I think what worries me most about the weather, as I saw it on tonight’s Téléjournal, isn’t that major cities on the west side of the country are farther east than they should be, but that the wind there is so strong it is repeatedly pushing Calgary into Edmonton.
It was really hot today, but that’s nothing compared to the forecast for next week, apparently:
CBC's Kenny Bodanis realizes he's made a typo in his weather forecast
One thing about putting your newscasts online is that the errors of live TV remain accessible long after they’ve aired. This is Kenny Bodanis (sitting, err, standing in for Frank Cavallaro), who accidentally added an extra digit to next Tuesday’s high during Tuesday’s weather segment on CBMT (fun starts about the 15-minute mark). He assures us it won’t actually be 234 degrees next Tuesday, though it might feel like it.
Then again, I have it on pretty good authority that the weather people just pull numbers out of nowhere for forecasts six and seven days ahead, so he could very well be right!
I dislike snow. Or at least I always complain about it. Snow means it’s cold and winter has officially arrived. On the other hand, I enjoy playing with snow, even when everything I wear is soggy afterwards.
The other thing I like about snow is the night sky after a snowfall. The city’s lights bounce off the bright, white sheet that has covered everything, then bounce off the low, white cloud, and scatter off the millions of little snowflakes falling to the ground. The result is an orange, almost purple sky that creates a strange middle ground between night and day.
Usually by the next night, the snow has finished falling, the streets have been plowed or the thin sheet has melted, and the clouds have dispersed. And night becomes dark once again.
I admit, I get a perverse pleasure out of people who are the creators of their own misfortune. Tragedies in the classical sense. Not necessarily causing death, but at least causing inconvenience. Hurricane Gustav created two examples of this, and the victims are our favourite punching bags: politicians and the media.
Of course, there was no rain the night of Obama’s acceptance speech, and the Democratic convention went off without a hitch. But the day after, as John McCain was announcing his vice-presidential pick, we start hearing about this hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast. Toward New Orleans. Three years almost to the day that Katrina struck.
The second example comes from our good friends at CNN. When Barack Obama announced his VP pick, CNN filled the airwaves with news and analysis. Responding to a viewer comment via Facebook (oh how the media has changed, folks), anchor Rick Sanchez says this on air:
By the way, I have to share this with you. It is from Sam. He says, Rick — this is on Facebook — I’m counting on you to do the same kind of coverage when McCain announces his vice president as you’re doing tonight when Barack Obama has announced his vice president. Sam, we’ve already made that decision. I can guarantee you we will.
No caveats, no ifs or buts, just a bold guarantee. Of course, neither CNN nor the other news networks are coming close to meeting that guarantee for the convention. Half the news about Sarah Palin was surrounded (literally) by hurricane updates, and the convention coverage is being threatened by it. Even the convention itself is changing plans at the last minute to deal with people (like President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal) who can’t speak.
I actually feel a bit bad for the Republicans. It’s not their fault this hurricane hit with such horrible timing, nor is it their fault that Bristol Palin got pregnant. If they lose in November, it should be because of the issues, not because the campaign was derailed by … well, acts of God.
The floodgates opened this morning on ice storm anniversary stories. Every major local media outlet has something, and many have a lot.
Part of that is because there isn’t much news on the 5th of January. Part is because they’ve had 10 years (with constant electricity) to prepare. And part is because it had such a profound impact on everyone’s lives for two weeks to a month.
This is perhaps the first big project among local media relying on reader-generated content. It’s easy to see why: Everyone remembers the ice storm. The supply of stories is practically infinite.
The problem is that everyone’s story sounds about the same. We were without power. The roads were hard to drive. We had to leave our home and move in with a family member who had power. We communicated with our neighbours for the first time ever. We helped people in need. We were happy to see electricians from the U.S. who came to help. There was a lot of snow and ice.
That’s the problem with user-generated content. It can produce some stunning gems, but most of it is boring filler not worth our time to read.
The archives are fun to look at (particularly the audio/video from the CBC and the PDF pages from The Gazette), to see how different the media and the world was just 10 years ago (67 cents/litre for gas was considered gouging).
Here’s what I’ve found so far (some links via mtlweblog), recommended reading highlighted in bold:
The Agence métropolitaine de transport has still not recovered from this weekend’s snowstorm, and trains on the Dorion/Rigaud line are still not opreating operating properly, forcing delays during every rush hour since, for a variety of reasons (but basically “snow” and “cold”).
Spokesperson Mélanie Nadeau says she hasn’t seen anything this bad in six years.
Since people have been Googling about school closures tomorrow (Monday, December 17), here’s a quick list of decisions that have been made as of 11pm Sunday. (Assume “open” means “tentatively open” and check the website before leaving in case they change their minds.)
(Decisions apply to all schools and head office unless otherwise indicated)
Universities are usually open through all but the most crippling of snowstorms. Check individual class websites or student portals for details.
Doing my part
I was going to do some Christmas shopping today, but because (a) shopping malls amazingly are still closing at 5pm on weekends two weeks before Christmas and (b) I took one look outside, I decided to stay home and be one less strain on the transportation network.