Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Pressure Is Even More Immense Than I Imagined

Doug from Colorado writes in with sharp criticism of my post on women's suffrage from Wednesday:

"the pressure was immense at 32.28 millibars" - Really?  The standard pressure at 23000 meters (approximately 75000 feet) is 34 millibars (See this chart for details.)
"After a full day of fiery speeches...."  - Dang, tough boys, those politicians; a full day of fiery speeches in the "Space-Equivalent Zone"

Though I suspect that anoxia could account for quite a bit of the, shall we say, atmosphere in most political settings. 8-)

Yes, Doug, a clever analysis. But what you failed to account for was the transverse Doppler effect of the prevailing northerly cold front moving into Western Tennessee on August 18, 1920. For if you would have corrected for this in your Van Allen conversion of the squared hypotenuse of the cumulonimbus ratio, you would have obviously seen that I don't know what I'm talking about.

Yes, Doug is right. (There I said it, are you happy now, Doug?) Upon further review, 32.28 millibars of pressure is appropriate for the atmosphere 14.2045455 miles above the Earth. Directly above Nashville, TN that is!

But that pressure is not immense and I accept Doug's rebuke on my accuracy. Lesson learned, never drop in a Steve Cannon joke without properly researching the science behind it.

For those unaware, Steve Cannon was a huge radio personality for decades in the Twin Cities. A member, no less, of the prestigious Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame (located in the holy city of St. Louis Park, MN).

Back in the 70's and 80's he did a show called the Cannon Mess on WCCO. Every time he read the weather report (which, given WCCO's format, was like 6 times an hour), he'd say the temperature, the humidity, and "the pressure is immense at 32.25" or whatever it happened to be at the time. (Thanks to Doug, all these years later I find out he was quoting pressure in inches of mercury NOT millibars).

I surmise the "pressure is immense" line was a reference to the sports casting cliché about the pressure being immense for the players at various times during a game. Cannon delivered that line hour after hour, year after year, and, believe it or not, it was always funny. Not LOL funny, but genuinely, reliably amusing. Something about the juxtaposition of the context of the word pressure and the fact he'd include an obscure and meaningless meteorological statistic in the weather report, combined with his straight forward delivery, equaled enduring comedy magic.

Come to think of it, Canon's schtick has to be the stylistic inspiration for most of the routine of the Joe Soucheray "Garage Logic" show on KSTP. He uses multiple self created cliché lines per hour. Including the weather-related "more proof of global warming" after the the daily high and low temperatures are read. I never thought of that before, but it's obvious.

Speaking of being overly derivative of Cannon, we had such an incident a few weeks ago on Northern Alliance Radio. We had correspondent Chumley Wunderbar on, reporting on his recent travels to San Francisco. When he started using a voice reminiscent of a stereotypically flamboyant denizen of that fair city, I accused him of ripping off Backlash LaRue (a Cannon voiced character).

Reviewing Cannon's page from the Museum of Broadcasting , I ran across this picture. (Left to right, Morgan Mundane, Backlash LaRue, Steve Canon, and Ma Linger.) I think this proves Backlash LaRue was the first alternative lifestyle host in the history of Twin Cities radio. Cannon, amusing and a pioneer for gay rights. No wonder he's in the Hall of Fame.

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