Did you know a war was going on? Not just one war but two wars? Was anyone able to watch a TV news show that didn't talk about Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears? Only on National Public Radio could I escape these sensational stories and actually hear what is going on in the world - the cold, hard reality that we are in a war. My heart goes out to people in the stories I heard - the war widows trying to survive without their husbands and the group of soldiers talking about getting ready for their 3rd rotation in Iraq.
I can't imagine what it must be like to be a soldier or an Iraqi citizen living in a situation where a bomb could hit at any time. How do they cope with that? I'm pretty sure I'd be in a constant state of fright, worried about where that next bomb is. I thought about this tonight in the middle of some stormy weather that came through.
This week it has been beautiful weather. Sunny with the highs in the 60s/70s. Of course, in tornado alley we pay for having such great weather. Tonight was the night we paid for this week's nice weather. I knew it was going to be bad when CNN's breaking news this morning was the stormy weather. I may not have ever seen in person the fallout after a bomb but I've seen my share of cars turned over, homes destroyed, and basically destruction everywhere as a result of a tornado. When I was young I saw the aftermath of one that had such an impression on me that everytime the skies turn grey I'm glued to the tube watching the radar. Tonight was no different. It had been windy all day but around sunset the wind got so strong that the blinds in my bedroom shook from the wind getting through the window. WTF?! Had never seen that before. Then, our local
three stooges weather guys broke into the regularly scheduled program and started yacking about all the tornado warnings west of the area. That was all I needed to start preparing my tornado shelter (i.e., my toilet room) with a radio, flashlight, blanket, pillow, cell phone, landline phone, and a new item this time - my purse.
The weather guys were giving suggestions on how to protect yourself and they suggested having ID on you in case something were to happen. I'm sure hearing all the horror stories of Katrina had something to do with that idea. For future reference, they also had a couple of new suggestions I hadn't heard them mention before. One, wear rubber-soled shoes to protect you from lightening strikes and two, if you have a bicycle helmet put it on to protect your head. *note to self: add bicycle helmet to Target list*
So my safe room was ready. As the storms got closer the tornado warnings continued to get closer and my nerves were rattled. I tried to occupy myself with something else but instead pulled out the map and started pinpointing the tornados' tracks. When the storm line finally came through it turned out to be a non-event for me. Lots of rain & a few claps of thunder in the distance but my town ended up squeezed between the rotating clouds the super-duper, new & improved radar was capturing.
When it was all over I felt a little silly (as I always do) about setting up my safe room but I then remembered the deadly tornado that hit in early spring less than 15 miles from my house and didn't feel quite that silly.
Of course, after the storm line went through I was able to go back to my daily life but our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan can't escape the bombs. I dug around and found a January 2005 Nth Degree of Anderson in Baghdad talking about being frightened with the bombs around. He says in the clip "...fear does have one remarkable side effect. It causes the most amazing sharpening of the senses." I hadn't thought of that before. Do my senses sharpen when storms are coming?
I hope this week the whole Anna Nicole-Britney Spears sagas disappear. But if last week's ratings are any indication, they'll be back on. Brian at TVNewser has been posting the ratings and statistics since the Anna Nicole story hit and basically the more you mention Anna Nicole, the more likely you are to have viewers. I won't bore you with the statistics but if you are interested in the details check out TVNewser. Because CNN and specifically Anderson's shows had less coverage, the ratings reflected that. CNN came in behind both Fox and MSNBC one day. Anderson's ratings haven't been good the last couple of weeks either and that's sad considering the time and effort that went into the Brazil shows as well as the fact they talked about important things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I was so glad to see Anderson's "Is There a War On?" comment. I just wish more TV news shows had at least acknowledged other things were going on in the world.