Weather channel vs Direct TV– stray thoughts and a bit of personal experience.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t say much about this dust-up between these two. In truth I don’t have a horse in this race because my landlord has U-Verse here, and that’s what I use to connect to the Internet– and I rarely watch TWC these days.

A couple of weeks back I did have occasion to watch TWC in hopes of getting local weather. I was in a motel room in Lebanon, Indiana (a Northern suburb of Indianapolis, just so’s you know where to look). I had just had a go-around of getting my van unstuck in the parking lot, and it was kind of important to know what the weather was likely to do there that night. More snow would be bad, so would undue warming since it would make the snow turn to mush and make it much harder to get out the next morning.

I got a non-stop “Freaks of Nature” marathon. Not a weather forecast to be had. Not at the top or bottom of the hour, not “on the eights” like they once used to do, not any weather at all on the weather channel. Unless you counted the “Freaks of Nature” guys skiing on a mountain as “weather”.

Now they’re having a dust-up with DirectTV and trying to tell us that DirectTV is endangering our lives by not carrying TWC anymore. Excuse me, but can TWC offer proof of this?? That night in Lebanon, it would have been a little hard to make a case that anybody would miss TWC’s expert reporting of weather– since it didn’t actually exist. I had to wait until the next morning when a local station had the weather– NOT TWC, but a local Indianapolis station. TWC was still carrying “Freaks of Nature”.

So– do any of the people who use DirectTV actually miss TWC, or are they getting their weather reports elsewhere? My suspicion is that between local stations and upstarts that are jumping in to replace TWC, people are getting the information they need elsewhere, and TWC can take their reality-show glut and go disappear.


I’ve had a more positive experience elsewhere. Wisconsin’s rest-stops are plugged into DTN, and you can follow the weather at the rest stops so you can know what you’re running into as you travel. This past weekend, I had to drive to Valley City, North Dakota, and the Wisconsin rest stops allowed me to know about the approaching Alberta Clipper, and to know that I would have enough time to do my job, get turned around and make it back home before the Clipper got here. DTN did a fine job, and I could seriously wish all the states had it available at all Interstate rest-stops. Wisconsin has it, Illinois is spotty, Iowa has something that didn’t work well last time I was there but it seems that it’s their own system and not DTN, nobody else that I know of has it. When you find a rest-stop that has accurate weather reports and radar imaging for your route, it’s a Godsend for sure. If you know that it’s going to get bad, you can choose to hole up right where you’re at– you’ll be safe at the rest-stop– or if you see that conditions are passable you can choose– with some knowledge of the weather ahead– to continue on. I can’t stress enough how important that information can be when you’re on the road.

So: TWC has so far failed to make a case that their expert reporting of the weather will be missed, and if by chance DirectTV doesn’t carry it again it will be replaced by other stations that– oh, I know you won’t believe this– actually report the weather. On time, when you need it.


Another day of sitting…

The Polar Vortex has gotten the entire American Midwest in its icy grip and reports I read from all over– I’m an expedited driver and I’m on Expediters Online– show that travel has not been a good idea anywhere within five states from here (here being the Western ‘Burbs of Chicago). So, sitting here reading what other people write and thinking a bit.

First, Global Warming. Now, before anybody starts jumping down my throat let me say straight up this is my opinion, based on my observations in “looking out the window” and “going outside and shoveling snow” and of course following road conditions in a multi-state area for professional reasons. OK. It’s COLD out there. Chicago got down to -16F this week, right now it’s only just above zero F and it won’t get terribly warm for some time. In other words, it’s the weather we usually get sometime in January in Chicago. Happens every year. I would note that it got colder than it has in years past– sticking my nose out the door and getting it near froze off tells me these things– so right now my personal observations run counter to the AGW propaganda that I’ve been hearing about.

Come to think of it, Chicago summers have run milder recently than I remember from when I was a kid, too. We get the occasional 90+ F degree days, but I do remember a year when we reached 100 for several days and no rain so we had grass fires that had to be put out, and backyard barbecues were definitely a no-no. Late ’70s, early ’80s if I remember right, the winters back then were more severe and the summers hotter– so I would say based on personal observation that we’ve moderated a bit if anything, though this winter looks to be shaping up to be colder and snowier than years past.

I’ve been following the hapless “scientists” on that ship in the Antarctic on the WUWT blog, and I have to wonder if any of those geniuses ever read history in their lives. They might have learned of expeditions where men lost ships and some lost their lives– the Antarctic is not one of the most forgiving places on the planet, even when you go well prepared both in equipment and knowledge of the conditions it can catch you and make you dead, and these guys on this latest expedition didn’t seem to be prepared at all for what they found. Here’s a clue: Sea ice can trap and crush your ship. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. You think you’ve got everything covered, then the wind shifts and closes your way of escape, and even with the most powerful engines in the toughest icebreaker on the planet you can find yourself in trouble you can’t get out of without help. These guys didn’t have the most powerful engines on the toughest icebreaker, what they had was a ship that had been toughened against ice but still would not have qualified if they had really given the issue the serious thought that polar expeditions should demand.



Shut down by the storm..

I’m shut down by the storm today, even though it IS possible to get around in the Chicago Metro Area it has been slippery and cold– and once you get beyond the Metro Area and get out into open country wind-driven snow makes travel hazardous at best. So– a bit of filler.

I’ve been reading several other blogs here, I see potential for this one once I get my “sea legs” and begin publicizing the thing. I’ve held off up to now because there hasn’t been enough put together by me to justify going all-out. That will change in the near future because it’s part of the plan, and now with ten posts to my credit there begins to be a base to build on. I do not expect, rationally, to be able to keep up with the likes of WUWT, (that guy is remarkably busy, and if his blog isn’t making him some money it’s because he doesn’t want to) but some of the other blogs I see here and have been following– I’m following about half a dozen of you at present– are well within range of somebody I can keep up with.

My thoughts on the matter are that it is high time I start reflecting my faith– I’m a member of the A of G and therefore have Pentecostal leanings– in my writings so expect to see more of that. I can attest at this time that God has seen me through some tight spots, and through reading both the Bible and books that I pick up elsewhere it appears that walking by faith is not a simple thing so it’s time to really examine this. To that end, I will of course seek education and the Face of God, because this whole thing originates with Him in any case.