Monday, August 28, 2006
The Importance of Being Ernesto
Our own Rita interviewed Ernesto.
WEATHER UPDATE. The rising young hurricane Ernesto is all over the news today, but it was our own Rita Cosby who managed to obtain an exclusive interview with him. Here is a transcript:
COSBY: Let me read what people are saying about you, Ernesto.
The National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch on Monday for the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula, including the Keys and the Miami area, as Tropical Storm Ernesto drew closer and threatened to strengthen....
At 8 a.m., the fifth named storm of the hurricane season had a top sustained wind speed of 45 mph, down from 75 mph Sunday. He was centered 20 miles west of Guantanamo, Cuba, and about 515 miles southeast of Key West. He was moving northwest at 12 mph.
"He has a good chance to regain hurricane status," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.
Ernesto had been the first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season and was 1 mph above the minimum for a hurricane Sunday, but he weakened as he headed toward Cuba.
The storm battered Haiti and the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and wind on Sunday...
How does this kind of press coverage make you feel?
ERNESTO: To be honest, Rita, it's a lot of pressure. Maybe you won't understand this, but us storms prefer it when people are rooting against us. It's an underdog thing. When the TV news guys say, "There's a good chance Tropical Storm So-and-So will lose strength over Cuba and then head out to sea," it gets our juices going. We play the music from Rocky. We work out. We get a sense of mission about smashing some rich tourist trap in the U.S. But this is different. When that Max Mayfield says, "He has a good chance to regain hurricane status," I just feel kind of deflated. How would he know? And, frankly, I don't like to be told what to do. Sure, I know, you all want me to knock the crap out of New Orleans again to show up that bastard Bush, but what's it to me? Does anybody care what I want to do?
RITA: Well, it's not just Bush. There's a lot at stake. The way it stands now, a lot of people are going to stop believing in Global Warming if the U.S. doesn't get pasted by about a dozen hurricanes in the next month. Doesn't that give you what you call "a sense of mission"?
ERNESTO: Look. I battered Haiti and the Dominican Republic. You think that's easy? I'm tired and I hurt all over. I can't help it if no rich meteorologists live in Haiti. Why is it all on me?
RITA: I don't want to be cruel, Ernesto, but this is your fifteen minutes of fame. You can sit around feeling sorry for yourself and fade into oblivion, or you can pump some iron, shatter a few cities on the Gulf coast, and be on TV 24/7 for months. Don't you have any ambition? Pride? Pluck?
ERNESTO: Pluck? That's rich. Look at me. You're bigger than I am. I happen to like being a casual 45 mph kind of guy. You like Category 4 atom-smashers, you go do it. You're built for it.
RITA: Are you calling me fat?
ERNESTO: Well... yes. You've got those big arms, and that great big tummy, and those legs. What would you call it except fat?
RITA: I'm big-boned.
RITA: I don't think you're being very nice.
ERNESTO: I happen to LIKE fat women.
RITA: I'm not fat. I'm big-boned.
ERNESTO. Whatever. Are you free any night this week?
RITA: Aren't you forgetting something?
RITA: Don't you already have dates with New Orleans and a few other southern belles this week?
ERNESTO: You starting up with that again? Forget it, then. You're too bossy anyway.
RITA: Does that mean you'll do your duty and take out New Orleans like we need you to?
ERNESTO: Tell you what. You go to New Orleans and wait for me. I'll be along in a jiff.
RITA: I suppose you call that wit.
ERNESTO: No. I call it incentive. Now I really must be going. I've got some weight training to do.
END OF TRANSCRIPT.
There you have it. Make of it what you will, but we think Ernesto is a slacker.