John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The worst of this prolonged wind-whipping from Sandy is hopefully behind us, so it's time to start choosing candidates for 2012's Biggest Hurricane Idiot.
We're starting to emerge from the worst of Sandy, even if we don't yet know when life in the Northeast will get back to normal. In the meantime, it's time to start choosing candidates for 2012's Biggest Hurricane Idiot. You'll recall the winners from last year's Hurricane Irene, including Virginia Beach's parade of shirtless meatheads and (sorry, fellow journalist!) this unfortunate, sewage-covered TV reporter.
Without ado, let's begin:
1. Naked Horsey Jogger-Man
This guy in Washington, D.C., spotted a news crew outside his home, rushed to put on a horse's head and pranced down the street like a ninny:
Analysis: Classic news-anchor photobombing, with a big plus in the form of an unusual prop. Points awarded for wearing almost nothing when there were blizzard conditions in West Virginia. Minuses: He's not in any real danger and, by his own admission, he should've worked out beforehand so we really had something to stare at.
2. Men Under Crane About to Fall
The view from underneath this giant, broken-in-half roof crane in Midtown Manhattan is impressive, but it's not one I'd like to experience personally:
Analysis: If that titanic machinery did fall, the spray of jagged metal debris could conceivably take off the head of the videographer. Also, riot gear is not a falling-crane prophylactic. However, you got to think the authorities know what they're doing in establishing a perimeter – New York is the city of perimeters! In conclusion, maybe not idiots.
3. The Sea-Doo Swashbuckler
This fellow saw a chance to cruise his neighborhood in Manasquan, New Jersey, in a whole new way, leading one YouTube commenter to deadpan: "NJ is now a utopian water world. A wasteland run by gangs on Jet Skis. Only the chosen one can bring peace to NJ":
Analysis: Okay, that's pretty dumb. Between the land objects lurking just underwater and possible flying debris, jet-skiing a flooded neighborhood in a hurricane isn't something you want to do. But at least the waters are fairly calm, reducing the risk this nimrod will fall off, flail in the surf and drown. (Note the house on stilts: That guy certainly isn't part of this contest!)
4. New York City Thrill Doofus
It's like this man heard about the Jersey Shore jet-skier and thought: I can be way stupider. Here he is navigating the monstrous waves pushed up by Sandy in the damn South Street Seaport:
Analysis: Life-threatening tomfoolery? Check. 180-degree reversal of what they teach you is safe hurricane behavior? Check. A jet-ski, itself a sign of cretinism? Oh yeah. Ding-ding-ding! I'm calling a preemptive winner here, folks!