PAT NEAL: Winter outages bring new challenges

It takes a village to get ready for the coming cold months.

IT’S TIME ONCE again for the annual winter weather forecast.

Last year’s forecast might have been wrong.

The year before, it could have been mistaken, but you can take this year’s to the bank.

It takes a village to get ready for winter.

You might want to form a block committee to make a list of things your neighbors should have in case you need to borrow them in an emergency, such as batteries, bottled mineral water and more batteries.

Bad weather can bring people together with a common sense of purpose.

Neighbors who haven’t spoken in years will be glad to see you when you pull them out of the ditch.

The bad news is that winter weather can leave us without electrical power for many minutes at a time.

This can be traumatic, because people are forced to endure being trapped together in the same home without television, computers or phones once the batteries go dead.

The average American spends 4.7 hours a day on their smartphones and about five hours a day watching television.

That’s a lot of battery power, but that’s nothing compared to what the kids need to keep their devices humming.

American teens spend about nine hours a day on various social media platforms, video games and television, often while doing their homework.

This is a huge issue in terms of society and human relationships and how young people are evolving in a social, emotional context, a famous know‐it‐all do‐gooder was quoted as saying.

But I used to reload shotgun shells while doing my homework and still pulled down a solid 2.50 grade-point average that made Mama proud.

Young people today are evolving a new intelligence that will allow them to thrive once the alien robots take over, if it hasn’t happened already.

There’s probably a video game with this theme on the market that could help you practice and cope with the situation.

Those children unlucky enough to be left behind without computers or smartphones can still rely on the good old boob tube to help survive the coming winter.

Going without TV could affect your quality of life.

In the average American home, TV is more than just a baby sitter.

It might be the most important member of the family.

While some concerned parents protest the violence, indecency and foul language, TV generally helps shape our children’s self‐image by combining inactivity, a high-calorie diet and an average viewing of 20,000 advertisements a year that seem to be mostly for fast food.

TV commercials are a multibillion‐dollar industry that is vital to the economic health of our nation.

The educational importance of television is only just now being realized.

The average child will watch 40,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV before reaching the age of 18.

In addition, electronic devices can fulfill a vital role in raising our children by keeping them off the streets and on the couch, safely online and far away from the random gun violence that plagues our nation.

That is why my winter forecast is vitally important.

People need to know that weather conditions during the coming winter event could create a ripple effect that might impact their electronic devices.

Unfortunately, the coyotes already have their winter coats.

The corn husks are extra thick.

The geese are flying past.

All of the signs point to a hard winter.

This winter will be cold, wet and dark.

It could be a real challenge to keep electronic devices on all winter, but I think it’s the least we can do for the children.


Pat Neal is a fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal