Thursday, March 26, 2015

Weather and cable

Well, spring is really here. We had the first big "incoming cold front meets up with warm humid air mass" event. (This is kind of like, I don't know, seeing the two most rabid fringe-y supporters of opposing political parties meet up. And about as ugly. And you still need to pick up all the broken twigs afterward)

The hail woke me up. It was midnight. It sounded like it was trying to bash in the windows (I have screens, so it would have to be really gargantuan hail to do that). The hail sounded very loud and the weather people had been talking about "golf ball up to tennis ball sized hail" (I don't know, but I think a tennis-ball-sized hailstone could punch through a roof). So I got up and put the weather radar on; the line of storms was passing right through but after that it was quiet.

Once things subsided a little I opened the front door and peeked out.

The hail was, at most, pea-sized. It just sounded crazy loud.

We do get weather radar on our cable system. It used to be called NEXRAD but they've since changed the system and I don't know if it's that any more. It's a help, because it's faster than turning on the computer to look up the local radar, and ever since The Weather Channel morphed into a virtually-all-reality-shows channel, it can be really hard to find weather radar on them. (I think they were showing a re-run of "Prospectors" at the time I checked the local radar).

(If I had a very large amount of money I wanted to possibly throw away - because I have no idea if anyone other than I would want this - I would start up two new cable channels: "Simply Weather" and "Simply News." They would be as advertised. "Simply Weather" would be 24-hour-a-day weather forecasts. Each region of the country would get its own forecast at least once an hour (so it could be, for example: New England at the top of the hour, Mid-Atlantic at 10 after, Great Lakes at 20 after) and just repeat it, with the small variations needed as the weather changes, around the clock. And "Simply News" would be just that - half-hour broadcasts of world news. No commentators, no extended programs speculating on missing persons or forensics and no stupid celebrity news. (If a famous person died, that would be mentioned, but there wouldn't be the idiotic, breathless, "BREAKING NEWS: Kim Kardashian changed her hair color!" stuff). Again, I don't know if anyone else wants a channel like that but when it's 8 pm and I kind of want to know what's going on in the world, I have to go to the computer for that because, as far as I can tell, all the news channels have gone to either commentary programs or something like "Forensic Files."

Yes, there'd be a lot of repeats. But considering that most folks don't turn a news channel on and leave it on all day, that wouldn't matter so much. Or Simply News and Simply Weather could be a single channel, with the first half of the hour devoted to weather (with a scroll of news headlines) and the second half devoted to news (with a scroll of weather information)

There does seem to be a process of, let's call it "rot" in the absence of a better term, that seems to happen to cable channels - they establish with high ideals about programming being informational and educational (Discovery Health, back when it was that, used to have CME units for medical personnel some mornings) but apparently that doesn't sell ad time, so gradually it spirals down (and now, what Discovery Health has become has shows like "Sex Sent Me To the ER" or "Here, look at this person with this weird medical deformity.") And don't get me started on TLC, formerly known as The Learning Channel.

And yeah, I admit I like some lowbrow stuff - I enjoy some of the seriously stupid comedy movies that are out there. And "Untold Stories of the ER" is one of my guilty-pleasures shows*. But the thing is: I don't want that on EVERY SINGLE CHANNEL and that's the problem with cable; it seems like a channel starts out wanting to be unique but then it sees the new designer jeans the other channels have and it decides it wants them too. And then a couple of the channels get new "Farrah Fawcett flip" haircuts and so all the other cable channels need them, too. (And yes. I am very consciously using the metaphor of a conformist junior high of the late 1970s because that's what it's like - the "popular kids" get something, and then EVERYONE wants it, instead of being content to be their own weird selves)

*Because of the hokeyness of some of the re-enactments, and also the sheer implausibility of some of the situations. I SUPPOSE they happened, but.....for anyone familiar with the show, I will say "Campstove Stuffing" as an example of one of the most, "Even a person who's stoned wouldn't be THAT stupid, would they?" things.

1 comment:

CGHill said...

The hail that punched through my roof in 2010 was slightly bigger than golf balls, and those balls descended for half an hour before finally moving on.