By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 2/2016

The Great Blizzard of 2017. Never forget. We will rebuild.
The Great Blizzard of 2017. Never forget. We will rebuild.


To provide a welcome break from all those pesky (and constant) political news stories that either upset us, confuse us, or make us really mad, welcome to slow news day, snowstorm edition!

After the horrific snow apocalypse winter of 2014-2015 (Actual record 105” of snow in Boston and constant Nor’easters that winter) these past two years have been relatively calm. Why?

It’s all due to global warming, which was discovered a few weeks ago or something and as a result we only got a few small storms these past two winters. Despite the polar caps melting and the planetary temperature increasing by something like 100 degrees every month, global warming had an upside – less snow. But hey, I’m a glass half-full kind of guy.

Then, on February 2nd, the groundhog used #AlternativeFacts to discredit the science of global warming, and BOOM! It started snowing again and again (disclosure: I did absolutely NO research for this piece, because everyone knows science is stupid and research is for boring people, at least that’s what I learned on Face Book and Twitter).

Anyway, to cheer everyone up during these snowstorms, I thought we could play a game. When it snows in New England, we get round-the-clock TV coverage about the SNOW. Bermuda could start firing nuclear missiles at Aruba the same day five diseases are cured and Isis is defeated and the lead story on the news would still be SNOW.

So, join the fun, take a break from real news (or #fakenews, depending on your political point of view) and play… The TV SNOW COVERAGE GAME

As you watch the endless TV news coverage of the snow storm, give yourself one point each time whenever:

  • Snow is referred to as “Breaking News.”
  • TV Station makes its coverage seem VERY official by calling it “Storm Force” or “Storm Team” or “Weather Event Central” or “Weather Center.”
  • Someone is shown shoveling snow or scraping their windshield. Two points if the reporter comments on the ice-scraping sound – “That was the sound heard around Boston this morning…”
  • The number of reporters in the field covering the storm is more than seven.
  • The commute is referred to as “frustrating” or “slow.”
  • Reporter interviews a snow plow driver. Add a point if the driver says, “We’ll be out all night.”
  • Anyone uses the term “Shelter in place” or “Hunker Down” or “If you don’t have to go out, don’t.”
  • Station displays a screen at Logan Airport that shows at least one flight has been canceled or delayed as its introduction to the reporter at the airport.
  • Someone files a report from a grocery store. Two points if they stand in front of shelves with no bread/milk.
  • There’s a reminder to check on the elderly.
  • A reporter interviews someone buying a shovel or rock salt.
  • Crashing waves/surf are shown.
  • Meteorologist uses the word astronomical to describe the high tide. Two points if the tide is not astronomical and that is noted.
  • The term “rain/snow line” is used
  • The Meteorologist says there may be scattered power outages. (Ya think?)


Give yourself two points whenever:

  • Reporter steps into the snow to show the viewer how deep it is.
  • The computer models vary on the path of the storm.
  • The specific number of pieces of snow equipment is mentioned (“We have three thousand, seven hundred fifty one pieces of equipment out there.”)
  • Reporter holds up a handful of snow to demonstrate its texture and consistency. (“Look, this is SNOW!”)
  • Someone is interviewed who says they have seen a lot of snow storms where they live and you just get used to it.
  • Reporter asks someone at Logan if they are upset their flight was canceled.
  • TV station shows a reporter driving inside their car and all you see is their windshield and the road. One more point if the windshield wipers are NOT on and it’s not even snowing where they are driving.
  • A driver says that it took them much longer to get from A to B than usual. Example: “It took me two hours to get from Quincy to Braintree.”
  • Meteorologist is OBVIOUSLY disappointed that the storm is NOT going to be as big as expected.
  • There’s an interview with a jogger who jogs no matter what the weather.
  • Official makes a report from the FEMA bunker
  • News anchor echoes what anyone just said just to sound informed, example, “That’s good advice, be careful driving in snow.”
  • Town you have never heard of is mentioned. “Our trained snow spotter in Bayport Massachusetts says…” “Record wind gusts in Pine Valley New Hampshire.”
  • The term “Jackpot Zone” is used to describe the place that will get the most snow


Give yourself three points whenever:

  • The severity of the storm absolutely does not warrant it being the first story on the news. For example, Brazil invades Canada but THE SNOW is still the lead story.
  • Someone is doing something really stupid during the storm, for example, surfing. Or standing under crashing waves as they demolish a seawall. Or shoveling snow off a ten story roof.
  • Reporter cannot stand up because wind and snow keep blowing them around.
  • Any comparison is made to the current snowstorm and the blizzard of 1978.
  • Anyone mentions Plum Island. Two more points each time they go back to the scene on Plum Island. Two MORE points if they mention that every time a storm hits Plum Island is washing away/eroding.
  • The storm has passed a town/city but the reporter is STILL there and it’s not snowing so they have to go back to tape and say “This was the scene earlier here today…”
  • Elected official makes a speech wearing a sweater/sweatshirt to show they’re just like us ordinary folk.
  • Precise definition of a BLIZZARD is given
  • The “Jackpot Zone” is the Foxboro / Mansfield area (Hint: It ALWAYS is)
  • Anyone mentioned that Red Sox spring training is coming soon.


Well, hope I made you laugh! Be sure to save this column — With all the seemingly endless stream of controversial news happening these days, hopefully this snow game will give you a welcome opportunity to go back to the good old days when all we had to worry about was a snowstorm.


Gotta go now, have to get the milk and bread!

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