2017 Whisky Wind-down, 346: Not My Whisky

[Editorial note: You probably remember 2016 Whisky Wind-down. Hell, it basically just ended. Am I saying 2017 is already so bad that it’s time to start a similar countdown already? No. I am not. However, some days beg to be noted in time. Also, some days call for a stiff drink.] 

Today’s dram: Ruskova Vodka Real American Whisky

Today’s tasting notes: Blarg. Gak. <string of expletives>

Today’s thoughts: Appropriately enough, I woke up sick today. Psychosomatic? Could be.

At any rate, I hadn’t been awake long when my phone rang. T-Mobile customer service. Without getting into the specifics, I’ll just say the company and I have an ongoing billing dispute. They’re wrong, of course. The service reps — I talked to three, over the course of 90 minutes — acknowledge the problem, but say they “can’t change that in the system.”

All in all, it was a frustrating experience, being in the right but still unable to make a positive change. Powerless before the needs of the corporation. Pay up or lose.

Which is, again, appropriate enough for the day at hand.

All the facts in the world don’t matter if one side has power and the willingness to use it.

All the reason in the world doesn’t matter if the other side is unreasonable.

Try as you might, the inertia of the system will carry you away, regardless.

Today’s notes on the immediate future: And so … I drank my selected “whisky.”

I poured a second.

After a bit, it got easier.

I mean, if you have low expectations.

No, lower than that. 

Afterward, I went to my happy place. 

Not the bar. 

My other happy place: the kitchen.  

There, I baked Christmas cookies.

What with travel, various sicknesses, and other conflicts, this weekend is the earliest I have been able to coordinate gathering with my family to observe the holiday.

It’s harder than it used to be, and I don’t just mean the scheduling. 

See, try as I might, I can’t convince some of them we’re better off, by far, than we were eight years ago, and the next four years bode poorly for all of us.

(In fairness, try as they might, they can’t convince me of the opposite, either.)

We resolve these differences mostly by ignoring them. 

At least we agree on cookies. 

Today’s toast: Nostrovia, comrades! “May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.” –Jack Burton

Foresight, Hindsight, and Other Visual Impairments

Yes, I’m still on about the weather mess. Mostly because today I’m hearing a couple of recurrent, irritating arguments passing blame.

The first, and most annoying, is that we didn’t see this coming.

That is, to put it politely, a misstatement of reality.

Winter weather advisories were issued for metro Atlanta Monday night, warning of snow starting at 9 a.m. and expected to last until mid-afternoon or evening. Those advisories were still in effect Tuesday morning.

(Note to self: In future, take screenshots of weather advisories.)

You want a bit of correlating evidence? A handful of schools and businesses announced closings. My wife’s was one of those. She worked from home Tuesday. Because her employer told its workforce to stay home. Because her employer’s leadership team is not filled with heartless morons.

Unlike, say, the majority of Atlanta school/business/government leadership teams, who decided, in spite of a weather advisory telling them to expect hours of snow during the workday, to proceed with the workday, anyway.

Which was pointless. In my office, from the beginning of the workday at 8 a.m. until our release at noon, very little got done. Because everyone knew the storm was coming, and we were all just waiting to be sent home.

Only when snow was starting to fall on their heads did most of metro Atlanta’s leadership bother to release their students and workers. All at once. On icing roads. Brilliant.

Which brings me to the second lousy argument going around Atlanta today, which is that the Georgia Department of Transportation was unprepared.

Now, I’m not going to portray GDOT as a paragon of efficiency with a specialization in winter weather road control. It isn’t. However, it is an agency dedicated to putting the resources it has — which are the limited resources most southern transportation agencies maintain for the infrequent winter storms our region experiences — to work in a timely fashion.

GDOT put its people in place Monday night. Put them on 12-hour shifts. Loaded the sand/salt/gravel trucks. Prepared the reloading sites. And waited for the snow to fall.

And when the snow came down, as their trucks went out, they were joined by most of a city’s worth of school and work traffic — all at once, not staggered like on a usual day — who hit the streets when their leaders finally acknowledged reality.

So, GDOT vehicles ended up caught in the same massive traffic problem as every other vehicle on the roads, unable to respond appropriately to clear the roads of snow and ice because the roads could not be cleared of vehicles.

I might wish the people who run our lives — our bosses, superintendents, and elected officials — cared enough about us to call an early snow day, putting safety ahead of squeezing out a few hours of productivity.

I might wish that, but that would be asking for empathy, for understanding, for humanity, which, you know, would be asking a lot from our typical school/business/government leadership.

I would wish, however, for something a little less, a little easier to achieve.

Mind the damned weather advisories.

Addendum to Snow Day: An Unnecessary Atlanta Debacle

Some additional thoughts, a few hours later:

-How much productive work was actually accomplished by workers whose employers made them come in for a few hours today? How much of that work could have been accomplished had they worked from home instead? Would they, in fact, have accomplished more in a full day at home?

-How much productive learning was accomplished by students who were in school today? Less than they might have accomplished on a full make-up day later in the year, perhaps? Has anyone considered the psychological impact, especially on those students who (as of this writing) remain stuck in their schools due to bus issues, parents-cannot-reach-them issues, or the-school-refuses-to-allow-them-to-drive-home issues?

-How much additional fuel was wasted and how much additional pollution was generated in today’s colossal traffic mess?

-Has anyone died in this mess? (As of this writing, I have not yet seen fatalities reported.)

-Was all of the above worth the risk of going forward with business as usual, assuming the downside risk was a clear day wasted?

Snow Day: An Unnecessary Atlanta Debacle

When the population of metro Atlanta went to bed last night, we knew bad weather was on the way. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather warning advising us that, starting perhaps as early as 9 a.m., we would be in for several hours of accumulating snow.

By this morning, the warning was still in effect, with weather forecasters saying, bascially, “brace for impact” to not only the Atlanta area, but most of Georgia and its neighbors.

Metro Atlanta has a bad reputation when it comes to dealing with winter storms. We don’t get them often, so we don’t have the equipment, the people, or the mentality for handling even a couple of inches of snow or ice.

Yet, knowing this, with a few exceptions, metro Atlanta schools, businesses, and government agencies decided to act like today was a spring day.

They waited until the snow started falling — a little later than predicted, around 11 a.m. — pondered a bit, and then, a few at a time, started realizing they needed to release their students and workers.

So, this afternoon, instead of sitting safely at home watching the snow fall, most of the metro population is on the roads, struggling to leave work, pick up children, and fight their way home in treacherous conditions.

Most of these drivers typically face an hour-plus commute (in ideal conditions), and today, in these conditions, there are crashes, there are injuries, and there are lines of traffic that will endure for hours — a situation that could have been mostly avoided if we had leaders willing to think ahead and work with the facts at hand.