Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Strange Saga of a Geographer and a Weatherman

While I am enjoying Labor Day this story is too odd to pass up.

The great Geo Lounge links to the story of Dr. Melanie Renfrew and a Californian weatherman, Fritz Coleman. Apparently Renfrew was in violation of a restraining order by repeatedly contacting Coleman. Renfrew complaints was that Coleman was allegedly misusing the terms on-shore and off-shore winds. Coleman felt a restraining order was needed, which a judge granted, because Coleman believed Renfrew's behavior was unstable and threatening.

Dr. Renfrew has a blog which has her side of the story, namely the post entitled Is this North Korea, now? Renfrew claims she merely pointed out the error and Coleman was making something out of nothing.

The story gets a bit odd when one examines the blog posts Renfrew tried to delete. In one post she wonders who would play Coleman in a musical about the events. Another deleted post gives her side of the story as does a deleted public letter. A fourth erased post is terribly saddening yet oddly insightful. Renfrew may have cancer (prayers for her) yet it ends with
"I’ve lived life to the fullest, and want to bless others to do the same thing. I speak truth to set others free and laugh. “A merry heart is good like a medicine,” and cruel people hurt me very much." (Emphasis mine)
This story combines several elements of my own experiences. I know several good weathermen and a weatherwoman (yes, she does prefer that term) who have told me that they attract all sorts of weirdos who vent rage at people who are on TV everyday with a significant margin of error of being wrong. Meanwhile, some other geographers (myself included) have geographical pet peeves we hate to see including geographic inaccuracies. Sometimes we just have to let it go or risk mirroring this sad, odd story.

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