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  Wisconsin Weather Workers: Solstice Party Skit


This skit was written by graduate students for the Solstice Party at the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department (AOS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The humor in this skit relies on the audience's insider knowledge of the AOS department. Relying on "inside jokes" is typical of workplace humor. The characters are well-known faculty members, and the skit pokes fun at each faculty member's habits and personality.

For example, Jon Martin, introduced elsewhere in this lesson, is a Boston native, and is portrayed in the sketch as a rabid Red Sox fan. Steve Ackerman, another character in the sketch, is well known in his department for being constantly on the road and difficult to find. The authors of the skit, graduate students themselves, joke about the plight of graduate students and the amount of work expected of them. "Milan's" is the name of a popular sandwich restaurant conveniently located across the street from the AOS building. The skit is a parody of the popular reality television show "Survivor" and allows the student authors to mock their professors and themselves within a familiar context.

Solstice Party Grad Skit December 2000


  • Announcer
  • Hitchman
  • Tripoli
  • Martin
  • Morgan
  • Houghton
  • Young
  • Ackerman (never seen)

Announcer: It started out with a dozen AOS faculty, taken from their secure little offices with leaky windows and dead flies, and placed on a deserted tropical island. They have no electricity, no computers, and no Milans. Here they compete in reward challenges and every few days they meet in a tribal faculty meeting to vote off one of their own. They started out as a dozen, but now only 7 remain. They must outsmart, outwit, and outlast each other to become the lone survivor. Which faculty will it be?

Scene 1: Tripoli and Martin are together. Tripoli is wearing a sombrero, and Martin is wearing a Boston Red Sox Hat.

Martin: Boy is it hot here. I could really go for a nice extratropical cyclone right now. Good thing I brought this hat with me to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Tripoli: You brought that hat with you?

Martin: Yeah, it's my luxury item.

Tripoli: That's a pretty stupid luxury item.

Martin: Well what did you bring that is so great?

Tripoli: See my hat?

Martin: You brought that?!?! And you think my luxury item is stupid?!?!?

Tripoli: No, I didn't bring this. But I used my luxury item to have this made.

Martin: You brought a hat maker?….a really ugly hat maker?

Tripoli: No I brought the best luxury item ever invented. See that coconut tree down there? Look at the top of the tree. See that big blob up there, that's my luxury item.

Martin: (squinting in the distance) It looks like….

Tripoli: (interrupting) That's right. It is. I brought a grad student as my luxury item. A grad student will make hats, pick coconuts, catch fish, and build shelter and all in the hope of someday graduating.

Martin: Now that's a luxury item.

Scene 2: Houghton and Young are out for a jog and pass Morgan on the beach.

Announcer: Tensions are beginning to build on the island. Alliances are being made. But what these alliances are remains unclear. With the early removal of Liu and Wingruth it appeared to be an atmospheric vs. oceanic alliance. Then with the removal of Petty, an old faculty alliance seamed to be voting off the newer faculty. Then it was Kutzbach, and Wang who left. Could the real alliance be a 14th floor alliance? Or are the faculty just tired of each other?

Houghton: (to Morgan) Hey Michael, what's new?

Morgan: The letter after mu! Ha ha ha. You get it?

Young: I am really getting tired of his humor. I think I am going to vote him off the next time, even if he is a fellow MIT graduate.

Houghton: Not me. I'm getting rid of Ackerman. Do you realize we have been here for 3 weeks and we have only seen him once! No one seams able to pinpoint his exact location. He always appears to be en route.

Scene 3: Reward Challenge, all are present.

Announcer: For this weeks reward challenge you must all work together to forecast the weather for tomorrow. You will have 2 hours to make your forecast. If you are right, you will all get a sub sandwich from Milans.

All: (collectively say) Mmmmmmm. Milans!

Morgan: Don't worry. I brought my palm pilot with. It has the MM5 programmed into it. This will be easy.

Tripoli: MM5!?!?!?! Are you crazy! The NMS is the only mesoscale model that is worth anything in this world! Give me that piece of crap model. (Tripoli grabs for palm pilot)

Morgan: Don't touch my palm pilot!!!!

Tripoli and Morgan get into a fist fight.

Houghton: Stop fighting!! Can't we all just get along. This is turning into an utter disaster!!!

The end result is Tripoli throwing the palm pilot into the ocean. Morgan breaks down and starts crying.

Morgan: How can life go on without my palm pilot? What will I do?

Young: Don't worry. I brought my trusty legal pad and pen as my luxury item. We will just have to forecast the old fashioned way. (Starts drawing a picture and holds it up for the group to see) So, if we are here.

Martin: Where is here? Locations have names. Cities have names, states have names. Places have NAMES!!!!!

Young: But we were dropped off on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere….we don't know where here is!

Martin: Never mind, continue.

Young: So as I was saying we are here, just to the left of the troughy thing.

Martin: Troughy thing, troughy thing?!?!?! What are we, the Weather Channel?

Tripoli: I think he is talking about the long rectangular box near the beach. The one where the wild horses come to drink.

Martin: Oh, that troughy thing. Never mind continue.

Young: So what do we know about the weather around us right now?

Hitchman: The weather is what it wants to be. The winds that blow are winds. The winds that don't blow are calmness. Only a wind itself can choose its true path of justness in a cruel world.

Houghton: Come on, let's keep on task, people. We don't have all day.

Morgan: If only I still had my palm pilot!

Tripoli: If only I hadn't sent my grad student through shark infested waters to get me my morning coffee.

Martin: If only the Boston Red Sox were a good baseball team.

Young: Okay, let's think about the task at hand. This reminds me of a time in 1972 when we had a power outage but the forecasting went on…….

Announcer: One hour later.

Young: ...so that was how the first diagram of a thunderstorm was made.

Houghton: We have to keep working. We are running out of time! This exercise has been a complete failure.

Hitchman: I just realized something that may help us. Us being here on a deserted island, it is like us being here on a deserted island.

Morgan: Hey! Look out at the ocean. I think that is a cat 4 hurricane coming towards us.

Tripoli: I think you are right Michael.

Martin: I think it is safe to say rain, high winds and complete destruction for tomorrow. Do we get our Milans subs now?

Tripoli: I hope my grad student gets back in enough time to build us a radar out of coconuts, so we can get some good observations of this hurricane.

Announcer: Tune in next week, as our AOS faculty battle a viscous cat 5 hurricane and vote to determine who will leave next. Will the MM5 vs. NMS fight cause a break-up of the 14th floor alliance? Find out in our next episode.



Sponsored by:
Wisconsin Arts Board CIMSS UW Folklore Program