In what would be a surprise ending to the just-about-average 2007 hurricane season — which officially “ended” on November 30, not that Mother Nature cares about such artificial, human-imposed deadlines — a tropical or subtropical storm may form in the Atlantic several hundred miles east of Puerto Rico over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center has issued two Special Tropical Disturbance Statements on the system today, and Glenn Reynolds actually tipped me off via e-mail to an AP article about it. (That’s a first. Heh.)
Alan Sullivan, usually a skeptic when it comes to weakling storms, breathes nary a word about “count-padding” and states that “there is more and more model consensus that a tropical storm may form” out of what is currently being called Invest 94. By contrast, Dr. Jeff Masters is more skeptical, concluding, “I don’t expect 94L will ever develop into a tropical storm.” We shall see. If 94L does develop into a named storm, its name would be Olga.
Meanwhile, Dr. William Gray has issued his first long-range forecast for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, in which he calls for a moderately above-average season. Of course, as I’ve stated repeatedly — most recently in an Instalanched November 26 post — I think these forecasts do more harm than good because of their inaccuracy, the public misconceptions they inevitably create, and the charged atmosphere created by the politicization of weather that has taken hold in recent years. As Dr. Masters writes:
[Public scorn of these forecasts is] the inevitable result of a culture where seasonal hurricane forecasts, which are not very good, are excessively hyped by both the forecasters and the media. The forecasters have set them selves up for such shrill condemnations by putting out these very public forecasts, complete with press conferences, but not properly emphasizing the uncertainties and low skill of their forecasts.
To their credit, Dr. Gray & co. have tried to emphasize that point this year, stating in the abstract of their report: “These real-time operational early December forecasts have not shown forecast skill over climatology during the period 1992-2007.” In other words, they have no track record of success in meaningfully predicting anything. Dr. Masters writes, “By clearly stating their lack of forecast skill, the CSU team’s December 2007 forecast is a great step towards improving this situation. The public needs to know that these December forecasts as yet have no skill, and are unworthy of the media attention they get.” Indeed. Take note, MSM. (Eric Berger has a good post on this issue, too.)
The New England Patriots are 13-0 after a 34-13 win over the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers tonight — and with the 3-10 Jets and 0-13 Dolphins coming to Foxboro the next two weeks, it looks extremely likely that Tom Brady & co. will be 15-0 when they head to the Meadowlands for their December 29 regular-season finale against the 9-4 Giants.
P.S. As we marvel at the Patriots’ run toward the second unbeaten season in NFL history — and the first 16-0 season — let’s not give short shrift to the aforementioned Dolphins’ run at the first 0-16 season in NFL history. (Tampa Bay went 0-14 in 1976. No other team has gone winless for a full season in the modern era.)
Miami was routed 38-17 by Buffalo today, and is now three losses away from going 0-16. And the second of those games, as noted above, is at undefeated New England. The others are at home against Baltimore (4-9) next Sunday and Cincinnati (5-8) in three weeks.
The bitter irony for Fins fans, of course, is that it was the Dolphins who went an undefeated 14-0 in 1972, the very accomplishment the Patriots are now trying to surpass, even as the Dolphins try desperately to avoid the polar-opposite “accomplishment.” If Miami comes to Foxboro with a 0-14 record to face the 14-0 Patriots in two weeks — each having already tied the record, and looking to break it (or looking not to break it, in Miami’s case) — that historical coincidence will be a major topic of discussion. Especially once Tom Brady throws five touchdown passes in the first quarter, leaving the announcers with nothing to do for the rest of the game but wax nostalgic and talk about historical implications. Heh.
The NCAA women’s soccer national championship between USC and Florida State is underway, live on ESPN2, and the Women of Troy lead the Seminoles, 1-0 with 30 minutes left.
UPDATE: 2-0 USC with five minutes left!!
UPDATE 2: WOOHOO!!! The USC Women of Troy are your 2007 national champions!!!
P.S. In other news, the USC women’s volleyball team upset Texas on Saturday to earn a spot in the Final Four. Nice!
Julie Moffitt, the former SoCal VoCals singer (most memorably the amazing soloist on Total Eclipse of the Heart for the better part of four years), now has a budding independent music career — here’s her MySpace page — and last weekend, she was in Austin, Texas for the finals of FameCast, an online reality-show music competition thingy that awards $10,000 to the winner.
Julie writes all about the FameCast experience on her blog. She says that after two years of keeping herself grounded even as the gigs and the money have gotten better, her experience with a “total rock star lifestyle,” courtesy of FameCast, has her “hooked.” Heh.
Anyway, Julie is one of five finalists in the singer-songwriter category, and now it’s up to the online audience to decide whether she wins the big bucks. So, for those willing to help a Trojan out (or just interested in listening to some good music), here’s the link where you can watch Julie’s performance and vote for her! (You have to register before you can vote. It’s free.)
I particularly like the second song she does; it shows off her ability to really let loose and belt out the music with the same sexy, sultry edge that made her version of Total Eclipse such a highlight of the VoCals’ repertoire when we were at ‘SC.
The photo at the top of this post, by the way, is one that I took in 2002 when I was tailing the VoCals around the Bay Area for a photojournalism assignment that eventually also spawned a Daily Trojan article. Julie loved the picture and asked me to make her a copy, but I promptly lost the negatives, and only found them again just recently while going through old photo boxes. So, I have now finally sent her that copy she asked for, a mere five years late. ;)
UPDATE: Julie’s very excited to finally have that photo. She even blogged about it: “There was one photo in particular that I fell in love with, but somewhere along the way, it was lost, and though Brendan and I spent months trying to find it, eventually I had to give up and hope that one day I could recreate the shot. Until a few minutes ago, when I received an email containing [it] … Thank you Brendan!!” You’re welcome, Julie!
P.S. Julie isn’t the only SoCal VoCal from that era who is enjoying musical success. My other favorite VoCal alum, Bryce Ryness, is in a band, and last year he played Roger in the national tour of Rent. Oh yeah, and he’s married to fellow ex-VoCal Meredith.