Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Midweek Saturday

Even though we've had plenty of occasions during the winter when forecasters spouted predictions of doom and gloom, I had the feeling that the ice storm that started yesterday and solidified itself (pun intended?) overnight was for real this time. And sure enough, the weather didn't fail to disappoint. I woke up at six this morning to check the TV and radio for the status of my school district, and it, like virtually all the others, did indeed have the day off. I watched a bit of the TV footage before going back to bed for several more hours, which was nice; my Saturday this week will be taken up by an out-of-town workshop that I'm running, so it was very nice to get a substitute Saturday now.

A few random observations about all this:
  • I know that, at 22 degrees, we can't hold a candle, weather-wise, to places in the North (compare Madison and Minneapolis--not to mention the 7 degrees that my friend in Wisconsin reported at lunchtime--and we're downright balmy here. But the fact of the matter is, Dallasites don't drive well on ice, we don't have the heavy equipment to clear it that northern states do, and it's just better for all concerned that people stay home if at all possible.

  • I don't watch TV news much, but it's always amusing to see the reporters all bundled up and stationed near big freeway intersections like the High Five, Ft. Worth Mixmaster, and so on. I suppose they could do fine without the visuals, but it's become such a staple of news coverage in times like these that I suppose everyone has to do it. And there's something about looking at the glazed freeway surface that makes one think, "I'm really glad that I'm warm and dry in my house right now."

  • But you do have to hand it to these people for putting themselves in harm's way. One of the reporters in Denton this morning regaled us with a (slightly embarrassing, to her) story of how she fell on her behind on an icy sidewalk; another one in Ft. Worth last night told the tale of their news van doing a 180-degree spin on a freeway, noting the uncomfortable feeling of seeing headlights in one's own direction.

  • This type of reporting sure is rough on the local flora. It's bad enough to be sleeted and iced upon, but it seems like every reporter is doing something destructive to some sort of plant life, be it crumbling some leaves, ripping a shoot off a bush or repeatedly kicking the ground with one's boot to show how badly everything is covered in ice.

  • The TV stations' lists of schools and other closings has gotten massive; it took nearly half an hour to scroll through the entire thing. I was impressed by the organization of FOX 4's list, which categorized everything into Public, Private, College, Business and Other. (My only gripe is that they didn't keep the list going during commercials, and--inexplicably--the weather.)

  • Some of the names on the lists were amusing, such as Lil Rascals Daycare (I guess they can't have the pit bull in this day and age), Somebody-or-other's Family Karate (It just amuses me to imagine Mom, Dad and the kids doing that together), Classical Karate (are they accompanied by Beethoven? I"d think Jazz Karate would be cooler), and the Barbara Gordon Montessori School (you'd think she would have been more renowned for her incarnation as Batgirl).
If you're from around here (or anywhere else where it might be even worse), I hope you got to stay out of this weather yourself. And feel free to make your predictions as to whether this is it for our major winter weather this year, or if there's more to come.

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