Things have been some kind of hectic for me thus far in 2014...and that's why I'm just now posting for the new year. (Just glad to be back!)
Hope this new year is treating you right thus far.
At this very moment, Winter Storm Leon is treating America's Southerners far from right. And it's also dogging people in this country's Northeast.
I just got through visiting Wikipedia to do research for this post...and I found out that only The Weather Channel is naming winter storms.
That's right...and that means that not even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (whose National Hurricane Center has been giving names to that kind of disaster since 1953, using girls' names only from that year until 1977, when boys' names were added to the mix) wants to go along.
And AccuWeather isn't even in the game.
In fact, 2013-14 is the second winter in which this division of NBC Universal Media, LLC has been giving names to winter storms. And that's only if the storms prove disruptive, according to TWC senior director Bryan Norcross.
The network gets its names from Greek, Norse, and Roman mythology. (Last winter, blizzards and near-blizzards were named after deities such as Athena and Gandolf.)
When I first found out that the winter storms were getting their own labels, I got a crazy thought in my mind:
"What if, instead of naming winter storms after Greek/Norse/Roman gods and goddesses...they named winter storms after brands of cigarettes?"
Yeah, I know. It's a crazy thought.
But I figured that, first of all, cigarettes have been proven to be health hazards. (Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities came up with the first evidence way back in 1926; the studies continued over the next 26 years before the doctors and the scientists found a way to make them public so that everyday people could dig it all. And even then, the research continued for years to come.)
And think of all the deaths winter storms have caused through the years. Matter of fact, this year's first major winter storm (labeled Atlas by the TWC folks) took eight lives.
Each winter, The Weather Channel comes up with 26 names for blizzards and near-blizzards. And that's the same number of names NOAA annually uses for hurricanes.
Now if you go to www.cigarettespedia.com, you'll find that enough brands of smokes have come out all over the world to cover A through Z. So you wouldn't have to restrict the labeling of winter storms to American brands- current and defunct alike.
Even so, you'd have more of a case if you used brand names that are the same as people's first names...like Kent or Carlton or Raleigh or Winston (or even Adam, a brand Liggett Group marketed for a little while in 1973).
Well...there are two strikes against naming winter storms after cigs (depending on your point of view, those strikes could be lucky):
First, this country's tobacco companies would object. You can imagine some industry spokesperson saying: "Our products give people pleasure! How dare you name winter storms after our fine products!"
And here in America, cigarette commercials were taken off TV and radio on 1-2-1971. (It could've happened on the first day of 1971 if the networks hadn't given the tobacco companies one last lick...that last lick being the chance to sponsor the New Year's Day bowl games.)
Just remember: NASCAR's Sprint Cup, previously called the Nextel Cup until Sprint bought that wireless company out, was- for a long time- called the Winston Cup.
Oh, well...this was just a thought.
How do you feel about the network of Wake Up with Al giving names to winter storms? Is it helpful...or is it, as so many critics contend, self-serving?
I'm Jim Boston, and I hope you're having a ball here in 2014!