We are just seven weeks into 2014 and already I am annoyed, verklempt if you will. Here's a list of the top 7 things pushing me -- and others -- over the top.
1) The weather.
Whether it's global warming or not, can someone please make it stop snowing already and turn up the heat outside? By mid-January, you couldn't even find a kid in the suburbs willing to shovel out your car for $30 because they had already earned enough to pay for college in the first two weeks. And forget what school closures have done to working parents. Seriously, who didn't consider the simple solution of just eating their young and solving the dual problems of kids driving you insane and the refrigerator being empty?
More than two-thirds of the continental United States is under snow. New York City's Central Park broke a 118-year-record when the temperature dropped to 4 degrees; the record of 6 degrees had stood since 1896. Meanwhile California, where I live, is in a major drought and we are so convinced that a forest fire is going to wipe us out that we drive around with fire extinguishers to douse idiots who toss lit cigarettes out their car windows. This is some kind of a world-wide test, isn't it? And we are all failing.
2) The polar vortex.
Yes, we know we already covered weather. It's the term "polar vortex" that is annoying me now. "Think of this as a polar hurricane," said NBC News' Al Roker. No, Al, actually I don't want to think of it at all. And what hurricane ever lasted a whole month? Huh, Al? Huh? Polar vortex has entered our vernacular and appears here to stay. It's right up there with chads as words I wished I never had to learn.
3) The flu.
Sure the story about the otherwise healthy woman from the San Francisco Bay area who came down with the flu on Tuesday and was dead by Saturday was more than a little scary. We are in the throes of a nationwide flu epidemic that is affecting younger people who didn't get flu shots more than ever. Offices are decimated, not that friends back east could get to them most days because of the road conditions and bitter cold anyway. But just when they reopen the roads and got the kids back in school, what happened? Whammo! Home they come again, sick. Back here in 80-degree Los Angeles, my husband and two kids are both down for the count as I write this. I follow them around with a can of Lysol spray and have them in surgical masks. I just waded through a sea of dirty Kleenex to get to the bathroom sink. Not amused.
4) The baby giraffe.
Workers at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark killed a healthy two-year-old giraffe using a bolt gun, then fed chunks of its dissected corpse to the zoo's lions, while visitors, including children, looked on. I am beyond words. The Associated Press later reported that zoo officials have received death threats. I swear I didn't make them but do want to urge everyone to boycott the Copenhagen Zoo. Hell, let's skip traveling to Denmark altogether and put our tourist dollars toward a better place. Maybe somewhere sunny and warm and germ-free.
5) Woody Allen.
OK, he's maybe more than just an annoyance. I'm fine with him being tried in court, just not the court of public opinion. I was also fine with not really thinking about him for the past 21 years. Again, this is one of those situations where we want to vote with our wallets; I haven't seen one of his movies in decades -- 2.1 decades to be precise.
6) The reaction to the Coke commercial in the Super Bowl.
Sometimes America, you just disappoint me. For a nation of immigrants to object so strongly to the multi-lingual rendition of "America the Beautiful" is pathetic and hypocritical. I hereby sentence those whiners to a Super Bowl filled with stupid soda commercials featuring white polar bears. There, are you happy now? And kudos to Coke for sticking to its guns and using the same ad in the Olympics.
7) The Internet and the Sochi Olympics.
I am an Olympic junkie. I love love love the Olympics and eagerly await the competitions, hanging on baited breath to see which athletes stick their landings. But what have we gotten instead this year? A fur hat full of Internet snark. First it was reporters complaining about their unfinished hotel rooms. Then we heard about all the stray dogs being rounded up and executed Soviet-style. Then came the public mocking of the Russian police choir singing "Get Lucky," and the Olympic ring failure and all the (untrue) talk about the guy responsible being found dead the next day. Then the stray dogs were saved by a Russian billionaire. How'd Shaun White do? The athletes got lost in the Internet noise. But at least there was the Coke commercial.