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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Who the hell is Draco and what did he leave in my driveway?

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You know it's not going to be a good day when someone from "60 Minutes" is camped out in your yard waiting to interview you or if someone from The Weather Channel is in your hometown doing live reports.

Both portend really bad things.

There's something for virtually every taste on cable/satellite TV nowadays, from "Honey Boo Boo" to 24/7 cooking competitions to political "news" tweaked to your particular leaning, be it left or right.    Admittedly when the idea first came along for round-the-clock weather, some scoffed and predicted an epic fail.   Years later, The Weather Channel is a rousing success, so much so that it now is confirming itself with the power to name winter storms.

Enter "Draco".

That's the moniker TWC hung on last week's weather event that left as much as 20 inches in some parts of the state.   As for my little corner of Hales Corners, Draco left about three inches of snow and ice on my drive, providing a Friday workout that meant I could scrap my daily trot on the basement treadmill.

I thought I'd heard about this idea over the course of the past couple of weeks--but didn't really believe it until I saw on OnMilwaukee.com column on it over the weekend.   A quick internet search turned up a lot of chatter, including one southern columnist's take that all this amounts to is a giant power play by TWC

Remember, this isn't the National Weather Service handing out the names.  Its The Weather Channel trying to brand an event and to attach it's will to it.   Mention Draco, reference TWC.  A free plug every time.

It's easy to see why the electronic media obsess on storms--they're in the moment, they're telegenic and they're admittedly easy to cover.   Warnings save lives, and can't be issued in the newspaper.  Same for closings.   And, for all the grousing you do about the wall-to-wall coverage, admit it: you watch and listen.   Until you stop, the excess won't end.

Admit it, it's fun sitting in your warm, cozy kitchen watching others slip, slide and cope, to see red-nosed TV reporters trying to find new ways to tell the same old wintry story (cue the snow pile).  The only real crime is that other news, that which has nothing to do with flakes and ice, goes away for a day.   The world doesn't stop spinning just because of a few inches of snow, but one might think so by the way we obsessively cover every flake.

And it's no crime to name a blizzard, either.   It's just a power play by a media giant that sees dollar signs every time a panhandle hook or Alberta clipper spins it's way across the country and an unnatural chance to attach itself to something that happens naturally--and frequently--in these parts.

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