Friday, July 12, 2013

1199 The Practice Field

1199  The Practice Field


(STATE COLLEGE PA) -- This town has more meteorologists than Sing Sing has felons.


It’s a good thing, too.  Because this town is a weather practice field.


The regional joke is if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes and it’ll change.  Except it’s not a joke.


Someone “up there” is sitting at the controls.  One minute it’s sunny.  Next, it’s pouring.  A minute later and it’s sunny again.


The control operator changes every hour on the hour as students and trainees leave the classroom and the next class files in.


Here’s a listing of the various prediction centers:


1.  The US Weather Bureau has a full-scale operation here.  It’s a big bureau.
2. AccuWeather the private service is headquartered here and all the meteorologists you hear on your local radio station are right here, even if you’re listening in Los Angeles or New York or Right Shoe, Kansas.
3.  Penn State University has its own weather bureau.  It’s a teaching thing.
4. The Weather Underground has an outpost here.
5. The Weather Channel is available on basic service from two cable and two satellite TV providers.


So while the town is best known for the Jerry Sandusky Little Boy scandal and Penn State Football and drinking, it should also be known for weather.


The forecasters keep a low profile.  You would, too, with a track record like they have.


It’s sometimes hard to tell whether our weather comes from the atmosphere or the practice equipment.  If -- and this is rare -- a weather system stays with us for any length of time, chances are it’s “organic” or natural.  But most don’t.  So you have to think the weather is dependent on that learning equipment that controls the test field.


There’s some thought that this training facility violates the anti-trust law because students from all five bureaus share it.


And it’s hidden.  No one can disclose where it is.  Not even the NSA knows, and it knows everything.



Shrapnel:


--This is post 1199 and it reminds that local 1199, now the core of the National Health Care Workers Union has been doing a bang-up job since it was a small group of drug store employees at its founding in 1932.  1199 was a leader in desegregating health care in New York, carved out a niche for nurses in the then-forming middle class and spread health care unionization nationwide, forming mini 1199s, some affiliated, some not.  These are the people who take care of you when you’re sick and because they organized make a halfway decent living at it.


--You want to read the obits for the wife of folksinger and activist Pete Seeger, Toshi Seeger, who died 7/9 at age 91, there are plenty of places to do that.  But one aspect of her life and their lives that no one seemed to wonder about now was how a German born Japanese American woman and a white guy from upstate New York made their way through the early years as a couple.  America was at war with Germany and Japan and herding Japanese Americans by the boxcar load into “camps.”  Couldn’t have been easy when they wed in 1943.


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2013

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