtually indistinguishable from Bangkok or Hanoi.

Rock And Roll Radio News

Bruce Erik Smallwood (all our newspeople had middle names, whether they did or not!) once said of the local electric company, “Ready Kilowatt says his costs are up, so he’s going to have to (pregnant pause, then with inflection) up yours!

Back when I was in radio at WPEN in Philadelphia, we had a real ‘rock and roll’ news department. Our newsmen (and women) made sure their copy was always snappy with lots of alliteration and plays on words.

Our news presence would never have been characterized as serious.

Bruce Erik Smallwood (all our newspeople had middle names, whether they did or not!) once said of the local electric company, “Ready Kilowatt says his costs are up, so he’s going to have to (pregnant pause, then with inflection) up yours!”

We were good, but we were posers compared to CKLW, a station licensed to Windsor, Ontario, but really serving Detroit. Recently, I was sent a link for a story about CK’s newsroom, which I thought I’d post here.

If you were a radio fan in to 70s, you’ll enjoy this.

The Long Journey Ends

This is it. Today is my last ‘in-a-row’ day at the TV station.

It’s funny. I love my job, but after working 20 of 21 days, I’m ready to leave it for a little while. My short term goal is to lay back and do nothing. I’m not sure that’s in the cards.

When you forecast the weather, it’s tough to get away from it. This afternoon I got calls from my friend Farrell, flying from Palm Springs, CA to Warsaw, Poland via Chicago.

Chicago… December… Doh!

He made his connection and is sipping champagne somewhere over the murky Atlantic on LOT Airlines Flight 2.

My sister, brother-in-law, niece and her husband weren’t so lucky. They called from DTW (Detroit Wayne County), on their way from Ft. Lauderdale to Milwaukee.

Again: Detroit… December… hello!

MKE was closed for plowing and their flight was cancelled! Later, Detroit would get a taste of winter.

While I was answering some weather question, my niece (who I easily could have dropped as an infant) made a snide comment about my forecasting abilities.

God is good. She’s stuck in Detroit atoning for her sins.

Snow is coming here Sunday night. I intend on observing while wearing pajamas.

Blogger’s addendum: Farrell, upon arrival at Frederic Chopin Airport in Warsaw, sent this correction:

Thank you for including me in your blog entry. It’s always fun to see my name in print!

I’d like to make one small correction, while commending you on your PinPoint (TM) forecast. Over the “murky Atlantic,” I was sipping Chateauneuf du Pape, which is the most famous Cotes du Rhone wine in France. It was delicious.

How Do They Know It’s Us?

Helaine is out-of-town for a few days. She left from Hartford this morning.

Yesterday afternoon we spent about twenty minutes, including a call to Southwest, trying to ascertain if food was as explosive (and restricted by the TSA) as mouthwash or toothpaste.

It is not.

She left Bradley and flew to BWI Airport outside Baltimore. Terminal B arrival. Terminal A departure.

Southwest flies to Houston’s Hobby Airport’s (I wish it were professional as opposed to a hobby&#185), and this particular flight went to Gate 50. Yes, there are gate numbers higher, but none more remote.

How do they always know we’re coming to make it as far as is humanly possible? They do, you know.

A few years ago, when it was a United hub, we changed planes in Denver. We literally walked the walk between their two farthest gates. It was like taking the tour of DEN!

Another night, changing at Detroit’s Wayne County Airport (DTW if you’re checking your baggage tags) we were so far away, with so little time, I slipped some money to a person driving one of those long motorized carts and got chauffeured.

The terminal was so crowded, I’m still not sure we ran someone down. I closed my eyes except when I was staring down my watch. We got to the gate in the nick of time… well, it would have been if the flight hadn’t been delayed.

Back in my SciFi Channel days I changed planes in Minneapolis. I was talking on the cell phone walking slowly to my gate – 15. As I walked, I passed 19, 18, 17, 16, 31, 30, 29!

You’ve got to be kidding. They were out of order! I almost missed that plane.

Of course this is one reason I enjoy flying from Tweed New Haven Airport so much. There’s only one gate currently in use. Unfortunately, you can only fly to Philadelphia.

Actually, if more airlines would come in to New Haven, I’d promise not to kvetch about the walk.

&#185 – I know, Hobby was a Texas governor – Governor William Pettus Hobby. I just can’t resist cheap humor.

A380 Hype

The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, took to the skies on its maiden flight Wednesday. It is an immense plane flying through a sea of hype.

Each time I’ve seen a TV package or read an article about this plane there was always the mention of its ability to fly with a gym or casino or shops or something other than 800 of your closest friends, all with their knees pressed firmly up against their chests.

It’s true. This plane can bring these incredible amenities to the sky. It won’t happen, but it’s true.

I remember American Airlines first transcontinental flight of a Boeing 747 in 1970. There, in the piano bar, was Frank Sinatra, Jr. entertaining. Hey, you can have a lounge in a 747!

MGM Grand Air flew jets with private compartments and movie star treatment between LAX and JFK. Here’s a page showing what they offered. It’s similar to the Airbus claims. Of course MGM Grand Air went out of business years ago..

When was the last time you hopped aboard a plane and found a lounge act or a private sitting room? Hell, when was the last time you hopped aboard and found food?

Any plane can be outfitted any way. There are 737s equipped for private transportation. The one pictured on the left looks pretty comfy. Wave some cash at Boeing or Airbus or any airplane manufacturer and the world is your oyster.

Unfortunately in the real world, air travel is a commodity. People shop by price and the price of flying in an airplane filled with anything other than seats is out of the question for most of us.

Last weekend at the wedding in Atlanta, I met people who traveled from Connecticut to Atlanta via Detroit! Delta has non-stops, but Northwest via DTW was a lot cheaper&#185. Price wins.

I’m not sure why Airbus has gone to such great lengths to tout a level of service few, if any, of us will ever see. Maybe it’s because they don’t want us talking about how long it will take to get on and off the A380 with 800 of your closest friends? Who wants to think about how much time it will take before 800 sets of baggage hit the carousel?

Air service is not returning to the suit and tie days of the 50s, 60s and 70s. This is going to end up a huge cattle car in the sky. Just pray it’s efficient enough to allow fares to stay as low as they are.

&#185 – I find it curious that Northwest can undercut Delta’s non-stop price considering the costs involved in flying extra miles, additional crew and aircraft time plus the expense of transferring passengers and their baggage.

Let’s Talk Weather

I am not home. I am not on TV. I have not been compiling or presenting the forecast. Is that perfectly clear?


FormName: Geoff Fox, Storm Team 8

Name: Gil *****

Subject: nice call

EmailAddress: *******

City: New Hartford

State: CT

Zip Code: 06057

Comments: Great call yesterday on the 60 degrees and windy.

It’s high noon here, 36 degrees, and dead calm.

So, how do you respond to that? I’m not sure myself. It is an interesting part of my job I never expected. Here’s a guy who is p.o.’ed at my for a forecast I never laid my eyes on.

That damn Geoff!

As long as we’re talking weather, Florida has been phenomenal. There have been a few brief sprinkles, and today was mainly cloudy, but it’s been warm with acceptable levels of humidity.

I lived here 35 years ago. Back then people would laugh at the northerners when we’d see their winter weather predicaments. After this past hurricane season there is no more laughing at other people’s climatological misfortunes.

This hurricane season was a rude awakening. There are few who live near here who remember the last time a hurricane actually struck. It’s not the kind of thing you ever forget.

Back when I lived in the West Palm Beach area, I was friendly with another radio disk jockey. His name was John Matthews. He’s a few years older, but our careers were on a similar path.

Back then I was hopping from station to station. John was doing mornings at WEAT, a station owned by eccentric gazillionaire John D. MacArthur&#185. We were both out-of-towners in a strange and, at that time, small southern city. We hung together.

John was neat, organized and mature. I was sloppy, disorganized and immature. In his apartment, everything was in its place. In my apartment everything was all over the place. Little has changed.

I remember John as a talented amateur cartoon artist. He would send letters back home to his family in the suburbs of Detroit. The entire envelope would be a flowing, interconnected cartoon. Sometimes, even the stamp was incorporated into his drawing.

As John grew up, he became a TV weatherman. He did it first, long before I figured out it was a pretty good gig. He left West Palm Beach for a while and headed back to Detroit… and came back.

I told John I was in town and this afternoon headed up to WPEC Channel 12, where he works. They’re the CBS station.

We talked a while. I tried to show him some tricks on his weather graphics computer (it is 2 versions behind the current version, so what I tried didn’t work).

Before long I was showing him pictures of my family and he showed me pictures of his. This one small act would have been so foreign to us in 1970, yet now it is so appropriate. We are family men – me in spite of myself.

I’m glad to see John doing well. Glad to see that just because he’s older, he doesn’t have to look old.

I don’t get to see John every single time I’m here, but I try to. This was a good way to spend the afternoon.

&#185 – If you’ve watched PBS and seen shows underwritten by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – that’s him. He made his big money owning Bankers Life and Casualty of Des Moines.

Watching the Eagles at the Bar

This is two out of three weeks now. Helaine and I have become ‘regulars’ at Eli’s where the bar is ringed with TV sets showing satellite delivered football feeds.

We decided, so we’d get a good seat, to go at 12:30 for the 1:00 PM start. Maybe we could have gone a little later, but not much. The place filled up pretty quickly with groups of fans clustered near individual sets and games.

To our right a group of Detroit fans watched, cheered, and complained, as the Lions played . When Detroit lost on a botched extra point with a few seconds to go, they were crestfallen. As fans they have lived a life built on heartbreak.

As ways to spend an afternoon go, this is pretty good. Within a few minutes of sitting Helaine ordered a soda and I had some coffee. Then as the game began, so did the food!

Actually, this allows me to question the whole economics of football at a bar. There’s no doubt we got our money’s worth. The food was good. We were thrilled to watch the Eagles. Would it be cheaper over the long run to drop cable and just get DirecTV and the NFL package?

The problem becomes my high speed Internet package. The cable company would ramp up its cost if that was the only service I bought from them – and I’m not about to get my Internet access from anyone else right now.

Something to ponder before next season.

The Eagles’ game was painful to watch. The Eagles went up 6-0 early. The Eagles scored a touchdown but David Akers, who is to kicking as FedEx is to packages, failed to deliver. It was 7-6 a few minutes later, and Dallas stayed ahead most of the way.

One of the Eagles star receivers, Todd Pinkston, dropped another ball in what seemed like a case of hearing footsteps. If, all of a sudden, he’s lost his nerve, that’s troublesome. Then, all star receiver Terrell Owens went down with ankle problems. It’s too early to know how serious that injury is.

Toward the end the Eagles scored to go ahead, and did win. But it was an ugly win for a team that has been a dominating force in football.

Going into this game the Eagles had so little more to gain by winning that a performance like this goes down as a moral loss as much as a “W.”

Next week they’re playing on Monday Night Football. Helaine can watch at home. I will watch at work. We’re out of the bar scene for one week.

Rumble in Auburn Hills

I missed it – but no one else in the newsroom did. We were between our 10 and 11 PM newscasts. People were getting ready and TV’s were on. A few sports fans were watching Indiana and Detroit play at The Palace at Auburn Hills… and then the screaming began.

The screaming was taking place in the newsroom. I’ll get to Detroit in a minute.

A TV newsroom is an interesting place. First, everyone is sensitized to the news (obviously). You don’t want to get beaten on a story. You don’t want to miss anything. So, if something is going on… on TV… and the word gets out, everyone snaps to it.

That’s what the screaming was all about.

Within a few minutes we had enough video cut to put it on the air with an explanation of what went on. We were pretty fast and thorough. But, the story is much more complex.

I have watched the video dozens of times. My first reaction was to blame the players. Certainly the NBA did, with four players suspended. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits and probably arrests.

However, one day later, I’m not so sure it’s all the fault of the players. This is not to say the players are without culpability. There are no circumstances under which the players should be in the stands. And, I have trouble feeling sympathy for well tuned, physically immense, athletes punching smaller, weaker fans – even in self defense.

There are at the minimum two questions that need to be asked. Where was the venue’s security? Is there a relationship between the alcohol served to fans and this aggression?

I have read a few columns, including Mike Lupica’s in the Daily News, that seem to remove the players from blame. I won’t agree with that. But, it’s not as simple as looking at players like Ron Artest (who I had no respect for prior to this event) and calling them thugs.

This isn’t about the poverty which is endemic in Detroit. The game was played in Auburn Hills in front of an affluent audience who payed a great deal to see the game.

Getting to the bottom of this… coming up with solutions… will not happen quickly or come easily. Regardless of what the courts say, this is about more than just the actions of individuals.

Blogger’s note – This entry was begun Saturday night and completed early Sunday morning. As it turned out, even when I began to write, it was much too difficult to get my arms around. In fact, it is more than possible I will later rethink what I have just written. Don’t be fooled by the video you’ve seen. This is very complex. Deep thought is required.

Aurora Borealis

The phone rang this afternoon. It was a woman who had been spending some time on She said they had reported tonight might be a good night to see the Aurora Borealis. There had been a CME, a coronal mass ejection, from the surface of the Sun. That would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field causing an eerie glow.

A few times a year I’ll let people know the aurora might make an appearance and I am mostly wrong. Auroras are more likely to come when I say nothing! Obviously, they are very difficult to predict. I wish that wasn’t so.

I have only seen a strong aurora once. It was sometime in the early 70s. I was living in North Olmsted, Ohio and working in Cleveland at WGAR radio. I remember my friend Joel (who is now the copter guy in Detroit) was visiting from Pittsburgh.

When we first saw the luminescent curtain in the northern sky, I thought it was neat. As time went on, I got worried. The truth is, there’s no danger from an aurora and I knew that, even then. But the curtain of light was so weird, so unusual, you couldn’t help taking pause. And, over time, it looked like it was undulating toward us. Probably an optical illusion of some sort.

There’s a theory I have that we didn’t see the aurora earlier tonight because I was so well equipped to show it – some sort of Murphy’s Law for television. We had four cameras on distant rooftops to point and the chopper was flying in the cloudless skies over Hartford.

Maybe next time. Maybe later tonight. You never know.