Honolulu Lite


Forecast is blustery
and a lot of hot air

Most people realize that a television weather person has to know a lot about sheer lines, cold fronts and tropical depressions. But few probably realize that a weather dude or weather babe's greatest talent is physical coordination.

They basically have to stand in front of an enormous, blank, blue screen and point to things that aren't there with the precision of a combat bombardier. The "things," like maps and charts of temperatures, aren't on the blue screen, they are on a television monitor out of sight of TV viewers. Through the magic of technology, they just appear to be on the screen behind the weather person. So weather reporters point to the blank screen while actually looking at the monitor, trying to coordinate their hand movements with specific images on the monitor. The thing is, weather reporters like KITV's Kathy Muneno and Ben Gutierrez are so good at it, they make it look easy. And that's where I screwed up.

I've been doing a version of Honolulu Lite on KITV's Monday morning program for a while now, watching how things are done on the set. Ben made doing the weather look so effortless and like so much fun, I wanted to give it a try. That's why if you happened to be up early last Monday and tuned to Channel 4, you might have seen me in front of a map of Oahu, futilely trying to make my hands stop over certain parts of the island, only to have them float off into the Pacific.

When I tried to point to Aina Haina, my hand insisted on hovering over the Waianae Range. Like a disembodied specter, my pointing hand drifted around the map, refusing to alight on any geographical location I might be talking about at that moment. Not only was it exceedingly difficult, it was actually dangerous. I mean, if you weren't careful, you could put your eye out.

I know nothing about weather, so I chose to turn the briefing into a cultural/political exercise. While I was pointing somewhere to the North Shore, I was saying, "Forecast for Honolulu is partly haole. As we move toward Aina Haina (hand points to Nanakuli) it becomes increasingly haole and in Hawaii Kai (hand points to Laie) it is mostly haole."

The report continued along those lines: "On the Windward side (hand over Pearl Harbor) there will be local highs in the 80s and high locals in the 30s."

Adding to the surreal effect of the enterprise was the fact that I was wearing a blue shirt so that to TV viewers, my upper body to appeared transparent with the map of Oahu showing through my chest. Considering the weight I've put on lately, being transparent was a good look for me.

I've totally got being a weatherman out of my system. It's way too tough. Now sports broadcasting, that looks like an easy gig. Sports anchor Robert Kekaula sits there, says "Hey gang" and then reads out some scores. How hard can that be?

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

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