Monthly Archives: July 2014

Weather Wednesday – This Is A Test

Hello and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I will talk about something that may seem like an odd topic on the surface but it is really quite interesting if you think about it. The weekly test on Weather Radio throughout North America varies from both Canada and the US from state to state and from province to province. It has also changed from day to day over the years.
Many years ago, it used to be once a month on the first Monday of each month, with the 1050 Hz tone. When I would listen to Toronto XMJ225 on the TV I would try and catch it and I sometimes did, when I was home. At some point it switched to Wednesdays and it is how it is today, with both 1050 Hz tone and SAME. In the case of SAME it is done every week and the monthly test is also done on the first Wednesday every month near noon.
There was a time when watches and warnings would not allow the tone alert test to happen and I actually made a phone call about it and that is what I was told back in August of 2006, when this happened. Now this hasn’t happened since SAME became part of the weekly and monthly tests.
in the US it varies and some transmitters do the test on Tuesday evenings as apposed to Wednesday mornings. In their case they do postpone the test if severe weather is possible, until the next good weather day. I have actually heard this happened on Buffalo KEB98 a few times. It happened once when I was going through a major ailment during the Christmas holidays in 2011. It can be rather jarring when your Weather Radio goes off when you’re trying to sleep and you find out that it is only the weekly test on a Thursday.
There were some videos on Youtube of people and their receivers going off with a weekly test and that is how I have found out most of the information for this weeks post. There was even one called Weather Radio Madness, which had a whole bunch of tone alert radios and SAME alert radios going off at the same time. I have tried to make it happen to me and well, I have come close to it happening like that a few times with my scanner, my SAME Weather Radios and my Marine handheld transceiver all going off around the same time. I also find it interesting that owners manuals for Weather Radios say that the weekly test is done between 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. every Wednesday, local time. All I can really say about that is hmmm!
One thing I would like to see is a National or a North America wide test of all Weather Radio transmitters on a certain date every year. If it happens this could possibly encourage those who have Weather Radios to keep them humming and to watch them for the flashing light, if they don’t give the audio for most tests. I don’t know but I would like it to happen in the next couple of years or so. There was a National EAS test on November 9th either 2011 or 2012 and I don’t know if it was broadcasted on NOAA Weather Radio or not. If it was I missed it on the Buffalo NY transmitter.
If you have any comments you can reply here or email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
Also, for more weather stuff you can subscribe to my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter mailing list by emailing me at wxrnewsletter@gmail.com and I will send you all the issues so far. You will also receive the next issue when it comes out.
Another blog you may want to follow alongside this one is from Phil Chadwick. He is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada and his specialty was severe weather. Here is the url.
philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Check it out if you are a weather nut. He has stuff in there that I didn’t even know. Well, after all, he did work for Environment Canada for many years and he retired in 2011.

Simpson’s Sunday – The Simpsons Movie: 7 Years Later

Hi and welcome to another post on this Simpsons Sunday. This week I’m going to talk about The Simpsons Movie, 7 years later.
I’m not going to try and give you the full story because it would take too long and you can get it from a better sourse. However, I will give you my comments on certain parts of the story.
I thought that Ned Flanders playing a more predominent roll with Bart was unusual but rather nice. The fact that they went fishing together was cool and we find out that Bart always expects people to strangle him when he does something stupid.
As for Lisa, it was nice that she had a boy friend in the movie… namely Colin, who had just immigrated from Ireland and feels the same way Lisa does about the environment. It would have been sweet for the relationship to continue into the TV show but that was not to be.
In Homer’s case, well, Homer screws everything up for both him and his family… also the entire town of Springfield. He dumps a silo full of feces into Lake Springfield and it gets the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency, headed by Russ Cargill. He proposes to the president of the United States five options and the president chooses option three. This of course is putting a dome over the entire town. I hope nothing like that ever happens with any town in Ontario that I know of.
As time passes and the Simpsons family escapes we also see the town plunge into chaos and there is an eventual crack in the dome. Russ Cargill goes to the President with another option, which he tricks him into allowing. This is of course Option 4, killing everyone in Springfield with a powerfull bomb. Hmmm, the crack in the dome… I would guess it’s from everyone in Springfield throwing what ever they could at it. Is that right Mr. Cargill?
Eventually, Homer and the rest of the Simpsons family are back in Springfield from Alaska, via different means. Russ finally meets Homer after the dome has been shattered by the bomb, after Homer and Bart manage to get it outside the dome. Everyone is unhurt except for Dr. Nick, who is speared by a large chunk saying “by everybody” and falling over.
Russ is about to kill Homer when Maggie drops a boulder on his head. Does this Kill him? Some sources say yes but I’m not quite so sure. According to the descriptive video commentary the Boulder knocks him out. All though Simpsons Wiki has him in the “deceased characters” category.
Anyway, the whole family is reunited and Lisa manages to find Collin again and they go off to get ice cream. Once again, sweet moments when Homer and Marge are reunited and Lisa finds Colin.
That is a smidgen of the story involved in the movie. For more on the movie check this article out.
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/The_Simpsons_Movie
As for another movie, Al Jean says they won’t do one unless it is something they really believe in. I don’t blame him for that because it must have been really intense having to work on both the TV show and the movie at the same time. Let’s not forget that everyone who voiced parts in the movie on the show also had other things on their plates as well.
I think it is cool that a band like Green Day managed to get a spot in the movie, as they were playing a concert in Springfield near the beginning of the movie. Oh, let’s not forget Itchy and Scratchy at the very beginning. I’m glad the version I have is descriptive and it tells me what is going on, or else I wouldn’t have a clue what is happening outside the dialog.

Oh, let us not forget homers pet pig named either Harry Plopper or Spider Pig, depending on which part of the movie you’re watching. At first he was named Spider Pig, according to the song Homer sings. Later on, Homer called him Harry Plopper. Need I say more? If so, just watch the movie again.
This week 2 reoccurring guest voices celebrate birthdays. They are: Albert Brooks and Jon Lovitz. They have both have very successful careers in their own rights and have both at one time, done standup comedy and all manner of acting.
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Albert_Brooks
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Jon_Lovitz
They have both voiced and guest starred as characters other than themselves. I think they both have done a great job thus far and hopefully they continue to guest star on the show.
As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
I’m sure he has been asked repeatedly who will die in the premier episode Clown In The Dumps and well, I don’t envy him having to give an answer such as “I can’t give it away.” Folks, read the title of the episode and the plot as we know it now… Krusty is planning to retire. It doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the one who is killed off. Then again, maybe but I will reserve my comments as to who will be taking the dirt nap.
Well, that’s it for this weeks post.
ps This week I am thinking of a friend of mine, who is a fellow Simpsons fan. She has to read a eulogy for her lifelong friend who passed away a few months ago. She will remain nameless but I am keeping her in my thoughts today, especially.

Weather Wednesday – July 21st 2011

Hello and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I’m going to talk about July 21st 2011, from my perspective. This is because of the 2011 heatwave and the resulting very hot temperatures which occurred that day here in southern Ontario. To start with, the proceeding days before this very hot day were also hot and humid. There were advisories for high humidity and smog in effect from the beginning of the week up to that point. This was foretold in the extended forecasts that it would be very hot with temperatures around 39 Celsius and 102 °F.
Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for Environment Canada Geoff Coulson puts it this way in my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter in the 4th issue from August 2012.
“The special heat “warning” issued last year was due to a number of factors…concerns of very high humidex readings, the fact that the event had been going on for a few days and also that Quebec (which has a different system for dealing with heat alerts) had a “high heat warning” in effect…so there was a desire for some form of consistency between Ontario and Quebec. However, the differences between the way Quebec handles these episodes and how we do continues…more work needs to be done on the national stage to develop a more consistent system…as well as developing meaningful criteria that are regionally specific (i.e. different criteria for Windsor than for Winnipeg when it comes to heat / humidity like we currently do for wind chill). This work is ongoing but we are not likely going to see much change for the next few years.” I will have more on this later in this post.
On Thursday July 21st it was indeed very hot but even I wasn’t prepared for the weather warning that was issued around 11 AM. My Weather Radios all went off with a SAME alarm and the sound was as if there was a problem. I actually thought that we were in for another watchdog event. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out previous posts on Weather Wednesday topics. I didn’t clew in to what had happened untill I heard the canned message that a severe weather bulletin was issued. The text said that it was a “weather warning” and this was dew to the high heat and that it had been going on for a few days, prior to this date, with the same warning issued throughout most, if not all of Ontario. There were also severe thunderstoorms which had developed in parts of the province and combined with this weather warning it was a very interesting day.
I had decided to take a short trip up north to Barrie because i could. The only upset I had was that my bus was a half an hour late but everything else went off without a hitch. I even stopped in at my local convenience store and they even had to keep all the chocolate bars refrigerated because of the high heat from outside.
It also resulted in meeting someone on my Ham Radio, who is just as passionate about Weather Radio as I am and we actually met in person the following Wednesday in Barrie. All and all it was a typical day, despite how hot it actually felt outside. I actually didn’t mind it outside; it’s when you are indoors it becomes a real nuisance, if you don’t have air conditioning. Unfortunately, I do not have air conditioning at this time.
As of April 8th 2014 some of the warnings have been changed to advisories and some advisories have been changed in favour of warnings. The new heat and cold warnings are an example of this and I have a feeling that the 2011 heatwave and that generic weather warning for Ontario must have played a part in making the change. I don’t know but that is my theory.
Well, that’s it for this weeks post. If you have any comments you can reply here or email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
Also, for more weather stuff you can subscribe to my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter mailing list by emailing me at the address above. I will send you all the issues so far and you will receive the next issue, when it comes out.
Another blog you may want to follow alongside this one is from Phil Chadwick. He is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada and his specialty was severe weather. Here is the url.
philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Check it out if you are a weather nut. He has stuff in there that I didn’t even know. Well, after all, he did work for Environment Canada for many years and he retired in 2011.

Simpsons Sunday – What Could Have Been

Hello and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week I’m going to continue my occasional foray into what could have been. Every so often I think about people who have been dead for years and wonder if they would have gone on the show.
Before I give you my subject for this week I should tell you that the reason I mantion them is because they have a connection with the show as either a reference or as a connection to someone on the cast and crew. For example: Harry Shearer worked with Jack Benny when he was 7 years old. This was of course, back in the days of Old Time Radio and it was still in its prime. My Dad got me into it as a kid in the late 1970s and very early 1980s.
This weeks subject as a possible guest that could have been is Jim Henson. The question is, would he have made a guest appearance on The Simpsons if he hadn’t died in 1990?
This is one of the more difficult ones because of his involvment with both Sesame Street and the Muppets show. I know that most of his iconic Sesame Street characters, such as Kermit The Frog have appeared on The Simpsons in some form or another. Here’s the proof.
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Kermit_the_Frog
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/The_Simpsons
After thinking about it I think he probably would have appeared on the show if Bart would actually learn from his actions and they would have to change his character to reflect this. Otherwise, I don’t know if he would have guest starred on The Simpsons as himself. All though, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer have appeared on Sesame Street. Check this video out with Hank and Elmo. I initially got it from Hank, when he retweeted last fall.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmyy3pIZ8I0
Now that I think of it most of Sesame Streets most famous characters have appeared on The Simpsons. If you go on Simpsons Wiki and look for crossover characters in the characters section you will find plenty of them from many different places. I am still trying to get a handle on how many characters there actually are on the show, aside from all the regulars and secondary characters. Let’s not forget the ones who have appeared once, either on the show or in the 2007 movie.
As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
Hopefully I can help her make this company a household name in shoe design. Here’s hoping this can come true some day.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and it is still going strong, despite how week more recent episodes are perceived by most people. I think it will continue for as long as it is fun for those involved with it and when it becomes a tedious experience then the show may end. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Weather Wednesday – Summer Polar Vortex?

Hello and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I’m going to ask the question, what’s all this about a summer polar vortex?
I have been reading about it on Twitter from one of the main weather people in the US on the Weather Channel and others here in Canada too. I also heard about it on mainstream radio on a rock station of all places, in Toronto Ontario.
Apparently, this rare summer polar vortex originates in northern Ontario and will affect parts of the Great Lakes and the Midwest United States. I have even heard that temperatures may dip to below 10°C or 50°F at night. I have also heard that some of the highs in parts of northern Ontario might be as low as 11°C or 52 Fahrenheit with lows around 3°C or 38 Fahrenheit. That is cold for this time of year and hopefully this doesn’t spell an early end to summerlike weather. Even the all-star baseball game in Minnesota was affected last night, when they had to take precautions because of the cool weather. Oh, the American league won the game last night, so they get home advantage for the World Series this year. Let’s hope the Toronto Blue Jays can pull it out and get into the playoffs and maybe, just maybe, get to play in the World Series once again.
In Southern Ontario we may be just brushed by it with hi’s of about 20 degrees Celsius or 68°F and lows of around 11°C or 52°F at night. Thankfully cloudy skies will keep the temperatures relatively warm compared to some areas. It is kindof like the January thaw in a way and people in the future may refer to it as the midsummer cooling. I don’t know if that phrase will make its way into our vernacular but I can try. Can’t I?
Well, that’s about it for this weeks post. If you have any comments you can reply here or email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
Also, for more weather stuff you can subscribe to my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter mailing list by emailing me at the address above. I will send you all the issues so far and you will receive the next issue, when it comes out.
Another blog you may want to follow alongside this one is from Phil Chadwick. He is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada and his specialty was severe weather. Here is the url.
philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Check it out if you are a weather nut. He has stuff in there that I didn’t even know. Well, after all, he did work for Environment Canada for many years and he retired in 2011.

Simpsons Sunday – Heavy Metal Simpsons

Hi there and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday post. Over the past week or so, I have come to realize how much the shows scope extends to many many different areas of show business, time periods and life in general. If you look at all the people who have guest starred on The Simpsons you will know what I mean. From time to time I have devoted posts to bands and people who have been on the show and this week is no exception.
This week I’m going to talk about another of my favourite Heavy Metal bands, the very influential, Judas Priest. They have been around for 40 years and have released 17 studio albums, with their latest album Redeemer Of Souls coming out this past Tuesday. They have shifted styles of metal over the years from time to time but have always stayed heavy. Of course, they wouldn’t be where they are today without singer Rob Halford and his high pitched style. He guest starred on The Simpsons on the episode Steal This Episode, parodying the classic Priest song Breaking The Law, singing instead “Respecting The Law.” On the show they were called a death metal band and some fans didn’t like that. The Simpsons producers apologized for this but I had no problem with it.
The fact that they were mislabeled is not a slap in the face but a sign of being misinformed and well, I guess, ignorant. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the producers of The Simpsons were even close to being misinformed or ignorant by any means. This is a comedy and sometimes you can get a laugh by stretching the truth.
Actually, Judas Priest does play some songs which are quite fast in the vain of Motörhead and early Metallica in the form of songs like: Exciter and Freewheel Burning. When you stop and think about it, speed metal is related to death metal and other extreme sub-genres of this form of music so it’s not that far from the truth. Also, the band were thought of as a punk band at one point in their career. Honestly, they were labeled as a punk band during punks first wave in the late 1970s. So, why are we surprised when The Simpsons calls them a death metal band?
The fact that they were called a death metal band is funny to me because it exposes some people’s miss categorization of a specific genre, dew to age. When you get to a certain age, you think anything that sounds a certain way is all the same and there are people who actually still think Van Halen is heavy metal. Well, maybe they are but they have stretched out their sound over the years and are much more tame than more current bands like: Pantera, Lamb Of God, Slipknot, Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn and many others from the mid 1990s to today.
If you want an example of a real death metal band, check out Cannibal Corpse. They are both musically and visually very very disturbing. Check out the movie Metal: A Headbangers Journey. There is some stuff in there that even scares me, and I am a fan of this kind of music. I’m not going to get into detail about burning churches and other things discussed because it would take up space and we are getting away from The Simpsons. So, I digress.
Of course, Judas Priest isn’t The Simpsons first metal band. Don’t forget that Metallica guest starred in Season 18 as themselves and they were naturally funny. When I heard that Rob Halford was going to guest star I was like “wow! now The Simpsons is the coolest show ever.” I wonder if anyone from Slipknot will be on the show. If they do choose to get on, they will be the only characters I have met in real life. I have detailed this in a very early post.
Oh, let’s not forget that Spinal Tap also were on the show during the Season 3 episode The Otto Show. If you know the band well, you know that Harry Shearer who is one of the principal voice actors on the show, also portrays Derek Smalls, the bass player for Spinal Tap. If you want to get technical, they were the first heavy metal band on the show, ever.
Before I get onto other stuff I will pose this question to you. If there was no Judis Priest would there be a band like Pantera? I don’t think so because of the influence on their first album Cowboys From Hell. You can hear some Rob Halford type vocals in most of the songs with high screaming parts.
Oh, you can also connect Pantera to The Simpsons through: singer Phil Anselmo. One of his other bands Superjoint Ritual, which features bass player Hank Williams III. On the episode The Last Temptation Of Krust, his Father Hank Williams, Jr. sings the song Canyonero. Well, it’s true and I’ve been wanting to make that connection in this blog for a while now.
As for Simpsons news this week, Harry Shearer has been nominated for an Emmy award for the first time, for voicing Mr. Burns. Also, the sound editors of the show have been nominated for Emmy awards. I certainly hope they win.
Also, it is now official that the season premier of Season 26 will be on Sunday September 28th. The episode Clown In The Dumps will be the season premier and I for one, am looking forward to it. Obviously, because of the character death. Once again, I refuse to speculate on it because I don’t want to get all caught up in it now. I’ve already done that when it was announced last October and right now I am just going to wait and see who it is that will be taking the big dirt nap.
As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and it is still going strong, despite how it seems to be not as good as it was in its prime.

NOAA And Weatheradio Canada

Hi there and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. I’m going to try and discuss the differences between NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada in today’s post.
If you know me at all, you know I try and listen to as much traffic on my scaner, Ham radio and my Weather Alert Radios as I can. This has resulted in this post. I enjoy hearing two-way radio transmissions in and around my local area because it’s fun to hear all the good stuff that nobody else gets to hear, without a receiver. So without further ado, here are the difference is I discovered between NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada. The differences are mostly brought about by Weatheradio Canada and how it currently works, for the most part.
Weatheradio Canada used to give us a synopsis of the kind of weather we could expect in the public forecast, NOAA Weather Radio still does this for the most part.
Weatheradio Canada used to include the climate data in the broadcast cycle until some time in the 1990s, NOAA still includes it.
Weatheradio Canada used to also give us the forecasts across both Canada and the US, NOAA Weather Radio hasn’t ever done this, to my knowledge.
Weatheradio Canada uses both SAME and the 1050 Hz tone separately when issuing short fuse warnings, NOAA Weather Radio has both SAME and the 1050 Hz tone inside the warning message before the EOM tones. In fact, Weatheradio Canada only uses the 1050 Hz tone for: severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, as well as for the 1050 Hz tone test and when Weatheradio Canada goes into watchdog mode. Actually, the latter is the only time when both SAME and the 1050 Hz tone are heard on Weatheradio Canada, inside the SAME message. This is to turn on all Weather Radios, whether they are the new SAME model or the old basic 1050 Hz tone alert model.
The voices that are heard on Weatheradio Canada are real live people generated through computers, NOAA Weather Radio uses computerized voices to give us all the information we hear.
When watches and warnings are issued Weatheradio Canada just states where the warning or watch is for. NOAA Weatheradio reads out the entire bulletin and sometimes reads out special weather statements.
Whe a tornado warning or a severe thunderstorm warning used to be issued on Weatheradio Canada the broadcast was temporarily suspended due to severe weather in the local area. It would be brought back to normal when the severe weather has passed. NOAA Weather Radio has done this and I have a feeling it still does this to this day. Unfortunately, I can’t verify it. 
When Weatheradio Canada has a technical problem it usually stops updating for 3 hours and goes into watchdog mode, by alerting all Weather Radios and staying in the short cycle until it is resolved. With NOAA Weatheradio there is no real way to tell if the local transmitter is in trouble, unless you turned on the receiver and heard a short cycle message.
That is all I could think of that is different about NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada. At least they both give us the weather when we need it, provided the local transmitter is on the air.