“Polar Vortex” Is Sooo Last Apocalypse

Hurricane Bieber?  No one's going to worry about a hurricane with a pansy-assed name like that.  (Image from en dot wikipedia dot org)
Hurricane Bieber? No one’s going to worry about a hurricane with a candy-assed name like that. (Image from en dot wikipedia dot org)

In some ways the folks at the National Weather Service and local forecasters aren’t really too different from the marketing department at an ad agency.  They know that to keep everyone’s attention, it’s not enough to just predict the weather – after all, groundhogs routinely do that with 50% accuracy.  That’s probably why they started naming hurricanes all those years ago.  Assigning them human names gave us an identity to fear, hate or ignore.

After decades of limited success naming hurricanes, the weather experts have decided to start naming damn near every two-bit squall to form in the Gulf of Whatever.  As they’ve discovered, giving a storm a name doesn’t guarantee it’ll live up to the hype.  In addition, some names just don’t have the ominous ring to them which a big storm deserves.  Take for example the innocuously named Hurricane Sandy which kicked the crap out of much of the Northeast, versus the scary-named Tropical Storm Lucifer who’s only claim to fame was causing a ten minute rain delay at a Florida Marlins game.  When the weather people ended up amending Sandy from “Hurricane” to “Super-Storm”, it seemed they had stumbled onto something beyond playing the name game.

This year, they really hit a home run with The Polar Vortex.  The name really has it all; a reference to the frozen tundra of the north and the sexy technical term “vortex”.  For those of you too captivated by my writing to jump over to Google for a definition of vortex, I’ve provided one below.

Vortex; vor-teks, n .  1. A howling, unforgiving funnel of nastiness, often found in weather forecasts during the winter of 2014.  2. An antiquated term once used in weather forecasts in 2014 but rarely seen again outside of midterm exams in meteorology schools.  Origin:  From the Greek Fartecs, the God of mean %@#$*# weather.  Example: An equatorial vortex is expected to bring typhoon-strength winds and high temperatures in excess of 137 degrees to the greater Duluth region this April.

Go ahead, giver it a name, then run like hell.  (Image from birdsofeden dot za)
Go ahead, give it a name, then run like hell. (Image from birdsofeden dot za)

As we slip and plow through February, the weather gurus are already scrambling to come up with new names for the next big thing.  There are no definite winners yet, they’re still in the brain storming phase.

Here are a few of the front runners so far:

  • Polar Vortex II – Return with a Vengeance
  • Hurricane Miley
  • Shit Storm of Epic Proportions
  • End of Days – Ice Box of the Lord
  • Tropical Storm Christie (Expect Delays and a partial eclipse of the sun)
  • Adding “-mageddon” to the end of damn near any weather related term – Favorites so far include swamp-ass humidity-mageddon and ball lightning-mageddon.
  • Kelvin Kold Front – This aint your Daddy’s Fahrenheit
  • Trumpnado (Includes super-heated winds which will mess up nearly any hairstyle)
  • Broomhilda’s Bosoms
  • Deep Freez – (The Last “e” Froze Off)
  • Satan’s Sauna
  • Super-dupercells
  • Mr. and Mrs. Coldfront and the Twins
  • Oh Hail No!
On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if you get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando.  (Image from the nayshun dot com)
On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if they get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando. (Image from the nayshun dot com)

It’s obvious that some of these catch phrases will never see the light of day.  It’s likely that they have even better ones that they’re keeping secret under a blanket of 3-6 inches of snow (with higher totals north and west of the city).  In fact, you can fog-bank on it.

It took me longer than usual to even get the first draft of this dog done, due to my having to drop everything repeatedly to go out front and shovel snow.  They’re predicting another twelve inches tonight, so if you happen to comment and don’t get a prompt reply, it may be because I’m out front working on finding the pavement again.

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The French Toast Conspiracy

I'll just gobble down this pile of fat and sugar, then get going shoveling the driveway.  (Image from every day with honey cake dot blog spot dot com
I’ll just gobble down this pile of fat and sugar, then get going shoveling the driveway. (Image from every day with honey cake dot blog spot dot com)

A lot of people shrug their shoulders and say it was just the way these things go.  They figure that despite the best computer models and professional judgement, sometimes things don’t go the way the pretty geniuses said they would.  I choose not to blindly accept the sketchy excuses of these so-called experts.  I look at the bigger picture and try to see what’s really going on.

After careful consideration of all the factors, I’ve come to a conclusion, and it’s a doozie.

Let me step back and set the stage for you.  I live in the greater Philadelphia area.  We’re far enough north to get snow, yet far enough south to squeal like a little Nancy-pants every time there’s any of it predicted.

On the west coast, you rarely see weather girls bundled up in fleece jackets, but if you get too many jet streams like this one, it might be time to stop going commando.  (Image from the nayshun dot com)
Latin TV weathergirls are seldom bundled up in fleece jackets.  Too many jet streams like this one though, and it might be time to stop going commando. (Image from the nayshun dot com)

Earlier this week, that’s exactly what happened.  One after another, those oh-so-pretty weather people gestured seductively in front of their green screens, predicting snow all over the viewing area.  Gorgeous talking-heads with names like Cecily and Sheena showed wavy bands of color-coded snow-total predictions.  As far as my little corner of paradise went, all 17 local TV weather people agreed we’d be waking up to somewhere between 2 and 4 inches of the white stuff.  In case the specter of a few inches of snow wasn’t already big news, the weather spokesmodels labelled it “heart attack snow.”  These couple of inches would be so wet and heavy, there would surely be coronaries all across the region.  Shoveling would be lethal to all but highly conditioned athletes and people with really small shovels.

I’m sure readers in the midwest and upstate New York are snickering at those paultry totals, as well they should, but 2 to 4 inches in this area is big news.  As zero hour approached, otherwise rational people descended upon grocery stores as though the end-of-days was imminent.  I gazed in disbelief from the relative safety of the liquor aisle as milk, eggs and bread were snatched up by the locust-like hordes of panicked shoppers.

No Bread, no eggs, no milk.  Nothing left in this store but some badly wilted kale, a few gossip rags and some cans of stewed tomatoes.  (Image from standeyo dot com)
No Bread, no eggs, no milk. Nothing left in this store but a bin of badly wilted kale, a few gossip rags and some cans of stewed tomatoes. (Image from standeyo dot com)

When I awoke Wednesday morning I was prepared for the worst.  I’d set the alarm an hour early, giving myself enough time to shovel and eventually clutch my chest.  I could only hope my wife would see me lying in the driveway before rigor mortis set in.  I glimpsed between the blinds to see how bad it was.  There was no evidence that a single flake had fallen.  I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked again.  Every weed and dog turd in my yard was just as I’d seen it the day before, without so much as a crystal of frost to show for all the hype.

Out of bed and irritated by the piss-poor forecasting, it was futile to try to go back to sleep.  I went ahead and got ready for work, arriving at my job entirely too early.  All day long, the inaccuracy of the forecasts gnawed at me.  I tried calling several of the news stations to grill the weather people for answers.  Not one of them would take my calls.  A tickle of suspicion had begun in my mind by the time I’d gotten my fifth TV station rejection.

On my way home, I happened to swing by the supermarket again.  I’d decided to surprise my wife with a special dinner in celebration of my not having died of a heart attack earlier that morning.  As I strolled towards the dairy section, my heart sank as I recalled the swarm of shoppers there just a day before.  I wracked my mind trying to figure out how I’d make my beloved wife a fritatta without using any eggs.  I turned the corner and saw the shelves of eggs and milk were miraculously replenished.  I later noticed that the bread section was similarly restocked.

While checking out, I saw the manager through the open door of his office.  He was sitting with his feet up on his desk and talking happily.  His head was thrown back as he laughed and flirted with the caller.  I swore I heard him say “Oh Cecily!”.   Suddenly he became aware of my inquisitive gaze.  His face clouded as he swung his feet down and slammed the door.  The pieces were coming together as the gears and chains in my mind churned like a rusty snow blower.

The answer was just beyond my grasp.  Deep in thought, I pocketed my change and headed toward my car, almost running right into an employee pushing a cart loaded with boxes.  I apologized for the near collision and kept walking past the empty spot where the snow shovel and rock salt display had been just a day before.  In the cold air of the parking lot, I suddenly realized that the boxes on the cart weren’t just random stock.  The same smiling face mocked me from the cardboard front of each box.  Even without the doo-rag, there was no disputing that it was none other than Aunt Jemima!

I'd recognize you anywhere, you sweet vixen of maple goodness! (Image from under consideration dot com)
I’d recognize you anywhere, you sweet vixen of maple goodness! (Image from under consideration dot com)

The bread..the eggs…the milk…the syrup…I stood next to my car and it all finally made sense.  Of course!  I’d stumbled onto the French Toast Conspiracy.  In this clandestine operation, a powerful, intricate network of grocery magnates and meteorologists formed a deviously symbiotic relationship.  Unscrupulous media moguls used imaginary storms to build ratings on slow winter news days.  In so doing, they create a frenzy among the unwashed masses, who scramble to their local stores and eagerly buy the ingredients for French Toast.  The scary weather predictions are only interupted for commercials for grocery stores and SUV’s.  The grocers are thrilled to have unloaded the majority of their perishable dairy products.  The news media use their increased advertising profits and buy spiffy embroidered fleece jackets for taping remotes on the brisk fall days heading into next winter.

I had to get this story out, but how?  The mainstream news media couldn’t be trusted.  John Stossel was busy checking to see if “Made in America” really meant anything anymore.  Andy Rooney and Mike Wallace were both still dead.  I knew my only chance to get the facts out was right here, on this seemingly innocuous blog.  You readers have the truth now.  Get out there and spread the word!

Addendum:    I finally got a call back from one of those TV weather people.  She heard about my story and wants to interview me.  She’s requesting that I come alone to a remote corner of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.  I know this sounds a little shady, and I should be suspicious, but when I heard the voice of that lovely weathergirl on the phone, how could I not believe her?  I hope she doesn’t wear that embroidered fleecy thing, it really hides her stunning figure.