Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I became a news junkie when I spent 12 to 14 hours daily behind the wheel listening to the good stuff. I mean MPR, of course. Sure, the news was interspersed with a little classical music (the other MPR station: Minnesota has 2) and a bit of political comedy. The comedy was, of course, about the political news.

There are times I wonder what kind of planet I've landed on down here when I watch the local TV morning news. I still try to find the occasional gem, that kernel of real news. Most days it's about a house fire, who shot whom, what stupid thing got said, what event/fundraiser is happening, where traffic is blocked this time, and of course, weather.

I'm used to hearing about weather. Minnesota had some. Other states have been getting a lot lately. But it pretty much doesn't happen down here, or if it does, it happens a bit elsewhere. We live in the west valley, so the rain for the last half year has been in the east valley, or maybe up around Flagstaff.  But El Nino (aka Darth Nino) has blessed us with rain much of the last two days, with promises of more the next two. (For those of you who keep track, 2 days of rain here means a good half inch in the rain gauge. No need to water the new bushes for a week or two now.)

Anyway, two days of rain is enough to drive all other stories off the air, though they did give a brief nod mid program to Powerball hitting $450 million tonight. The headliner breaking news from "The Storm" was that a tree fell over. Somewhere way over in the east valley. Camera crews were on location, showing footage of ... a street somewhere. No tree. No roots in the air. No busted branches. No house damage. Just a street. In the dark.

The next major story was that overnight in the west valley there was a wind gust of OMG! probably 30 mph, enough to blow the thin metal cover off of somebody's backyard patio. Again, news crews were on location. A street was closed for a block, and there were actual debris shots.

Somebody go get a broom, would ya?

The news chopper was up in the air. They found a road where a wash crossed it, full enough that part of the road was actually covered. They hovered while we all watched breathlessly as drivers rolled up, slowed, and drove through with hardly a wake. But something could have happened, yessiree Bob. One car actually did stop and make a u turn. Just in case.

We were promised that because rain was still falling upstream of this spot, something could actually happen here later in the day.


Flagstaff got snow. Cue camera dashcam, time lapse of driving over snowy road getting snowier. Somebody shovel their walk. Oooh, lookie, X-mas lights still up along the streets. Cue 4th run of interview of happy business people who like tourists. Rerun footage from last weekend of kids on sleds who found a bitty hill somewhere. Show kids falling off their sleds on bitty hill. They probably haven't learned how to sled yet. Or maybe they forgot since last year or whenever they had snow before.

Cue traffic map, show what's closed this time because even with sparse 5AM traffic, folks can't drive in it. They're not used to, like, actual weather.

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