A Rime of the Ancient Reporter

2013-02-21_14-24-07_285Parking in the Lot on a Snowy Morning
by Bob Frost Priddy

Whose lot is this I think I know.
The owners are in another part of town, though.
They did not see me parking here
Too early for the lot to fill up with snow.

My little car must think it queer
To park without a carport near
Upon the lot near frozen street
In this, the short month of the year.

My little car is white, you know,
It blends into the blowing snow.
Later I’ll borrow a broom to take
Away the product of lightning, wind and downy flake.

The parking lot is slick, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And newscasts to do before I sleep,
Upon the cot in the closet I keep.

This is Winter Storm Q.
Who the heck decided to start naming winter storms?  And why in the name of Heaven did they think winter storms NEED names?

As fans of James Bond movies know, “Q” was the guy who came up with all of the Bond gimmicks.  And that’s what we’re dealing with today.   A gimmick.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial yesterday noting that the United Nations World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland determines the names for tropical storms and hurricanes.  There are specific criteria for determining that a storm needs a name.  It does not give winter storms names.

This winter storm-naming business is a gimmick dreamed up by The Weather Channel.  The Inquirer says the Weather Channel is pretty vague about the criteria it uses to name these things.  It refers to the channel’s explanation as “comically vague.”  The channel announced its gimmick last fall. The Inquirer notes the channel originally wanted to call storms names like Gandolf, Khan, Rocky, and Yogi (as in the cartoon bear, not the Missouri-native catcher). The newspaper says the National Weather Service quickly “warned its meteorologists not to dignify the network’s first winter storm designation ‘Athena’ with a mention.”  The Inquirer calls this Weather Channel naming  business “a depressing attempt to disguise empty hype as empirical analysis.”  And the editorial concludes, “How long can it be before this pseudoscientific system mutates to encompass even more unremarkable weather patterns?  We might as well brace ourselves for Heat Wave LeBron or Stiff Breeze Bieber.”

Maybe they need to hire Bob Frost Priddy as their Snowet Laureate.

Frankly, we believe Missourians can call storms like this a lot of names—and probably are.  Our own Mary Farucci came in this morning to announce she had bashed in her car’s tail light on her mail box.  We are too much of a gentleman to ask her what she called this storm when that happened. And we hope that she is too much of a lady to tell us.

We’ve been startled by lightning and thunder mixed with the snow here at the Learfield Mother Ship, the headquarters of the Missourinet and the Brownfield Network. The news staffs are making sure all of our programs keep going out no matter how deep the snow becomes.  We have the cot in the closet.  Brownfield’s ace market reporter, John Perkins, has an inflatable mattress. The engineers have turned on heaters on our satellite dishes to make sure ice and/or snow buildup does not interrupt our services, incoming or outgoing.

The legislature showed admirable foresight in sending people home a day early yesterday.  That’s good because it means we don’t have to go to the capitol today.  Heck, we don’t have to go anywhere today.  Thank God for pizza and sandwich delivery folks who are willing to risk life and fenders to deliver a six dollar sandwich on days like this.

Others are pushing snow off our roads and throwing tons of salt that we’ll have to get rid of in a car wash next week on the pavement.  We don’t lift a toast to them often enough for what they do in times like these.

Most of Missouri is going to be dealing with this winter storm in various ways.  Some have referred to it as the worst winter storm to hit Missouri in two years.  But it’s hard to think this will be anything like Snowmageddon of 2011.

And just about everybody we’ve talked with agrees that it’s good that it’s February.  It’s hard to get too discouraged on snowy days when you realize that baseball is being played somewhere today.

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