Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it*

Cheeky though it be, I would like to amend Mister Twain’s tongue in cheek meteorological observation. I would change it to: “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody gets it right.”

*Quote by Mark Twain

Cheeky though it be, I would like to amend Mister Twain’s tongue in cheek meteorological observation. I would change it to: “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody gets it right.”

Environment Canada, I’m looking at you.

Also the Farmers’ Almanac.  And my barber. And the guy next door. And the farmer I buy my eggs from.

And of course the ever-smirking, bouffant-coiffed weather mannequin who closes off the nightly TV newscast. They are, all of them, wrong, wrong, wrong.

If they predict sunshine, we get drizzle. If they call for calm winds I know my windows will rattle and my roof may need shingle transplants. “Zero precipitation” in the forecast might mean anything from monsoon rains to horizontal sleet to hail the size of Guinness-worthy gallstones.

But that’s okay.  Everybody makes mistakes (ask Michael Ignatieff).  What galls my stones is the fact that … they never apologize.

Ever! You will never hear Environment Canada issuing ‘Our bad’ corrections. Nor will the world ever witness the weather mannequin shuffling on to our TV screens murmuring “Boy, we really screwed up yesterday’s forecast.”

I know, I know — I’ve crooned this dirge before. But I resurrect it today because finally (alas, too late for Mister Twain by a little over a century) somebody has done something about the weather.

Ready for a forecasting service that actually makes you feel good about impending climactic conditions?

There’s an app for that.

Seriously.  It’s called ‘Optimistic Weather’ and it’s available as an Android application that you can download for free. What you get is an accurate assessment of the current weather conditions for your locality, plus a forecast for the near future.

I have no idea what’s coming down from the sky where you live right now, but according to Optimistic Weather, tomorrow will be better — perfect, in fact.

How can I be sure? It’s easy.  Optimistic Weather forecasts always deliver just that — sunny skies, balmy breezes, nary a drop of rain in sight.

Even when an incoming weather system is undeniably nasty, Optimistic Weather tries to put a positive spin on it. If a massive blizzard is on the way, the app turns into a cheer leader. “Come on!” it urges, “This is not the end of the world! Maybe the storm gods will get bored and this will all just go away!”

Sure, they’re lying through their rose-coloured dentures — so what? A conventional forecast that predicts tomorrow will be crappy has only about a 50 per cent chance of being right — and it’ll bum you out 24 hours before.

I think the comedian George Carlin delivered the only truly accurate weather forecast in his Hippy Dippy Weatherman skit years ago:

“Tonight’s forecast: dark.  Continuing dark throughout the night and turning to widely scattered light in the morning.”

Let’s be honest: tomorrow, most of us aren’t going to plant a crop, captain a fishing boat or parachute out of an airplane.  Ergo, we don’t really, really have to know what the weather is going to be. What we could use — as always — is a tiny dose of good news. Voila — the Optimistic Weather app.

Alternatively, we could resolve to adopt a whole new attitude to weather. 

John Ruskin was an English philosopher and critic whose lifespan almost duplicated Mark Twain’s. Here’s his take:

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of weather.”

Sounds like a fair forecast to me.

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