Monday, May 9, 2016

Why Do We Watch?

Tonight I found myself glued to The Weather Channel watching tornado chasers in Oklahoma & Kansas.  Why?   What was I hoping to see happen?  Then I remembered going to the Indianapolis 500 back in 1965.  It was the year after a huge wreck in 1964 that killed a driver named Eddie Sacks.   I Was 18 and most of us weren’t there to watch great racing.  Nope, I admit I was there to see another wreck.  It’s the human factor in us that wants to see what happens when man challenges death.  Do we want to see people die?  Of course not!  But I understand the excitement of the chase, whether it’s around a track (auto race) or out on the highways & byways of the plains.   What really fascinates me is the improvement in technology during my lifetime.  I remember my Grandfather telling me about the “Iceman” who brought ice for his ICEBOX.  We still called it that into the 60s.   The 1st TV I remember  was a small 12” round tube with a grainy black & white picture in 1952.  The shows on then were Milton Berle, Red Skelton, Jack Benny & I Love Lucy & Bob Hope.  TV News wasn’t on until the late 50s.  In fact, when I started in Tampa in 1971, we still were using film to show fires, accidents, and mayhem.  Think about that.  No live pictures, only something that was “shot” several hours before.  The photog would bring the film back to the station where it went thru a “film processor” that developed it.   Sometimes the processor “ate” the film and there went the video.  TV without video = boring.  Fast forward 45 years and we can now watch live video from anywhere in the WORLD shot on high definition cameras 80% smaller than the big heavy cameras of early TV.   And you wonder why I’m glued to watching tornado chasers?   Us “old folks” have seen a lot of progress during the last 70 years.   I can only imagine what it’ll be like 20 years from now?  Do some of you remember the nickel Coke?   Yep, 5 cents.  Or my 1st draft beer for 25 cents!  The good Old days!


I’ve been looking at the various early season hurricane predictions and almost everyone is calling for an active season since El Nino is gone.     Geez, I wish it were that easy.  But we all know it is not.   The atmosphere is very complex & ever changing.  Throw in some volcanic activity & forest fires plus African dust and a clear picture suddenly turns cloudy.    Frankly, what worries me is  the lack of any major land falling U.S. hurricanes since 2005.  That has never happened in modern times, a whole decade without insurance companies paying for widespread damages.  Just gets me wondering why 1) my rates keep increasing and 2) my hurricane deductible does the same.   But I digress.  Sooner or later, a major (Cat. 3+) hurricane will return to the U.S. mainland.  I’m told by the math guys even though it’s been a long time without a major storm, our chances remain the same each year.  Which means anyone living by water along the Gulf & Atlantic coasts must pay attention as we get into storm season.  But you already knew that!  Stay tuned!  Only 3 weeks away!

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