Cloudy with a chance of meatbags

Or, a weather app with attitude

Not to rain on your parade, but have you noticed how often it hasn’t rained on your parade? Weather forecasts have been notoriously inaccurate since the beginning of the pandemic due to the reduction in commercial air traffic. Without the data gathered by those planes, meteorology has edged closer to astrology. 

In an effort to determine how chancy that chance of showers really was, I went searching for a more accurate weather app. In the process, I was insulted and intrigued by Carrot Weather, one of a suite of products made by screenwriter-turned-developer Brian Mueller. This nifty app pulls from all the best sources and is infinitely customizable, but what really sets it apart is how often it calls you a meatbag.

The idea behind Carrot is simple: Instead of communicating in a flat, bland, Helvetica tone, your apps could use more attitude. And so Carrot has made a threatening to-do list, a mocking calorie counter, snarky seven-minute workouts, and a sentient alarm clock. But lightning really seemed to strike with Carrot Weather, which delivers a wisecrack with every forecast.

The gags are on the level of the crazy credits in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker movies — not enough on their own, but wholly additive when unexpected. When they work, they’re a nice example of surprising creativity.

And where it really gets fun is in the settings. Remember TARS, the giant sarcastic robot who gave the best performance in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 movie Interstellar? Just like Matthew McConaughey, you can toggle the tone of your pet AI from Professional all the way to Overkill, with results as follows:

Professional:

Overcast conditions from 11 am to 1 pm, with rain expected at 2pm

Friendly:

Are you enjoying these clouds, human? I can send more if you like.

Snarky:

This is some nice weather you’re having. Would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

Homicidal:

I swear I did not generate this perfect weather because an assassin paid me to get you out of your house.

Overkill:

Those aren’t clouds on the horizon, it’s just smoke from an explosion at a meth lab.

Layered on top of these options is a political filter, which can be set to Apolitical, Centrist, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Communist, or Anarchist. In my experience the double filter resulted in joke overlap, though who’s to say a Snarky Centrist wouldn’t join a Friendly Anarchist in smirking at a line like “It’s a perfect day to moon your boss from a safe enough distance that you can’t unquestionably be identified.

Could climate anxiety be a factor in the success of Carrot Weather? If you buy the joke theory that a punchline is a release of tension, a joke in the midst of a neverending heat wave may help. And as Sarah Lazarovic recently observed, neverending heat tends to induce a zany levity on its own:


Carrot’s latest feature is Weather Reports, wherein you can film yourself reading a scripted forecast. This seems like the perfect blend of screenwriting and software development: It taps into the TikTok zeitgeist and makes you the comedian, not your phone. Though as my phone told me this morning, “You’re not a real meteorologist until you’ve forecasted a storm by reading animal entrails.”

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Quick quips; lightning

Weather forecast for tonight: Dark”
— George Carlin

“The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.”

— Charles Bowen

“Heat, madam! It was so dreadful that I found there was nothing for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones. ”
—  Sydney Smith

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This was Get Wit Quick No. 112, but with the humidex it feels more like 140. Phil Connors said it best: “Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they’re gonna have some very, very tall trees.” Looking ahead to the weekend, my book Elements of Wit: Mastering The Art of Being Interesting will be clement. Don’t forget to smear 100+ SPF sunscreen on the ❤️  below until it looks like 🤍.