Monday Moanin’

I stole that title from the late Bob Talbert, an everyman columnist from the late, or possibly undead, Detroit Free Press.

He would use that title whenever he had a column to write but didn’t have sufficient time to put enough similarly themed words together to make 800. It also allowed him to insert pet peeves in print that would otherwise have no home.

So I watched the Superbowl and forced—forced—myself to sit through the entire halftime show. About which I can only say thank the Lord for beer and loud crowds. For without those, what came out of the television speakers would have been unbearably clear.

I didn’t know the name of the fellow in the black hat, but he should be strongly discouraged from ever approaching a microphone again. He was so bad that the only thing that kept the chicken wings I had ingested from making a reappearance was the drunken fellow next to me, who possibly was trying to sing along. Anyway, he was making a lot of noise. But he was loud and I was grateful for him.

I already know the counter argument: “Briggs, you fool. Black Hat used to be a star. He was a Rock God. Have some respect.”

To which I respond: I notice you speak in the past tense. Good he may have been, but good now he is not. Why should all of us be subjected to his caterwauling? Respect? If you are determined to highlight music from bygone days, and wanted to show respect, we would have been infinitely better off had the NFL wheeled out Cab Calloway’s ashes and put on a scratchy recording of “Minne the Moocher.” I would have sung along to that.

The Tim Tebow ad was ho hum. It started with his old ma talking to the camera. I couldn’t hear it clearly and thought at first it was a soap commercial. I hadn’t realized my mistake until after she had recovered from the blind-side tackle, son and ma lovingly embracing, and the Focus on the Family website was on screen. This was controversial?

Mencken said that the best poems are those about something we know is false but want to be true. It’s the same with TV commercials. This is why ads for “light” beer or “diet” pop always tout their “great” taste.

Let any diet beer inch above freezing even slightly so that it isn’t cold enough to numb your taste buds and you know the ads lie. And never was there a sugar-free pop that didn’t go down like chemical soup.

It’s not just TV. The fast-food chain Panda Express boasts that it serves, “Gourmet Chinese Food.” In their favor, it might be a mistranslation of “glutinous.”

Many people are laughing at this guy, a TV meteorologist from AccuWeather. The title of the video is “Snowpocalypse Now! Meteorologist Freakout.”

What people don’t understand is how weathermen live for—lust after—storms. He is not freaking out. He is loving every minute of it.

He wouldn’t have been so excited had he not lived in such a dull area, meteorologically speaking. How many different ways can you say “Humid and overcast with a 30% chance of afternoon showers”? He finally had something meaty to talk about. “Fourteen to twenty-two inches of snow!” Back in Northern Michigan, we called this a dusting.

I recall this freshman coming to our meteorology program who had saved every weather clipping—those maps with temperature gradients in the back of the newspapers—for five years. He kept them in a binder which he carried everywhere.

If today’s weather conditions were this many millibars, this hot, with the wind coming from that quarter, this kid knew the historical analogue. “Today’s 500 mb flow reminds me of the ’77 Memorial Day storm that dumped over three inches of precip.”

This young man was not uncommon. He type is known as the weather weenie. These guys come in thinking that all meteorologists do is sit around and talk about the weather—which is true. They do. But they first have to slog through all the math. Years of calculus, physics, PDEs, thermodynamics, equations of motion. Many weenies drop out and change their majors to communications.

It is there they learn their bad habits.


  1. PaulH

    I was concerned that Black Hat was about to dislocate his shoulder or elbow during the half time show. Although I am fairly certain that they travel with their own medical staff, so the risk of permanent damage was probably minimal. 😉

  2. Speed

    Professional sports are contrived conflicts with uncertain outcomes created to attract eyeballs for advertisers. The Superbowl is le plus ultra of US professional sports.

    Television weather reporting is not much different.

  3. Ray

    I believe most of the the people on TV reporting the weather are likely communication majors, not real meteorologists. They just read the weather report off the teleprompter.

  4. Not real meteorologists? Ray, next you’ll be saying professional wrestling isn’t a true sports competition! You are so cruel.

    Wha’s up with so many clinkers and sour notes in the SB music numbers this year. From beginning to end the artists had so many pitch and arrangement mishaps it sounded more like outtakes from American Idol tryouts than “super” performances. Where was Simon Cowell when we needed him?

  5. John M

    That weather weenie’s name is Jim Kosek.

    From his bio at accuweather:

    “Jim became captivated by the weather after watching TV weathermen as a child and still enjoys forecasting snowstorms more than anything else.”

    D’yuh think?

    Anyway, our local AM station has accuweather meteos call in every morning. Joe Sobel (“you can’t spell Sobel without saying SOB”) used to be the regular, and he was proud to refer to himself as a weather weenie. The local guy would kid him about it all the time.

  6. Listening to Roger Daltrey, I kept repeating, “So sad. His voice used to be so beautiful! It used to float! His voice is shot!” My husband would then say similar things. We both advanced theories. One is the Super Bowl wants to avoid young performers for fear of costume failures (Jackson) or some sorts of intentional misbehavior (Lambert).

    In their defense The Who changed to arrangements to compress the vocal range. Otherwise, the signing would have sounded even worse than it did. But they’ve lost most their vocal range.

  7. Black Hat is on the child molester watch list due to previous incidents. In case there is anybody who didn’t already know that.

  8. Briggs

    Uncle Mike,

    I had no idea. Though after Lucia said it, I remembered his name.

  9. Alan D. McIntire

    A local (Sacramento) newscaster, Jack Armstrong, offered the opinion that current music stars would appeal to a limited audience- a country western singer would have turned off about 2/3 of the audience, ditto for jazz, blue grass , pop, rock, soul, and any other music style. The reason is that muisc, like network news, and everything else has become more diluted, with each musician now appearing on a music station catering to a specific niche.

    The NFL picked has beens who used to appeal to a more general audience rather than current stars and their limited appeal. – Of course part of the reason for that appeal to the more general audience was the more limited selection in what was available, just
    as TV evening news was limited to what used to be the big 3- NBC, CBS, and ABC.

    I guess the way to get around that niche problem would be to have a whole series of entertainers each doing 1 song in their particular style, that way most people would have seen a little bit of their favorite style, and might even appreciate other styles they hadn’t been exposed to previously

  10. Wayne P.

    I think Mike D. is referring to Pete Townshend (Black Hat) who claimed the child porn found on his computer in 2003 was research material for an autobiography. Roger Daltry was the the lead singer on stage (no hat, no guitar, equally rusty voice). I had the distinct impression The Who didn’t rehearse much for this performance.

  11. Kevin

    A week later and everyone is gone from this thread. So, I’ll likely be writing to myself. Briggs, your description of an event I did not witness is so entertaining that, by the time I finished viewing the Accuweatherman, I have a case of laughter induced asthema and will ikely cough the remainder of the evening.

    Thirty years ago I lived in Los Alamos. The local sportscaster on some Albuquerque station had a disaster one evening when the device that composes text scores on the bottom of the screen was not working and he could not show clips of any games either. He resorted to flash cards and drawings on a flip chart done with magic marker. He was funny!

    Anyway, thanks for the humor.

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