augury doggerel

Monday, February 11, 2002

Chalk, Weather

The trick of forecasting and televising the weather has changed a bit since I was first planted in front of a television. A happy man named Percy Saltzman would chalk tomorrow's wind and rain on a blackboard map and, when he finished, toss his chalk in the air. A big change came when Percy moved behind a map painted on glass. Looking out through a world in reverse, he wrote in grease pencil the Fahrenheit temperatures backwards for us on the other side of the glass. It must have made for some bar trick after work.

Supposedly, folk can now divine the weather more than a week in advance with good accuracy, but I now know the forecast never mattered, not to me. I am no sailor or farmer. I get a little wet or a little cold or a little warm. I am happily surprised by big changes in the weather; I enjoy when the rain or snow catches me out somewhere. And if Percy is still on this side of the glass, I hope he has time to think more about yesterday's weather than tomorrow's.

On the bus: Chaucer. At home: Andrew Marvell. At the pub: this.


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