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Jeff Lindsay is an author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue. See for more info.
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Friday, February 01, 2008


News Flash! News Flash! Appleton Experiences Winter - and SNOW!

I don't watch much TV, but the other night I was something of a captive audience during the 10 pm news from a local TV station. It was a cold day with a dangerous snow storm. Yes, some cars were in the ditch, so I wasn't surprised that there would be some coverage on the weather. And with the Packers out of the picture, I guess I wasn't surprised that the weather was the big lead story. But after 60 seconds, they were still talking about it. It was snowing. It was cold. And roads were snowy and difficult. Two minutes went by. There were some more pictures of snowy roads. Hey, the same picture we saw before of cars in a ditch. Three minutes. Then interviews from local residents. Ooooh, cold. And yes, roads were a mess. Hard to drive. Especially in the snow. And wind. Cold. Icey. Four minutes.

More photos of some snowy roads. Five minutes . . . six . . . the same cars were still in the ditch. Wise People came on and urged locals to be careful when driving in the snow. They warned against driving into ditches. Plus it was real cold. Eight minutes . . . nine . . . cars, going off the road, into that same old ditch, now undoubtedly overflowing with stranded cars. Look, there's snow outside. It's winter. A reporter was on the street, talking in the snow. My goodness, there were flakes falling right as he spoke - snow! TEN MINUTES!

The channel was changed to another local channel, right as they were concluding with some kind of news - apparently some people were running for president somewhere in Florida or some other southern country. But that story ended right as we got there, just in time to cut to the a big story: SNOW! Yes, surprisingly, in the northern land of Wisconsin in the middle of winter, there is - stop the presses - occasional snow! People are driving in it, and sometimes they lose control and go into the - SWITCH back to the first local channel. Now after 15 minutes into the broadcast, it looks like they just did a quick story on some kind of non-weather event - was it something about some kind of war in Iraq or suicide bombers blowing up their campaigns for President or has Canada invaded us again or - I don't know, because it was just a subliminal flash of actual news before RETURNING TO THE LEAD STORY FOR TONIGHT, THE WEATHER. Yes, Appleton has an outdoor component and tonight, our outdoors were experiencing weather, cold weather, suspiciously like winter weather, and what must have been a first in all of history based on all the news coverage, there was actually snow coming down with all that weather and making roads slippery. But the ditches aren't slippery, they are actually quite sticky, so if you go into one you will be stuck. And look, here's photographic proof. Cars stuck in a ditch. But they looked suspiciously like cars from 1992, taken by some fool who took his video camera out on the road and ended up getting stuck in a ditch, but making stock footage that would last for decades.

Snow - it happened right here in Appleton, on Jan. 29, 2008, the kind of night that TV news anchors live for, the night that will be forever known as "The Day It Snowed In Appleton and Some Cars Went into the Ditch."

And I thought the Wisconsin news blackout was over when the Packers lost their chance to go to the Superbowl.
And...on my 37th birthday no less! Oh, how I miss you, Appleton Snow. 13 years on the West Coast, 10 years with non-stop San Diego sun, have me YEARNING for a 20-minute local spot on snow and ditches! Thank you snow...for snowing on my birthday. I miss you.

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