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The Lighter Side Last Updated: Mar 5th, 2007 - 01:33:23

A television snow job
By Walter Brasch
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 5, 2007, 01:29

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With more than a foot of snow, sleet, and ice falling over much of Pennsylvania, the television news teams went into overdrive. This may be an accurate description of one of those minute-by-minute broadcasts.

�I�m Harry Hansom. co-anchor Polly Prattle just called. Her car slid into a ditch about eight miles from the studio. Fortunately, she had her roller-blades, and is skating furiously to get here so she doesn�t lose a day�s pay. We begin our team weather coverage with chief meteorologist Hugh Miditty.�

�Based upon detailed computer analysis and extensive satellite monitoring, available only through our exclusive Poplar Eye-Witless Weather Watch System, we can trace an upper level atmospheric low-pressure system that formed just east of Phoenix, traveled north to I-80, then cruised east where it hit dead-center with another low-pressure system coming north from spring training in Florida. Or, maybe it began in New Jersey, and then ran a doughnut of isobars around Pennsylvania. As you know, a lot of bad things begin in Jersey. Before the storm leaves to drop two feet of hail on Bermuda, we�ll have anywhere from five inches to three feet of snow and sleet. Or, maybe, we�ll just have a foot or so of acid rain that�ll burn the paint off every car in a hundred mile radius.�

�Thanks, Hugh, for a report that got real deep. We continue our extended and comprehensive team coverage of the snow emergency with Flake Sepulveda.�

�From high atop our All-News Roof, I can tell you there�s a heap of snow out here. Let me fight the bruising wind and go to the edge of the roof and take a closer look. It appears . . .�

�We�ve lost communication with the roof. Let�s check traffic with Barry Blades in HeliCam 2.�

�It�s real white out here. I can�t see the road, but it looks like I�m a little south of Manitoba, and up to my rear rotor in snow. I�m also running out of fuel. Back to you, Harry.�

�For a ground-level view, we go LIVE to Susie Sweetwater.�

�I�m standing in the middle of a large parking lot. It seems to go on forever. The drivers have kept their motors running, but for some reason they aren�t moving onto the interstates.�

�Susie, I believe you�re standing in the middle of I-80. Have you seen any snow plows yet?�

�No, but that white stuff is all around me. As you can see, only my Gucci snow hat is visible at the moment. If my dumb cameraman hadn�t broken his leg trying to get 100 pounds of equipment out of the all-weather WFAD News VW bug, we�d have even better pictures of nothing.�

�Thanks Susie. Now to Bob Covina, LIVE at PennDOT headquarters. Bob, we understand there are thousands of cars on the interstates, and PennDOT crews are nowhere to be seen.�

�That�s right, Harry. It�s a matter of safety. It�s dangerous for the workers to be out in this kind of weather, especially when there�s all those cars, buses, and trucks they�d have to dodge on the interstates.�

�Do you have any idea when PennDOT might begin to clear the roads?�

�It�s past 6 p.m. now, so I guess when management comes to work around 8 or 9 tomorrow we�ll have a better idea.�

�Thanks, Bob. We have a special satellite link to the command center of the county�s Emergency Management Agency, deep within the reinforced bunker of Mount Melmac. Ethel, you�ve been EMA director 20 years, what�s your county doing to provide emergency assistance?�

�Nothing yet, Harry. We weren�t told to do anything, so we haven�t done anything. But we�re all here in the command center just waiting to answer telephones if anyone calls.�

�Thanks, Ethel, keep us posted on the fine work you�ve been doing. Now, LIVE on Second Street is Kiki Vertigo who�s been interviewing residents about their response to the snow.�

�With me right now, EXCLUSIVELY on Second Street, is resident Homer Bigeloo who has a snow shovel. Homer, what are you doing?�

�I�m shoveling snow.�

�Have you been shoveling long?�

�I don�t like snow.�

�How long haven�t you liked snow?�

�A long time.�

�Thanks, Homer. I�m Kiki Vertigo, LIVE on Second Street. Back to you, Harry.�

�Another great interview, Kiki. Right after this message from Mendocino Frozen TV Dinners, we�ll be back with an abbreviated �World in 60 Seconds� edition, and special 15-second reports about the nuclear war in the Middle East and the break-through discovery of a cure for cancer.�

Walter Brasch, a national award-winning journalist and professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, says cabin fever and watching TV newscasts can warp a person�s mind. You may contact Brasch through his website,

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A television snow job