Monday, April 21, 2008

Low View of High Tech

The Midwest and Midsouth sections of our beautiful USA have recently been subject to irrational and destructive weather. Tornadoes have been the primary culprit. In middle Tennessee, where I have lived for 30 years, tornadoes that reek havoc are rather recent phenomenon. However, when the skies turn green and black at 2:00 PM or 2:00 AM we have learned to seek information. Most of us turn on our televisions. This has become far too helpful. Suddenly we have been introduced to maps that can pinpoint the wind sheer, rainfall and barometric pressure in our driveways. This is troubling, tedious, intrusive and very difficult to watch or process. These idiots, who can never predict the weather correctly, have now been given software that enables them to tell us exactly where the funnel cloud is about to touch ground. They can identify rural roads, addresses, specific times, storm direction, lightning strikes and wind speed. Their hands dance around the screen focusing on this and that county, town, village and street while they continue an annoying, monotone litany of times, locations and warnings. ‘If you are in the Temple Road area south of I-65 within the Green Spring Development you should prepare to take shelter at 7:48. If you are in the Temple Road area north of I-65 you should prepare to take shelter at 7:49.’ And so on until, minute-by-minute, they have bored us all the way to the North Carolina line. At some moment in the near future I am anticipating a warning that says, ‘Thom Schuyler, put down that beer and get into your garage or you and your family will die.’ These instruments should be taken away from them immediately. There was nothing at all wrong with loud, blasting horns placed strategically about the tornado plane. You hear the blast, you go to the basement or, as the idiots say, ‘Go to an interior room or closet away from windows.’ 
Sadly, the same geeks who created this weather software seem to have expanded their market into the newsroom. During this current primary election (2008) several broadcast networks have introduced a variety of high tech maps to illuminate what all their talking heads could not do by their biased and insipid word of mouth. So they slap up a map of Pennsylvania and some well-dressed monkey begins to touch his finger to the screen and pull up the counties surrounding Philadelphia and he says, ‘For Obama to win here he will have to inspire at least 67% of the African-American vote in a minimum of 38 districts. Let’s look at the districts likely to swing for Obama.’ And then he hits the screen again and there is a close-up of all the districts in Delaware County. ‘If he were able to sustain in these districts – especially these 19 (monkey taps screen and it zooms in) and Senator Clinton loses any ground in the west (monkey taps screen and highlights Pittsburgh area) there is the possibility – slight as it may be – that Senator Obama could solidify the nomination in Pennsylvania. Of course, if southeastern Pennsylvania – and let me highlight this on the map (monkey makes semi-circle on map and it illumines the section he has cordoned off) stays historically mainline Democrat, it will be an uphill battle for Obama. This (monkey points to map) is Hillary country. For instance, if this white truck driver residing at 1073 Avondale Street in Scranton (tap screen and zoom on a guy walking to his mailbox) casts his vote for Senator Clinton and this black construction worker who lives at 422 Lebanon Avenue in Valley Forge (tap screen and zoom on a guy cutting his lawn) sways to Obama, the whole thing is up for grabs.
One can only hope that a tornado would rush into every local and national newsroom and destroy these implements; sweep them up in a whirlwind of logic and decency. Perhaps this evening at 8:16 PM.


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