In The News

Last night, the president gave his annual State of the Union address. I watched it. I also watched the Republican response. Tonight, I may well watch The Daily Show, if I can stay up that late; I haven’t been able to, lately. I have my opinion of each. If you watched, I’m sure you do, too.

Fluffy 015b
Getting kinda tired of this stuff.

There’s other news in the world. For instance, Atlanta came to a screeching halt when a couple of inches of snow fell. Now, to those who live a few hours to the north, or up in the Appalachians, a couple inches is not enough to shut down an entire major city. Why? Because we get that stuff every year. That means our cities have a store of road salt or other effective ice treatment, they have snow plows, and they even have a snow-removal budget. The roads are treated every year, and even with all the rain and sun, and all the cars driving along, some of that stays in the roads, so a light snow just makes a slick spot here and there.

They don’t have that in Atlanta. Or the bulk of the southeast, for that matter. That means when the road is slick, it’s slick, and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. Not to mention, if the roads are just warm enough, and the air cold enough, anything that hits the streets melts, then freezes again, adding a lovely layer of ice. I’ve had to have that conversation with Clevelanders more than once, who complained how quickly our schools closed. Again, it’s what you’re used to. And we’re used to freezing rain and ice, and we know that you can’t really drive in that. Not to mention, unlike Chicago, it’s not flat, here; we’re in the foothills of the Appalachians. We have major streets so steep, automatics roll back.

Anyway, Alabama is shut down. Chunks of North Carolina are shut down. Children are sleeping at school because the roads are impassible for people who don’t drive in that, on roads that are almost never treated with a deicer of some sort. It’s kind of a big deal. Do I have to bring up the heatwave in Chicago nearly 20 years ago? Those temperatures were ridiculous, yes, but for cities that get that on a relatively regular basis, it wouldn’t have caused so many deaths. We have cool centers already set up, for instance, and all sorts of programs available for those who don’t have any other way to cool themselves. We know that shutting up a house without air conditioning is like putting yourself in an oven. And that’s just here, a few degrees south in latitude. Head to Phoenix, and that’s just Tuesday. It’s all about what you’re used to, so back off, m’kay?

Don't blink...
Don’t blink…

The Grammys happened Sunday. I only watched the first hour – Downton Abbey and Sherlock were on that night, so… I hear there were some cool moments here and there. I’m not sure I’d have been able to stay up for the whole thing anyway; I didn’t make it more than ten minutes into Sherlock before I was out cold. Not really sure what happened.

No, I take that back. Sunday morning, sang in church, which included a total of about half an hour, 45 minutes standing on stone, then I came home and shoveled, since it was finally above ten degrees – it was almost 50; practically summery. Snow was melting. Still, there was enough that it would have had to stay that warm for about a week before it made any real difference. So I shoveled my walk, and I cleared the slush from around my car. I did that because that evening, it would drop into the single digits, and whatever had melted was going to re-freeze. I went to a gas station and paid a dollar to properly inflate my tires, because with the bitter cold, I lost enough tire pressure to affect the way my car drove. I went to Home Depot and bought a new roll of duct tape and some natural-light bulbs, to see if that would help with the winter blues. This is the first time in a long time I’ve had a winter this cold and dark. Kinda getting to me. Then I came home and made chili. By the time I went to bed, I could barely walk. Years of wearing ill-fitting shoes, cheap sneakers with no support, and heels at least three inches high, along with jobs that had me on my feet for several hours at a time, and a pelvis that makes me walk funny (when I’m really tired, anyway), led to a problem with plantar fasciitis. Hurts. A lot. Better now, though. Not great, but better. I can walk in the mornings without wanting to scream, at least.

There’s other stuff in the news, of course, stuff that has nothing to do with politics or weather. But it’s Wednesday, and it’s taking all I have to stay even remotely on task. Besides, Psych is on…

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