Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mother Nature and the Media

I'm sure everyone on the West Coast is laughing at us!

The way the media reacted yesterday afternoon (and continue to do so today), you would have thought the earthquake that rumbled from Virginia through the East Coast was on par with the quake/tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year. Despite all the building evacuations, minor flight delays, event cancellations, etc., it wasn't. But that didn't stop the talking heads on every news channel from trying to make it seem like big news. A brief visit to the website of our local news channel showed the two commentators talking about how they felt while the 15 seconds of shaking was occuring followed by a phone interview of someone else who felt it.

My main concern? The quake occured in Virginia, where Sammi lives, though it turned out she is about 120 miles away from the epicenter. Even as I was finding out this key piece of information, she had already called and left a voicemail message that she was fine and heading home after they had closed the school. "Things shook, but nothing in my classroom fell down," was her report. (Actually closer to the epicenter were Chuck's in-laws, also in Virginia, who reported the tragic loss of a wine glass.)

Did I feel the quake?  Yes, I was sitting at my desk at work. I thought it was caused by a truck pulling up. Frankly, things shook a lot more a couple of months ago when they were digging up and repaving the parking lot.


Even as the aftermath of "the great quake of August 23rd" plays out, the media moppets are revving up because Hurricane Irene is projected to make its way to our area over the weekend. Unlike the quake, which came without warning, the impending doom of a hurricane allows the news channels to warn us to stock up on batteries, bottled water, and those famous food staples - milk, eggs and bread. (As Chuck once pointed out, does everyone make French toast during blizzards and hurricanes?)

We've already gotten a robo-call from the Nassau County Executive, advising us to check our chimneys, water and gas lines, and house foundations for damage from the quake and then reminding us to make sure our "emergency preparedness kit" is fully stocked as Hurricane Irene (possibly) bears down on us.

I'd like to write more, but I have to scale the side of the house and check out the chimney, then run off to the store to buy a few hundred double-A batteries, 17 loaves of bread, 30 dozen eggs, and 9 gallons of milk. Oh, yes, and I should stop at the library and check out a dozen DVDs, another thing that people do every time a weather "disaster" looms.

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