That's Smog Sweetheart

Southern California has two features that are the chiaroscuro of it's existence. On the light side is the weather and on the dark we have the traffic. Southern California boasts an almost 9 month summer. Our winter consists of three, sprinkly, vaguely cloudy days scattered somewhere between January 27th and February 2nd.

This being the case, it never fails to amuse me that our local news providers all have Weather Centers staffed by Meteorologists, Doppler Radar and their respective Storm Choppers. Are these where the C- meteorology students go, because in SoCal, the job is just not that hard. Case in point, an actual news cast:

Ok, that's it for the news, now to Dallas Raines(his real name btw) at the weather desk.
What's the forecast for tomorrow Dallas?
Well Brent, it's 85, clear and sunny, again! (Pointing to the map)
We have sun over here, and sun over here, and more sun over here, and there's a chance of sun through the weekend, but stay tuned because according to our Super Doppler Radar, there's a .07% chance of hail tomorrow.

Or, if you frequently watch these weather reports here some stations focus on some other area's weather, because you know, who doesn't get fired up when it's raining in Albany.

What they do talk about often during the weather reports are wildfires and earthquakes. These are not weather events, they are disasters So why don't they just replace the weather coverage with disaster coverage. The news media clearly love propaganda and panic-inducing teasers so why don't they just roll with it.

Ok, that's it for the news, now let's check in with Dallas Raines at the Disaster and Carnage desk.
Who's in for a world of hurt this weekend Dallas?
Well Brent, hold on to your hats Northridge because another big one's coming your way, hope this quake doesn't catch you while you're sleeping.
And have your disaster kits ready to go Malibu because the brush fire, it's burning bright. Death tolls are expected in the low 70's and the fiscal damage point is right around 40%. Back to you Brent.
Then there are those news weather tracking helicopters. Never mind that these choppers are more frequently commissioned to track freeway pursuits, chases and shootings, Maybe they call them Storm Chaser and Storm Tracker and Weather Chopper because they can't really say Man Down/Man on the Run Chaser Chopper 7, 50 Car Pile Up on the 710 Back Off or the Viewers Will See Carnage Chopper or Hoping to Catch the LA PD Beating Someone Down Again Copter.

Thank goodness we have these regal birds in our service lest we miss salient news items. I can think of no better addition to the archives of news history than the sight of OJ Simpson's white Bronco steadily making its way down the 405. That that footage was denied an Edward R. Morrow Excellence in Broadcasting Award is a wrong that can never be righted.

On the darker side of Southern California you have the traffic. We boast some of the largest and most scenic, 12 lane parking lots that can be found anywhere in the world. Do you know why so many of the people in SoCal are in such great shape? They gave up waiting for gridlock to clear and just abandoned their vehicles and walked to their destinations.

Traffic is so bad here that unlike the unnecessary weather reports, we desperately need the on the hour traffic reports, even on Sundays. Statistically, there are 4.9 cars for every resident of L.A. County and they made a blood oath/pinkie swear to drive them all at the same time. Don't ask me how it's done or to verify these statistics but let me tell you I've seen this with my own eyes. LA is the only place I've ever lived or visited where you can have total gridlock at 11 in the evening.

There is also the problem of the emissions of all of these vehicles. Let me just say that when I first moved here, I was amazed that the mountains were in such close proximity to my apartment. Driving to work everyday, I would see their majestic gray peaks in the horizon. While carpooling one day with my boss, I asked him what range that was, pointing at the horizon in the distance. Mountain range? That's smog sweetheart.

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Anonymous said... July 15, 2008 at 5:11 PM  

Does your boss really call you sweetheart?

One of the things that I'm still astounded by is how good the traffic is here in Adelaide. I mean it's a town the size of Seattle. When I lived in Seattle traffic was a constant clusterfuck. Adelaide eve at rsh hour, is pretty easy to maneuver. Still trying to figure out the difference.

MJ said... July 16, 2008 at 5:32 AM  

Ok, that's it for the news, now let's check in with Dallas Raines at the Disaster and Carnage desk.

*falls on floor*

Oh wow, this is the best description of SoCal I have ever heard. And it's spot on. My dad used to live in Foothill Ranch (near Irvine), and this is exactly how I felt about the place. People in Atlanta complain about traffic, but they really have no idea. LOL. Good stuff!

Anonymous said... July 16, 2008 at 7:44 AM  

I still don't know the seasons because we just don't have any!

Perhaps instead of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall California should switch to Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.

formerly fun said... July 16, 2008 at 11:35 AM  

Chris-yes, he called me sweetheart occasionally, he a kiwi and liked to tease me mercilessly. I think also the swetheart was used a bit tongue in cheek given the naivete of my mistaking a giant yuk cloud for a mountain.

I think some of the traffic might be an American unwillingness to work together, follow the rules, be mindful of other drivers, let people in etc. Frequently, I observe lots of behaviors that slow the whole thing down.

Hope you didn't bump your head on the way down, I woulodn't want to be responsible for low test scores. Yes, if you've spent much time here, you know I speak the truth, veyr little of this was satire.


I know what the weather is around your parts. Handsome with a chance of horny:)

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