When forecasting the weather, the weather people say 20 percent chance of rain. Why can't they say 80 percent chance of nice? I've heard that one prerequisite to economic recovery is consumer confidence and positive attitude. Could this begin with the weather forecast? - Dan
Sounds like a good idea. Problem is, the National Weather Service is obligated to take the glass-is-half-empty approach.
Jim Pringle, the weather service's warning coordination meteorologist, points to the agency's mission statement to "protect lives and property."
"By law, we must emphasize inclement weather. Only the National Weather Service can issue weather warnings in the United States. So we have to focus on inclement weather, unless 'fair' is the only weather possible," Pringle said from his Grand Junction office.
The weather people are not Negative Nellies. They are just doing their job.
Pringle points out that the weather forecast also is subject to a positive interpretation.
"If we say there's a 30 to 40 percent chance of rain or snow, we're also implying that there's a 70 to 60 percent chance of no inclement weather in the forecast area," the meteorologist said.
How one construes the forecast information is a personal choice. So let's not expect the government or its agencies to provide an emotional stimulus. They're busy enough with the economic one.
An attitude adjustment is something we should do ourselves. When it comes to rose-colored glasses, the hometown spectacles magnify a bright horizon far better than any lens issued from Washington.
Keep the sunny side up when it comes to "bad" weather. Take last week's surprise snowstorm.
For many people, the mid-April snow was a slap in the face from Mother Nature.
Instead, think of the needed moisture the storm brought, and we all had a chance to throw the season's last snowball.
Let the National Weather Service predict the percentage chance of inclement weather, then "do the math," subtract from 100 and find sunshine on a cloudy day.
Why don't bicycle riders take a driving and written test like everybody else does before they are allowed to ride on public roads? Believe me, there are some cyclists that could benefit from some instruction. Why don't bicycle riders pay a license fee and have plates mounted on their bike for ID? Why don't they pay any fees at all (to my knowledge) to help pay for bike lanes constructed just for them - and then complain if things aren't just right? - Rosemary Reese
Mandatory licensing, education and testing for bikes might seem like a good idea, but it's really not going to make the roads safer or more civil.
Heck, motorists must take tests and buy licenses - but that doesn't stop bad driving, red-light running, aggressive tailgating and other menaces.
But the fact is, most bike riders do pay their own way with taxes and fees.
"I know of only three people in this county who only own a bike and not a car," said Ed Zink, the sultan of cycling, potentate of pedaling and guru of gears.
"Everyone else has a vehicle - so they do indeed pay to fund and maintain highways," he points out.
And regarding bike license plates, they already are widely available from tourist shops and trinket stores. They feature a wide selection of popular first names.
When Action Line was a wee lad, grandma bought a license plate that said "Mike."
How cool was that, riding up and down the street on a spiffy, red five-speed with a personalized tag from grandma?
Maybe the Durango Wheel Club could start the trend of those mini license plates.
And why not? Cyclists don't seem to have a problem with plastering geeky names all over their stuff.
Just look at the typical bike jersey. It's covered with names, logos and endorsements for which the cyclist is not compensated.
So why not have one's own moniker mounted below the saddle?
E-mail questions to actionline@
durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald,
1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
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