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.

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

Do Predictors Forget?

I make weather forecasts every day. My forecasts only go out a week or so, but the first few days are the most important and the ones people remember. I don’t make long range forecasts.

When I’m wrong, especially on critical days, people remember. When you make long lead forecasts people tend not to remember as much.

AccuWeather press release: “The Northeast is staring down the barrel of a gun,” said Joe Bastardi, Chief Forecaster of the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center. “The Northeast coast is long overdue for a powerful hurricane, and with the weather patterns and hydrology we’re seeing in the oceans, the likelihood of a major hurricane making landfall in the Northeast is not a question of if but when.”

Did AccuWeather’s release affect anyone? It came out 3/20. On 4/2 USA Today printed this AP article:

PORTLAND, Maine (AP)

How I Became A Maine-iac

Here’s the setup. I had vacation time I needed to take (and there’s more where that came from). So did my friend Bob from North Carolina. Neither of us wanted to spend much money, but he had a plan.

If we went on vacation to Maine, he could do some work for a radio station that carries his syndicated morning show, and we could visit Maine on the cheap. Anyway, he loves Maine and is very attached to the radio station in Bangor where he’s been heard for 10 years.

We made our plans, such as they were.

We’d drive up to Maine on Sunday and stay until Wednesday. I needed to be back in time to hand off the camera, “Clicky,” to Helaine and Stef who were going to a concert.

In return for Bob’s on-air visit, the station would arrange a place for us to stay. This was the first in what would be a string of incredible luck and good fortune that marked our trip.

Bob flew up from Charlotte, and we left midday Sunday. Though my car’s a convertible, you can’t drop the top when the trunk’s full – and it was full. That’s OK. Our 415 mile, six hour fifteen minute, trip was a little long for that much wind noise. And, as it turned out, once we got to Maine, the top stayed down!

We drove through Connecticut, into Massachusetts and then onto the Mass Pike. We exited near Worcester and then headed northeast into the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. From there, we paralleled the coast, without seeing it, on I-95.

Maine is a big state. Once you’re north of Portland, there is little but trees to see. We watched for moose!

Off the Interstate, we drove east toward Mt. Desert Island. It sounds foolish when you first say it, but it’s pronounced “deh-ZERT.”

The topography of Mt. Desert Island was set into motion as the Earth’s tectonic plates collided to form mountains. It’s only in the last tens of thousands of years that the true lay of the land was set by the advance and retreat of glaciers.

It’s an island – you expect to see water. There’s more than you expect! The island was scoured by glaciers, which formed lots of lakes, harbors and Eastern United States’ only fjord!

Our home was in the town of Southwest Harbor. More succinctly, it was on Southwest Harbor.

Because of the shape of the harbor, it has wide tide swings. High and low tide can sometimes be separated by 10-15 feet! For the tidally deprived, that’s a difference in depth. The actual water’s edge can, and does, retreat by hundreds of feet.

Our landlord/hosts were Mary Jo and Rhonda. They own the house we were in, one next door and another home well inland. They could not have been friendlier or more gracious.

Let me stop here and say, everyone was friendly and gracious. This wasn’t because I’m TV-boy, or because Bob has been on the radio for a decade. People on Mt. Desert Island and everywhere else we were in Maine were just nice.

The perfect example came later in the trip. We were on a tiny island – only 75 full time residents. I was in the general store looking for Chapstick. No luck. As I was about to walk out, a woman approached me, handed me one, and said it was in her purse, unopened.

I offered to pay for it, but she said (and this is an exact quote), “It’s my good deed for the day.” To me, that one sentence typified Mainers.

Our house was interesting, in that it was bigger inside than out. Built like a boat, it had slightly low ceilings and no wasted space.Upstairs there were three bedrooms. The two Bob and I used each had large picture windows that opened onto the harbor.

The bathroom was compact as well. I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but I’ve never been in a shower so small you had to be under the water at all times.

After unpacking, we headed to Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac is inside Acadia National Park, and at 1,500 feet above sea level, offers an amazing view in all directions.

While we waited for the Sun to set, we looked around. The air was clear and clean and richly blue. Below us were Bar Harbor and a number of coastal islands. Holland America’s Amsterdam was leaving port, continuing its New England/Canada itinerary.

We left the mountain and drove into Bar Harbor. With only 5,000 or so permanent residents, it is definitely a tourist town. However, don’t think honky tonk.

This is Mt. Desert Island. There are no 7-Eleven’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks or any other franchise or (shudder) big box stores. It is 1950s America as depicted on sitcoms – all white (97.88%), all Christian, all industriously hearty.

We had to get up early (for me) on Monday. Bob was going on the radio from a natural foods supermarket over 50 miles away. This would be the beginning of the “Fatiguing of Geoff.”

Getting up early is no problem. It’s the getting to bed early part I can’t hack. Day-by-day that took its toll.

The appearance was Bob’s. I was just an appendage. Still, I was impressed with how he handled himself and the genuine affection of the listeners who came by.

On Sunday’s arrival I had discovered my laptop’s PC card slot was no longer functioning. That meant no Internet! There was, however, an Internet Cafe in the market. This would be my only time online during the vacation.

It’s tough to remember each and every thing we did, and in the proper order, but we visited nearly every inch of the island and its three main towns: Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor.

We also ate lobster. I’m not talking one meal here. We ate lobster twice each day – lunch and dinner.

Lunch was a lobster roll. Think chicken salad on a hot dog bun, but substitute lobster for the chicken! Dinner was boiled lobster.

It doesn’t take long to understand lobster is a major employer on Mt. Desert Island. It’s not some ‘photo op’ touristy thing. You see men, and at least one woman I saw, scurrying about on stubby lobster boats nearly every time you see water.

Lobster buoys, the makings of the prototypical Downeast Maine photo, are everywhere. Yes, they’re hung on walls and piled on docks, but any stretch of water deep enough for lobsters has hundreds, sometimes thousands of traps marked with buoys.

Though surrounded by water, Mt. Desert Island is not a bather’s paradise. The water is too damned cold, even during the height of the season, when it’s in the low 50&#176s!

Even if the water was warmer, there is only one sandy beach – Sandy Beach! The rest of the coast is speckled with large rock outcroppings, and crashing surf.

We spent part of one afternoon at Sandy Beach and Thunder Hole – both are in Acadia National Park. Thunder Hole is a natural rock formation which, when conditions are right, produces 30-40 foot tall columns of sea spray accompanied by thunderous booms.

Though Hurricane Florence was passing off to the east, and we came before and stayed through high tide, Thunder Hole was silent.

On Wednesday, our last day, we took the mail boat past the Bear Island Lighthouse to Islesford on Little Cranberry Island. This tiny community has a permanent population of 75.

At first, I thought it was neat to be an interloper in their little society. Then I thought, do they feel as if they’re zoo animals on display? Wherever reality lies, I felt welcome and I loved the island!

It is small enough to transverse on foot. Bob and I followed an unmarked road to a lonely stretch of rocky beach. We turned around and walked, cross island, to an art gallery.

It didn’t take long to figure out there was something strange about the island’s vehicles. Most homes had a car or truck parked outside – a very old car or truck.

When the island’s tiny, your car’s engine will never wear out. However, the exterior is another story. Exposed to salt air 24/7/365, the finish dims and sometimes rust pokes through.

This was a great trip with a great friend – a guy I met my first day as a professional broadcaster, over 35 years ago.

The trip itself was better than the sum of its parts. Yes, Maine is spectacularly beautiful – possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

It was more beautiful because the Sun was strong each day, the temperatures mild, the stars very bright. I might not have enjoyed it as much if it hadn’t cooperated with me. Still, that’s an outcome I didn’t have to worry about.

I shot over 1,000 photos on this trip. Some of them illustrate this entry. There are nearly 180 more in my online photo gallery. I hope you get a chance to take a peek.

What Hath AccuWeather Wrought

I was scrutinizing Drudge last night when I saw the headline.

I began to get upset. Then, I read AccuWeather’s release, which was headlined:

Threat of Major Hurricane Strike Grows for Northeast

AccuWeather.com Warns That “Weather Disaster of Historic Proportions” Could Strike as Early as This Year

The release went on to quote Joe Bastardi, one of AccuWeather’s meteorologists as saying:

“The Northeast coast is long overdue for a powerful hurricane.

That’s like saying a slot machine is overdue because it hasn’t paid out in a while. In statistics, the likelihood of a 100 year event doesn’t increase just because you’ve gone 99 years without seeing one.

I went to the weather bulletin board where I sometimes post and left this:

I read the AccuWeather release and my blood boiled. As far as I know, there’s no such thing as “overdue” in statistics. I’m assuming all their meteorologists, including Joe Bastardi, took statistics courses.

When people come up to me in the supermarket and say we hype the weather – they’re talking about stuff like this.

What AccuWeather missed – the real story – is, a Hurricane of ’38 scenario would create a civil catastrophe before it struck! Though they mention Providence as the storm’s focal point, the center actually struck nearly 100 miles west, in Milford, Connecticut.

The biggest damage was that far east because it was no longer a classic tropical system. First, it was moving at better than 60 mph (I’m doing this off the top of my head – allow a little leeway). It had also been over colder water and was probably transitioning to extratropical.

How would we warn for a storm which went from the Bahamas to New England in about a day, and whose damage would be so far east of the center? Hurricane Warnings from Atlantic City, NJ to Portland, ME? It boggles the mind.

Would we evacuate all of New England? Could we? Where would they go?

As it is, on a Sunday evening the Mass Pike backs up for miles at the I-84 exit. I-95 through most of Eastern Connecticut is 2-lanes in each direction, and the area just east of New Haven will be under construction for much of the next decade. That’s without all of Boston and Providence heading west.

But, back to AccuWeather. Is this like yelling fire in a crowded theater? I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t have put out the statement they put out, but that’s their choice to make.

I believe they’re honorable people. Joel Meyers certainly has a long and storied reputation and has been honored for his contributions to the public’s well being and safety.

I know folks at AccuWeather read this. I would like to see Joel personally revisit this particular statement. If this is how he really feels, fine.

My hope is, he’ll provide more specifics and less hyperbole.

So, there you have it. Yes – New England is vulnerable, but no more vulnerable today than it was last year at this time.

We need solid action to prepare, not hyperbole and scare tactics.