The LA Times features a lengthy profile on Gary England today. The article was written by Oklahoma-native Hailey Branson-Potts. It chronicles Gary’s rise from a young rascal in Seiling to the life-saving severe weather deity he is today.
From the LA Times:
At 73, [Gary England] has chronicled some of Oklahoma’s most devastating storms in this part of the nation, known as Tornado Alley.
England got started in 1972, when he stood in front of cameras with chalkboards, not computer graphics, providing the visuals. He is credited with developing faster and more accurate methods of predicting tornadoes and often issues warnings before the National Weather Service.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Gary England saved my life,’ ” said Keli Pirtle, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Wait for it…Wait for it…
A popular Oklahoma City blog recently voted England the most influential person in the state; Jesus came in second.
Yep, I guess we’re that popular Oklahoma City blog. Cool, huh? In 2009 we did rank the 50 most powerful Oklahomans and Gary England did come in at number one. He ranked ahead of super humans such as Chuck Norris, Jesus Christ and Barry Switzer. Normally, we get all feisty and come after the local media when they refuse to mention us by name, but we’ll let the LA Times exclusion slide. This is because a) it’s the LA Fucking Times and b) we are not worthy enough to be mentioned in his presence.
In case you didn’t know, we’ve worshipped and idolized Gary England since this site began in 2007, so I thought it would be fun to look back at some of his greater moments. This list excludes, of course, the time we sacrificed that lamb next to Channel 9’s doppler radar. Apparently that’s frowned upon by the OKCPD.
1. Gary England Making the Daily Show
Back in 2007, News 9 produced a super scary and now kind of chilling commercial about tornadoes. Around the same time, Jim Inhofe made comments that the Weather Channel was trying to scare people into believing some crazy conspiracy by scientists know as “Global Warming.” Somehow, the Daily Show found out about the two and tied them together. If you’re looking for a bit of levity, watch it. It’s kind of hysterical:
Before we get to the list of songs, I wanted to go over a couple of things:
1. The Ogle Mole Network was able to raise over $5,000 for disaster relief this week at our FREE Team Trivia Nights at The Speakeasy and Local. I know it’s not $1-million dollars or anything, but it’s awesome to see everyone united and doing what they can to help our friends, family and neighbors in Moore, Newcastle, Shawnee, etc.
2. We are still looking for raffle items for Saturday’s Help Moore Benefit Concert. If you work for or own a local business and would like to contribute something, send us an email. So far, we have about $2,000 worth of items to raffle.
With everyone feeling a heightened sense of state pride right now, I thought it would be neat to take a look at some songs that are either about or related to Oklahoma. The tracks range from the mainstream to the obscure and are totally random.
Here you go:
1. Hosty Duo – Oklahoma Breakdown
Great song. It’s a shame that some Red Dirt dude gets most of the credit for writing it.
2. Billy Gilman – Oklahoma
Outside of the lyrics, vocals and annoying 12-year-old Scottish boy singing about a topic that belongs on Maury Povich, this isn’t that bad of music video. Also, am I the only one who just learned this song even existed? I guess it was a hit in the 2000s. Suddenly, I don’t feel so ashamed for liking Linkin Park.
That graphic pretty much sums it up.
This Saturday, we are presenting a special benefit concert at the 51st Street Speakeasy to help raise funds for our friends, family and neighbors in Moore. 100% of all door proceeds and 10% of all bar sales will be donated to the Central and Western Oklahoma Red Cross.
Additionally, we will have a charity raffle featuring items donated by local businesses. We’re still working on the details, but here’s a list of some of the places that have already committed to donating gift cards, goods or services. For a complete list, visit the Facebook event page later today:
• Samuel Gordon Jewelers ($750 Gift Certificate)
• The Wedge Pizza
• Picasso’s Cafe
• Deep Fork Grill
• Savory Spice Shop
• Black Optical
• OKC Comedy
If your business would like to donate something, send us an email via the contact page. Unless you’re that Nigerian Prince. If that’s the case, leave us alone and go bother The Pioneer Woman.
Anyway, here’s a little bit of info about all the bands who have graciously donated their time for this cause. It’s quite a line up. I think it gave Ryan from Oklahoma Rock the vapours:
While watching all the carnage and destruction on TV and online today, you’ve probably found yourself asking “How Can I Help?” There are plenty of ways. The easiest is to donate to The Red Cross or Salvation Army, where a $10 donation can feed a disaster survivor for an entire day. You can also drop off donations and supplies to the local news channels or Feed the Children. I’m sure there are a bunch other groups, churches and organizations also seeking assistance and volunteers.
One thing we are doing is turning this week’s Free Team Trivia Night’s (Tuesday: Speakeasy; Wednesday: LOCAL) into fundraisers. If you’re looking for a little fun, a temporary escape from reality, and a way to help out all the disaster victims, I’d encourage you to come out. We will donate 100% of our proceeds directly to the Central and Western Oklahoma Red Cross. That includes cash prizes for the winning teams. Additionally, we’ll accept any type of donation (canned goods, bottled water, diapers, toiletries, you name it) at the door.
Here are details for both venues. We hope to see you:
51st Street Speakeasy: Tuesdays @ 8:00pm
1114 NW 51st St
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Local: Wednesdays @ 8:00pm
2262 West Main Street
Norman, OK 73069
I feel the need to say something about yesterday, but after thinking about stuff, I have no clue what to write.
Living with severe weather is a part of every Oklahoman’s life. It’s something you learn to respect, fear and deal with. I should know. I’ve lived here my entire life. Boring, huh?
During May, severe storms are always in the back of your mind. Prep work starts at a young age. Before we learn how to read, we’re taught the difference between a watch and a warning. Parents show their kids which closet is considered the center of the house. We see the footage, the damage, the destruction. We see how powerful these monsters are.
Despite all that, nothing can truly prepare you for the destruction and rage and horror we witnessed yesterday. We’ve been through our fair share of tragedies in this state. That doesn’t lessen this strike’s blow or make us heal any faster, but our history with tragedy does offer comfort. We know we will heal and come back stronger. It’s how we do it. It’s the Oklahoma way.
I experienced my first tornado warning in the mid-1980s. I took cover with my parents and little brother in a neighbor’s in-ground storm shelter. There wasn’t a tornado on the ground – just circulation and a wall cloud – but the experience was terrifying. I remember the sounds of shrieking tornado sirens and hail hammering down upon the shelter’s steel roof. I remember looking up at my dad and him making a funny face. It was his way of saying everything would be fine. When the storm let up, I bolted out of the shelter to a sea of hailstones. I gathered up the largest ones and put them in the freezer.
When I reflect on that moment – and the fear I felt while tucked away safely inside a storm shelter – I can’t help but also think about the scared kids at Briarwood or Plaza Towers Elementary School. I think of their fears, wonder what thoughts raced through their minds, and if everything turned out okay.
And then I realize I have no clue what to write.
Out of respect to all the victims of the Moore tornado, we’re going to take a little break from our usual mix of content. We still may post updates on news and fundraising activities, but that’s about it.
If you’d like to help with relief efforts, please do two things:
• Keep all the victims in your thoughts and prayers
• Donate to the Red Cross by clicking here or texting REDCROSS to 90999
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