Friday, January 28, 2011

How dare they tow abandoned cars?

The Washington Post has an article today about the bad luck of the people whose cars were towed after being abandoned during the recent snowstorm.  The article's editorial perspective, however, seemed to me a bit odd. may have good reasons for leaving your car on the side of the road (or in the middle of an intersection, in the case of one person interviewed for the article). But trying to make villains of the towing companies is a little bit difficult in this case, since they were helping clear the roads so that other people could get around. So the article seems to demonize those who refused to stop.

"I helped push seven cars out of trouble, but then when I looked back, I couldn't get no one to help me," he said. So he left his Oldsmobile Alero on the side of the ramp, and started the long walk to a Giant to get a ride from a friend.

Well, can you blame them?  Look what happened to you when you stopped to help other people.

In the tale of the woman who left her car in the middle of an intersection, the article writer tries to introduce a little class warfare:
For almost 15 minutes, she tried to wave down every passing car. A string of BMWs and Audis passed by, but the drivers wouldn't make eye contact, as though even a look would oblige them to help.
(Disclaimer: Dr. Snowpanic gets around town in a 2001 Honda -- with four-wheel drive, of course.) So who stops to help her? "A short man driving one of the oldest, most beaten-up cars she'd ever seen." Of course -- I also picture him as balding, with a potbelly.

There is plenty to criticize in the response to the storm -- towing should be more systematic, so drivers know where to retrieve their cars.  Maybe the local governments should pay tow-truck drivers to pull cars into nearby parking lots, rather than to their impound lots.  But you have to pay them somehow to go out in the middle of a snowstorm, and I didn't see anyone in the article volunteering to have their taxes raised to get that to happen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bringing a box cutter to a snowball fight...

Last winter, we reported on the case of the cop who brought a gun to a snowball fight.

This winter, Tyree Merle Alexander (pictured) was arrested for responding to a snowball in his direction with a box cutter.  Ick.

power lines

power lines
Originally uploaded by JosephLeonardo
In case you were wondering why so many people's power is out.

Every Car for Itself

The nexus of snow and rush hour turned out to be a really bad thing, as predicted here.  Anarchy prevailed in Montgomery County
By 1:30 a.m., gridlock had turned into traffic anarchy on Colesville Road in Silver Spring. Just past Sligo, before Four Corners, frustrated bumper-to-bumper northbound drivers decided to take over the southbound lane as they attempted to climb the hill.

Except cars were still coming southbound, and snow removal trucks, too. On both sides, vehicles were stuck, including an 18-wheeler flatbed truck.
-- The Washington Post

Also, any time a post contains the phrases "rush hour" and "1:30 am", you know there's trouble.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Panic panic

Posting will be a little lighter here than last year, when we had little to do but monitor news sources for examples of panic.  If you're wondering why, see

I am trying to do some snow-related retweets at, but even that's going to be intermittent.

For now, we're lucky enough to have power on, though the lights have flickered.  If they go, expect the first snowpanic/twinpanic about 3 weeks when we'd recover...

Actual reasons to panic...

snow crash 2 According to the Post, 2 inches snow/hour + rush hour=bad news.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Panic...

The Post says "at least a moderate snowstorm".  A little bit out of context?  Yep, but that's how we roll here at the 'panic.  Stay tuned to see if we have the first serious milk and toilet paper run of the '10-'11 season.