Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami in Japan, Worst on Weather Channel

You know, I had my opinions and my TV Viewing Habits proven to me to be true today.

This morning my neighbor let me know of the tragedy that hit Japan today.  She had told me that there was a large earthquake off the coast of Japan and that there as a massive Tsunami that made it there and was heading toward Hawaii.  After I got home, I turned on the news to view what there was on this event.

First I turned on the BBC World News.  Perfectly crisp, concise and factual coverage.  I have watched the BBC and listened to it all of my life.  If I am looking for news, it is the first place I go.  They showed what video footage they had and presented the information clearly...

After about a half hour it got repetitive unfortunately, so I started to channel surf.  First jumping to MSNBC which had on the Right Wing Revisionist Republican Propaganda Machine of Joe Scarborough railing about how terrible it was that Democrats exist and that they probably hate puppies and kittens and they are vile and the cause of all of the evil in the world. 

Can you tell I didn't stay there long? 

I jumped to CNN for more right wing propaganda.  Pretty much the same, although done by nameless puppets and talking heads instead of "Someone You Might Have Heard Of". 

I came to the conclusion quickly that finding alternate sources of factual information to the BBC was going to be very difficult in the right wing dominated morass that television "news" has become in the United States. 

I wasn't going to put on Fox News -  My Television would have exploded.

Seeing that the weather here turned markedly cold I wanted to see what the forecast was going to be for the week.  Unseasonably cool, highs in the low 70s.  South Florida in March.

That meant that I was on The Weather Channel.

Ok, I have watched The Weather Channel for years, ever since I first got my first cable subscription.  They started out only doing weather.  But that doesn't keep you watching for long, although there are some folks who are quite addicted to this.  Pretty radar maps, local forecasts, and reporters sent to Your Town can make for compelling video... For about a Half Hour.

It's been said that if you see Jim Cantore in your city, head for higher ground.

Well... Tuning into TWC in the morning means that you are in for a treat.  You get to watch Ken and Barbie try to pronounce hard words and try to make sentences that are actually coherent. 

By this I mean Abrams and Bettes.   Have you had the pleasure of watching this team?  It turned an international tragedy into a sitcom.  They were not hired for their intelligence, I am sure ... I think they were hired by how well they fill their clothes because their heads seemed about as empty as the stereotype can be.

I found myself laughing as these two clowns were making breathless predictions of dire and doom as the Tsunami was approaching.   Mind you, they weren't the only ones that were so dreadful.  In Alaska, Cindi Preller of the Alaska Tsunami Center was speaking about the first waves hitting the outer Aleutian Islands.  She needs to do a little fact checking because she was told that 2 1/2 feet of water hit the islands and that means that it was... um... uh... about 5 feet. 

Ok, Basic Math here.   A Meter is 39.37 inches.  Three feet, Three Inches.  A good rule of thumb is to take the height in feet, multiply by 12, add another 10 percent.   You could even say that 3 feet equal a meter - most Americans wouldn't have a clue and it would be closer.   Roughly a Meter is technically correct.

Am I being Pedantic?  I Don't Think So since this is a person who works with this sort of information as a living... Hey Cindi - Back to school with you.

So back to the whole craziness in the studio...

It turns out that as bad of a Stuffed Suit that Mike Abrams is, Stephanie Bettes is even more of a bobble head than Barbie can even dream to be.

Like the first talking Barbies said "Math is Hard (giggle)".

Thankfully most of the women I know are much more intelligent than that.

As we watched the web camera that was on Waikiki Beach, we were treated to Stephanie Bettes showing her intelligence again.  The Tsunami was predicted to arrive there at 8:07.  She insisted that that was EXACT.  She was watching the clock and once said "It's just 45 seconds until it arrives".  Ok, so you have a wave coming across the vast Pacific Ocean that was predicted to hit the Hawaiian Islands at 8:07am Eastern.  This means that it would BEGIN to effect the long Island Chain around then.  If you are on the South East side of the Island that you are on, it would have been later, North East would be sooner, and the further to the North East of the chain you'd get it faster.  This woman actually thought that it was going to happen as programmed.

A Mind is a Terrible thing to Lose.  By this time I was laughing at the TV.

Since it hadn't hit, she noticed that there were three people standing on the beach and got very annoyed by saying "That just seems very unsafe to me at this time" and kept repeating it.  Yes, There's a Tsunami coming, yes, it is unsafe, yes these people know about it but no you don't have to keep repeating it.  Being dazzled by a police helicopter looking for people on the beach at that time, she asked the Tropical Weather Expert what that could be. 

Here's a suggestion, Stephanie - You need a sedative.  Maybe it will help, now go play in the sand box or with your blocks.  We'll send Mark over shortly.

She clearly did not know what actually caused the Tsunami because she was asking this same expert whether another one would happen.  Yes, in geological time, somewhere in the world another undersea earthquake would happen, there will be another.  Since there hasn't been an earthquake in Japan since then, Thank God, there will not be another Tsunami following this one ... TODAY.

After laughing at this, I went back to doing my own thing.  Having Ken and Barbie, I mean Abrams and Bettes on the TV was a bit too much so I muted the TV and worked on a few web pages.  When I finished, I unmuted the sound in time to hear Jen Carfagno at the "Expert Desk" pronounce the King Kamehameha Hotel as the "Kammey Ha Ha Ha Hotel".  

You can learn for yourself how to pronounce that word and a bit about Hawaiian History at the above link...

I realize that these aren't the best and brightest at NBC and the Weather Channel, but please have someone on there who aren't able to turn a tragedy into a comedy event.

The reports of a Seven Foot Surge from the Tsunami in Hawaii was tragic enough, these folks should probably be asking questions more like "Do You Want Fries With That" or "Can I show You To Your Seat".  Having these two present information about an international tragedy seems highly misplaced.

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