Tag Archives: The Weather Channel

The new ‘shortly’

Greetings from the other side of Hurricane Irene.

I won’t judge whether the exclamation points and all-cap warnings The Weather Channel threw around last weekend were warranted, because Irene certainly punctuated her path across Caribbean and American territory. Those who remain without electrical power have every right to use every symbol on the keyboard to express themselves.

At our house, we just disposed of the 40 pounds of ice we socked away for the occasion, and are all too grateful to not have needed it. In fact, we were gleefully fortunate to not have lost more than a few pesky tree limbs.

Would I seem terribly ungrateful if I griped a wee bit about the 40 hours we had no television or Internet? I thought so.

Then how about if I just shared some innocent observations I made during that 40-hour period?

  1. I am far more addicted to TV and Internet than I ever imagined.
  2. I’m not proud of this.
  3. The word “momentarily” is still widely misused. Hasn’t corporate America gotten it yet that it is not reassuring to hear that service will be restored momentarily? (I’d prefer it stay on a while.)
  4. The word “shortly” is subjective, but by no stretch does it mean 40 hours.
  5. Comcast customer service representatives are unprepared to answer the question, “How much longer will you use ‘shortly’?” Based on the awkward silence following my question, I kept my mouth shut about “momentarily.”
  6. When you call Comcast and press 2 to report an Internet outage, the recording suggests, if you do not care to continue to hold during this period of heavy call volume, that “you may also visit us on the Web at www.comcast.net for assistance.” Now why didn’t I think of that?
  7. When, following your call to the help desk, Comcast calls you back with an automated customer service survey, and you press 4 to indicate your call pertained to a disruption of service, you are told that they do not recognize this response and the survey ends there.
  8. My days as a loyal Comcast customer are over. Unless I find a friendly and reliable competitor, I’ll hold my nose and go with that other big company.
  9. The new Comcast—XFINITY—needs a new jingle. It’s not fun for me. Come on everyone, let’s dump XFINITY.
  10. It’s time to get back to work; I’m backed up by about 40 hours.
  

How many Moments are in 40 hours?

Momentarily? I hope not.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Rants and Raves, Technology and Social Media

Panic attack

Mark Twain was known to have said, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.”

As Hurricane Irene barrels toward the United States, the weather is all anyone is talking about. Someone, do something.

Usually, The Weather Channel is fairly tempered in its wording. Forecasters take such flak for both underestimating and over-hyping conditions that they must walk a fine line between issuing timely alerts and not inciting panic, even when conditions are urgent. By necessity, they choose their words cautiously.

In all the years I’ve followed The Weather Channel on weather.com, however, I’ve never read such strong language as I have these last 24 hours:

“extraordinary impacts”
“very dangerous”
“serious and multi-hazard threat”
“rare potency”
“particularly threatening situation”
“dire threat”

They’ve even created a new threat level category: EXTREME. All caps.

In fact, the site is using ALL CAPS and exclamation points all over the place! As drama goes, that’s the punctuation equivalent of Al Roker twisting in the wind.

Meteorologists caution that Irene will impose severe conditions on the major metropolitan areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including Norfolk, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford and Boston. “This hurricane has the potential to produce flooding rains, high winds, downed trees (on houses, cars, power lines) and widespread power outages,” the site warns.

One troubling aspect of this looming disaster is that, not only must East-coasters prepare for damage and loss, but we also have to brace ourselves for ridicule from the rest of the country. California is still snickering over our little 5.8 earthquake, while red state residents are blanketing Facebook and Twitter with stupid quake jokes about policymakers.

I seriously hope Irene has a change of heart and a change of direction. No one would look forward to singing “Goodnight Irene” more than beach dwellers and East Coast city folk. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to dash out for an emergency supply of Perrier and camembert.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, News, Technology and Social Media

Sunny in Orlando

We know someone who tells people he meets that he’s from “Orlando, Florida.” I always wonder to myself why he doesn’t just say “Orlando.” I mean, are people going to think he’s from Orlando, Oklahoma? It turns out that they might. Or Orlando, Kentucky, or Orlando, West Virginia.

I snicker when I hear people—usually ones who don’t travel very much—refer to “Paris, France,” or “London, England,” or places where the country is implied. Everyone knows Paris is in France; you really don’t need to say it. Or do you? There are at least 10 cities in the United States called Paris.

I do travel a lot, and I consult Weather.com before I go anywhere. The Weather Channel’s website has an auto-search feature that, when the name of a city is typed in, offers a choice of the top cities bearing that name.

Going to Philadelphia? Don’t mis-click, or you’ll get the weather for Philadelphia, Missouri, or Mississippi or New York or Tennessee.

Just a little trivia for geography buffs from some of my recent searches (or perhaps geography buffs already know this):

Charlotte: In addition to North Carolina, Charlotte is in Arkansas, Vermont, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Texas.

Dallas: Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia

Atlanta: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and New York

Sacramento: Kentucky, New Mexico and Pennsylvania

Detroit: Alabama, Maine, Oregon and Texas

Phoenix: Maryland, New York and Oregon

Denver: Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania

Raleigh: Illinois, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia

Miami: Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia

Richmond: California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan and Minnesota

Minneapolis: Kansas and North Carolina

Syracuse: North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah

Well, I’d better go check the weather in San Antonio. Oops, not New Mexico.

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Filed under Technology and Social Media, Travel