Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's in a name? Weather you like it or not, you suck...

If you've never lived on the Gulf Coast, you probably haven't had to worry too much about hurricanes. They are a fact of life here, and every coastal city has been impacted at one time or another by a storm.

Oddly enough, we name them.

Way back in the day, the storms used to be named after women. Then somebody complained, and they added men's names.

I'm guessing it was the idiots who name the storms who complained. They had to be running out of monikers. Storms are named from A-Z, and it has to at least be a tropical storm to get a name. Each new storm gets the next letter in the alphabet, which means our most recent storm -- Eddy (I REFUSE to call it Edouard) is the fifth storm so far this year.

It's time to try something else, because when you have to resort to Edouard, you have problems. Edouard? What genius came up with this? WTF? Euclid's already been used? Electra? Ernie? Euphestus? Effie? Ebbie?

So now we misspell common names?

Here's an idea, storm freaks: how about animal names? Hurricane Fido is nice. He packs a bite. How about Hurricane Fluffy? ("I lost my home in the great Fluffy of '09"). Or Tropical Storm Snoopy?

How about last names? Hurricane Favre would work. After all, he's been in the news a lot.

Maybe Hurricane Bush? Naw.... that name has done enough damage.

And why do we name these things anyway? We don't name great snowstorms. Or tornadoes. ("Bob, do you remember when Tornado Tom blew through and destroyed our trailer home?")

Side note: What did the god of trailer homes do to the god of tornadoes to piss him/her off so much? Just wondering...

Regardless, back to Eddy. Whoever named him Edouard...well, you should be taken out and forced to run naked through the streets when the next big storm hits.

Go get him, Fido.


Eddy wasn't the only one who sucked.

The "storm" was just another little Houston shower. But you would have never believed that if you lived here and watched TV, listened to news radio or read the Fear Rag. If you did, you were scared to death.

We learned we could get more than 10 inches of rain. Wind gusts of "hurricane force." There would be power loss, flooding, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!

Classes were canceled, and work days were abbreviated.

All because it had a name.

We were reminded that Allison was "just a tropical storm" too. That Katrina destroyed New Orleans. That this storm was similar in it how it formed to Alicia in 1983, which knocked out power for thousands of people.

The Fear Rag's Web site posted a story that Eddy was "lashing" the coast and "pounding" several areas.

But in the end, we were "lucky" to avoid the worst.

There are several reasons for the paranoia. The media outlets benefit from a serious storm. More people watch TV, listen to the radio, go to the Web sites if they think something bad can happen. Weather men will invoke Katrina; there are still many former New Orleans residents in Houston, and the name itself inspires fear.

(Side note: The Katrina fear spawned an incredible panic in Rita, where nearly a million people tried to get out of the city. There were deaths on the road when people who had no business leaving were whipped into a panic. Most of that was the media's fault. Another story for another time).

Storms like this are the Super Bowl for the local "experts." They WANT disaster. They WANT damage. You will be mesmerized by it, and you will keep watching.

When they get a dud like Eddy, they keep trying to make it worse than it was. One weather freak kept saying that even though there had been little rain, "we weren't out of danger. There were more showers off the coast, and they could hit us in the afternoon. So stayed tuned to Ch. 11 for the latest updates."

Hoo boy. Showers. Wow.

The best was the local NBC affiliate's newscast. Much to their dismay, nobody died. But since they had reporters stationed everywhere, they did their best to create news.

A branch was down in a neighborhood. Someone's trash can was blown over by a breeze.

My favorite was the three swimmers who got caught in the current at Galveston. Keep in mind drunks get caught in the current on a daily basis in Galveston, and Beach Patrol has to save them all the time.

But since there was a reporter down there, and these guys had to be rescued from a suddenly became storm-related.

The best part is the graphic on TV described one of the men as a "Near Drowning Victim."

Hmm. I must be a Near Success. Or a Near Male Model. Or a Near Millionaire. Or a Near Storm Victim.

Oh, wait. It only counts on the day of a storm. Never mind.

The truth is, the media WANTS these storms to be bad. The Fear Rag would gladly trade your lives for a Pulitzer. The TV folks know how Dan Rather made it to the big time (covering a hurricane). They see an Eddy coming, and they get aroused. They know the only way they get attention is for something tragic to happen. Don't be fooled; they WANTED Rita to be Houston's Katrina. They WANTED Eddy to be anything.

It's sad, really.

But I am more sad for poor Eddy. He let down all those media folks. He never made it to hurricane status. He had to live with a stupid name. His short, storm life was a miserable failure.

Poor Eddy. Best of luck in the next life.

Who has the best accents? I've always been partial to South African, but after Nikki called the poker show Tuesday night, I'm coming around on Aussies. I'm going to release my accent power rankings next blog but I am curious.... What are your favorite accents?


Patricia D'Licia said...

Darling Freddee-

FINALLY, a topic on your blog I can actually respond to from my knowledge base. (Not with any interesting feed back, but, factual nonetheless.)

NEAR DROWNING is actually a technical term. It refers to a SUBMERSION INCIDENT which does not result in death within 24 hours. This is a reportable condition in Texas, much like syphilis and TB.

I was responsible for tracking drowning and near drowning in Galveston County for about 6 years. I had a map that showed a little dot where each one happened. There are some not so surprising trends in who drowns (or near drowns): Males. Specifically, males in their late teens and twenties, who don't live in Galveston County, and are frolicking in the water where/when there isn't beach patrol.

I bet the folks rescued from the non-storm related current the other day were tourists. That is easy, because no one from Galveston ever gets in the water, except a small handful who surf, and they don't tend to drown.

Brazilian Portuguese is the best accent. Or maybe just the best language. -sigh-

We are headed to Shakespeare in the Park tonight, (if we aren't waylaid by Post-Edouard rain bands.) I know you can't wager on Shakespeare, but it'd be great to see you.

ChrisC said...

This is your best blog to date! You nailed it. Edouard? WTF! You're right Tropical Storm Favre wouldve been so much better! I say go with the latest celebrity in the news; Tropical Storm Brangelina or Tropical Storm Hogan.

My favorite from yesterday's storm... "this just in from the weather dept, a lawn chair in Pearland has just blown over"...classic!

Thought you'd get a kick out of this... HEB ran out of the 16 oz Ozarka cases (24 per) at $4.29, so they sold the 8 oz Ozarka cases (24 per) at $5.00...HUH?? Price gouging lol.

I dated an Austrailian girl who was hot so her accent was amazing. South African is good too. My fav accent is Irish, give them some love too!

See you Friday!

Dana said...

Hey, give the summer storm (it doesn't qualify as a tropical anything) a little credit. It did save me some money by watering my lawn. Great Blog dude, there is the irate Fred that we all know and love!

Anonymous said...

Great blog this week. Weather and news types tend to get over-excited with this kind of weather news, but I guess it is better to have them over react than have them say light rains and then get hit with the gale winds...


PS - And NO mention of Val!