Wednesday, August 06, 2008

TV coverage of Fast Eddie worse than the storm itself

Ken Hoffman is dead solid perfect:

1. With the possible exception of the new TV commercial with Big Oil whining that they're really making very little money (yeah, right, and Hooters doesn't want you to notice their waitresses), nothing on TV is funnier than our local stations promising calm, reasoned coverage of approaching storms and hurricanes ... and then hysterically screaming, "The sky is falling! Run for your lives! Women, children and weathermen first!"

2. The 10 p.m. news: Channel 11 went to its bullpen and dusted off Dr. Neil Frank as Tropical Storm Eduardo "inches toward" the Gulf Coast. Anchorman Greg Hurst said Dr. Neil would "put everything in perspective" for us. I wonder how Channel 11's chief weatherman Gene Norman feels about Dr. Neil showing up for the big story? It's like Norman quarterbacks the team the whole season, but Dr. Neil is brought out of retirement for the Super Bowl.

3. Channel 13 weatherman Tim Heller predicted winds of 50-60 mph when Edouard touches down. During Rita, Heller looked like a kid who lost his puppy when the hurricane missed us. It would have been his first big story since arriving in Houston. So it was slightly understandable. ...

4. Whoa, Channel 2 just headlined a story "Survival Checklist." Survival? That's a little hysterical, isn't it? The weatherman said the storm surge would be 3-4 feet. That's not life-threatening, that's rad surfing, dude.

5. Do all the stations do a story from the same Home Depot, or do they spread the free plugs around?

6. I'm watching the Astros game live from Wrigley Field. The weather is much, much worse in Chicago. Lance Berkman just saw a lightning bolt and tucked tail and ran into the dugout. He'll never be a TV reporter. No guts, no ratings.

7. (11 p.m.) Channel 11's Vincente Arenas is on Galveston Island. He just held up a gizmo that measures wind speed. It said 8 mph. You know that ceiling fan at the West Alabama Ice House that gently stirs the air? That's 10 mph. ... Have you seen the billboards for McDonald's new Southern-style Chicken Sandwich? The sign says, "available seven days a week, including Sundays." Hey, if you're going to flat-out steal Chick-fil-A's sandwich, right down to the pickles, you might want to show some respect and not mock Chick-fil-A for giving its employees Sunday off.

8. (After midnight.) At the risk of making a prediction that could backfire, especially if Edouard strengthens and causes pain to our area, I'm saying the storm will be nothing but a heavy rain. I like to err on the side of danger. Caution is for amateurs. ... Why don't my neighbors turn off their sprinklers? It's going to pour buckets Tuesday.

I walked the dog about 2:30 a.m. and it was warm, muggy, and as still and quiet as you would expect it to be at two-thirty in the morning. The storm coverage anchors had all turned in at midnight -- saving their sputtering for the 4 a.m. flash report, I presume -- so there was the usual nada (infomercials) on the tube. I surfed the net until I got sleepy again at 5, sliding off comfortably in the awareness that we weren't going to be endangered no matter what the talking heads on my teevee said.

It was a nice day off. I'll take a hurricane like that any time.

No comments: