Many people remember that the legendary Joe DiMaggio became the first American League player to make $100,000 a year when he signed in 1949. But how many people remember that John Ghiorse was reportedly the first $100,000-a-year weatherman in Rhode Island when he was lured away from Channel 10 to crosstown rivals Channel 6 in 1983?
P+J figure it must have been all that grandstanding, egotism, and flagrant self-promotion that got John the big bucks.
No, we are not at all serious. Like DiMaggio, Ghiorse is the furthest thing from flashy, but lets his game do the talking for him. The Ghiorse Factor has become a part of everyday life in the Biggest Little. Unfortunately, John will be taking that with him when he retires on February 27 from WJAR-TV, where he returned after leaving WLNE in 1998. But it is a testament to his drawing power that 'LNE thought they could use his popularity to drag themselves up into direct competition with the NBC affiliate, which has owned the top slot in the market since Art Lake had pimples and was admitting how old he was.
P+J have had the pleasure of knowing John for years. Although he has been accused of having all the pizzazz of an undertaker, he has always seemed to your superior correspondents to be observing the world with a constant chuckle from beneath those heavily-lidded eyes, with a demeanor that makes you question if the number of times his heart beats a day makes its way into double digits.
You can assume that while being appalled by many of the current generation of "meteorologists," who treat an impending one-half inch of snow like Chicken Little, he has had a good laugh about what the role of a weather forecaster has become to the alarmist generation.
John also devoted himself to community service in the Ocean State, where his fascination with all things marine-related was well known. It is tough to say whether or not we will miss him because, like a good umpire or referee, you often don't notice them when they are doing a great job. Which Ghiorse always did.
On the P+J Factor, we'll give you a 10, John. Happy retirement.
There are more changes going on at the Urinal, and we aren't referring to the ferocious and unfortunate number of jobs being "disappeared" on Fountain Street by the BeloJo overlords (for news on the latest cuts, see "'The beginning of the end?' Journal to cut 100 more jobs").
One little item P+J have come to enjoy is the very brief daily article that has been slotted into the front page in its entirety, eliminating the need to follow it inside to a jump page (which the editors make even more annoying when they skip it to an entirely different section). Yes, it is USA Today-esque, but has been handled well thus far. (Although space issues may have bizarrely affected a recent story about the aforementioned John Ghiorse by Donita Naylor which read, "[Ghiorse] and Connie, his wife of 42 years, like to travel, and they've never been to Australia, or Mt. Washington." Huh? How about "never been to Uganda, or the Rockingham Park dog track," if we're just pulling them out of a hat?)