David Bowie’s death was a shock and a tragedy. It cast a pall (briefly) on the Golden Globe look-at-MY-gown awards show in Hollywood. Some actors grieved as long as 20 seconds.
The possible economic meltdown in China has Wall Street sweating and the world’s stock markets acting funny. Scary funny, not ha-ha funny.
Tensions between Russia and Turkey, Russia and China, Russia and Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states , Russia and NATO, among others, bear watching.
North Korea is using the H-word. And he’s still got that haircut.
The prospect of a President born in Canada (or equally frightening, Queens, New York) raises possible constitutional issues.
But let’s get real folks. Stop sweating the small stuff. The biggest challenge of 2016 may be upon us:
It may snow in Washington.
Oh, the humanity!
It hasn’t snowed here since last winter. But forecasters on Monday were predicting the possibility of snow — maybe a dusting — sometime this week. Maybe as early as today. Local TV weather folk — for whom some bell is always tolling — promised regular updates. More fine tuning.
Fine. But …
This is D.C. folks. A federal town. We’ve got a mayor and police chief. But Uncle Sam runs the place. The CEO of the nation’s capital may list Chicago as his home town, but he was born in Hawaii. Notice he takes his Christmas vacation in Hawaii, not the ski slopes of Cicero or Naperville. There’s more …
More than 150 nations have embassies here. Most of these embassies are filled with foreigners!!! While some have snow experience (Finland, Tibet, etc.) others come from warm climates. So, when it snows, the the latter group is as inept as people born here. Or transplants from Buffalo, Fargo, Chicago or Boston who drove beautifully back home but, once here, slip and slide like the rest of us. Besides, most of our cab drivers were born in sunnier climes.
What with the traffic circles, the hills, the visitors we don’t have a prayer when it snows. Which is when we need prayers for sure.
For the federal government, a snow day in D.C. can be a public relations nightmare. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a tiny federal agency almost unknown outside of government circles beyond the Beltway. But in winter, the director of OPM — after consulting with other local and federal bodies here — makes the open-or-closed call.
If government workers are told to stay home, Washington is bombarded with criticism from the outside world. Almost every winter when there is a shutdown here we become America’s Winter Weenies. All that waste. Letting people stay home, with pay, while folks in the real world work. Shocking.
By the same token, if OPM doesn’t give feds the day off, and a traffic nightmare (with fatalities) takes place — which has happened — we become Idiot Central. How stupid and heartless to force people to come to work when they shoulda stayed in bed.
The advent of teleworking has also changed the dynamics of a snow day. Not so long away “essential” people were told to report for duty no matter what while “nonessential” workers — the majority —got the day off. Because of pressure from the Political Correctness police, essential workers were redesignated “emergency” while nonessentials are now known by the less hurtful designation of “nonemergency” workers. All well and good, but …
Folks who are designated as teleworkers are now required to work — from home — during snow or other emergency situations while the less-than-chosen colleagues get to stay home and watch TV.
Good luck to us all. Till we meet again …
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Michael O’Connell
David Bowie cited singer Little Richard as his first musical influence.