The Pandemic, Rudeness, Crypto Craziness: We’re Over You, 2022

The rudeness pandemic, the actual pandemic, and all things gray. There’s a lot to leave behind when 2022 ends and uncertainty rules around the world.
The health crisis brought on the dawn of slow living, but it crushed many families forced to hustle for their living. Rudeness went on the rise. Crypto currencies tanked. Pete Davidson’s love thing with Kim Kardashian made headlines.
A list of what we’re over as we hope for better times in 2023:
Incivility be gone
The pandemic released a tsunami of overwrought people, but heightened incivility has stretched well beyond their raucous ranks.
Researcher Christine Porath restricted herself to rudeness, disrespect or insensitive behavior when she recently wrote about the subject in Harvard Business Review. The professor of management at Georgetown University found incidents of incivility way up, in line with a steady climb stretching back nearly 20 years.
Particularly hammered this year, Porath wrote, were frontline workers in health care, retail, transportation, hospitality and education. All were declared heroes when the pandemic struck. It didn’t take long for that to become a beat down.
Noting that incivility can and does escalate to physical aggression and other violence, Axios dubbed it the rudeness pandemic.
Crypto craziness
Will the implosion of FTX, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, bring on broader chaos in a digital world that millions of people already distrust?
Time will tell as other and otherwise healthy crypto companies face a liquidity crisis. And there’s the philanthropic implications of the FTX bankruptcy collapse here in the real world, since founder Sam Bankman-Fried donated millions to numerous causes in “effective altruism” fashion.
The FTX bankruptcy filing followed a bruising of crypto companies throughout 2022, due in part to rising interest rates and the broader market downturn that has many investors rethinking their lust for risk. That includes mom-and-pop investors along for the ride.
ASMR, pipe down
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It began, innocently enough, as brain tingles brought on by whispering, tapping, brushing or scraping. Then, bam, it took off on social media like a really loud rocket on a mission to annoy.
Today, we’ve got millions of videos filled with people attempting to calm by speaking in low tones, armed with anything they can get their hands on in conjunction with their expensive, ultra-sensitive mics.
Companies are selling beer and chocolate, paint and home goods using ASMR. All the calming — and commerce — is deafening.
Gray, the color
Gray walls, gray floors, gray furniture. Is gray passé? Here’s hoping.
The color spent much of 2022 as a purportedly neutral “it.” The problem was, we were already feeling gray on the inside.
Of course, gray has been around since color itself, but it took over as an alternative to beige and Tuscan brown. Gray took a tumble midyear, but one doesn’t paint or swap out the couch as quickly as trends fade. We’ve been stuck with gray, thanks to TV home shows and social media loops.
“What would your reaction be if I told you that color is disappearing from the world? A graph suggesting that the color gray has become the dominant shade has been circulating on TikTok, and boy does it have folks in a tizzy,” wrote Loney Abrams in Architectural Digest in October.
By that, she explained, the upset folks she mentioned stand firmly behind the notion that a lack of color “spells tragedy.”
Abrams, a Brooklyn artist and pop culture curator, speaks of the fixer-uppers of Chip and Joanna Gaines and the Calabasas compound of Kim Kardashian. And she cites Tash Bradley, a trained color psychologist who works for the U.K. wallpaper and paint brand Lick.
Bradley, Abrams wrote, points to the hustle-bustle of pre-pandemic life as one villain leading to The Great Gray Washing. Bradley, the interior design director for Lick, sees no psychological benefits to gray.
Pete Davidson’s love life
Not the King of Staten Island himself, per se. Look deeply into your hearts and decide for yourselves whether to love him or Ye him.
We’re talking about the vast quantities of air volume his love life has sucked up on a near-hourly basis, especially in 2022, otherwise known as his Kim Kardashian era (which actually started in late 2021 for the obsessives).
Davidson’s love roster has puzzled for years, stretching back to his MTV “Guy Code” days in 2013 while still a teenager, leading to his Carly Aquilino phase.
There were stops along the way with Cazzie David (Larry Davidson’s daughter), Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale (briefly), Kaia Gerber (even more briefly), and others, including his latest: model Emily Ratajkowski.
The “SNL” alum and self-described — in appearance — “crack baby” is a paparazzi, social media, gossip monger magnet. Rather, his love life is.
Movie upchuck madness
The film industry, to state the obvious, has produced decades of genre-spanning grossness, much of it significant and legit to show on camera.
However, there’s one particular cinematic exclamation point we could do without, or at the very least, with significantly less of: The dispensable spew.
Implied vomiting with an urgent rush to a curb, hand to a mouth or turn of a head would sometimes suffice, thanks. Who spread the word in Hollywood that movie watchers actually desire all the nauseating details. The projectile-ness, the color combinations, the chunks.
Well, in some cases, audiences themselves.
That notable dress shop scene in the 2011 smash hit “Bridesmaids” was a gender test of sorts, according to The Daily Beast. Would audiences accept all the spewing and other grand scatology from women in a wedding-themed movie as they do for the bros of producer Judd Apatow’s other comedies?
Apatow and director Paul Feig extensively tested “Bridesmaids” with audiences, and they were fine.
Fast forward to 2022’s notables. There’s the satire “The Triangle of Sadness,” which could hardly do without, but there’s also “Tár,” a far more serious film that wouldn’t make the vomit hall of fame with Lydia Tár’s one fleeting gush. We ask, what’s the point of that? Meaning, the upchuck as aside.
Cate Blanchett’s Tár has far bigger problems, so let’s rein in all the gratuitous spewing.
The ultra hustle
Elon Musk put it thusly in an email to his remaining employees:
“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
Musk is Musk, but he illustrates a moment: A need to remain in motion, to work harder, climb higher, sweat longer. With the volatile economy, political chaos, extreme weather and wars, it’s no wonder that a blanket of anxiety has kept the ultra-hustle alive.
As if all the slow living and work-life balance talk is meaningless, or more to the point, can’t exist for many.
“We’re hustling to make ends meet, `building our brand,’ ensuring our startup doesn’t tank, or dreaming about the day our side hustle takes off and we can walk into the office and give everyone the bird,” wrote Benjamin Sledge on Medium.
It stands to reason, he said, that “most of us are hustling because we literally have to in order to survive.”

Source: Voice Of America

Storm Brings Flooding, Landslides Across California

Landslides of rock and mud closed roadways Friday across California as heavy rains kicked off what will be a series of storms poised to usher in the new year with downpours and potential flooding across much of the state and several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.
The atmospheric river storm, a long and wide plume of moisture pulled in from the Pacific Ocean, began sweeping across the northern part of the state Friday and was expected to bring more rain through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
A winter storm warning was in effect into Sunday for the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains from south of Yosemite National Park to north of Lake Tahoe, where as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow is possible atop the mountains, the National Weather Service said in Reno, Nevada.
A flood watch was in effect across much of Northern California through New Year’s Eve. Officials warned that rivers and streams could overflow and urged residents to get sandbags ready.
Landslides already had closed routes in the San Francisco Bay Area, between Fremont and Sunol, as well as in Mendocino County near the unincorporated community of Piercy and in the Mendocino National Forest, where crews cleared debris into Friday night.
Humboldt County, where a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Dec. 20, also saw roadways begin to flood, according to the National Weather Service’s Eureka office. A bridge that was temporarily closed last week due to earthquake damage may be closed again if the Eel River, which it crosses, gets too high, officials said.
More rain ahead
It was the first of several storms expected to roll across California over the next week. The current system is expected to be warmer and wetter, while next week’s storms will be colder, lowering snow levels in the mountains, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
The Sacramento region could receive a total of 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters) of rain over the span of the week, Chandler-Cooley said.
The California Highway Patrol reported some local roads in eastern Sacramento were under water and impassable Friday. By nightfall, nearly 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain had fallen over the past 24 hours in the Sierra foothills at Blue Canyon about 70 miles (112 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento, the weather service said.
Sacramento’s fire officials planned to broadcast evacuation announcements from a helicopter and a boat along the American River — a spot where many unhoused people live in encampments — to warn of flooding.
Warnings of deep snow, avalanches
A winter storm warning was in effect through 4 a.m. Sunday for much of the Sierra, including the highest elevations around Lake Tahoe where more than a foot of snow was expected near the shores at an elevation of about 6,200 feet (1,889 meters) and up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with winds gusting up to 100 mph (160 kph) over ridgetops.
“Strong winds could cause tree damage and lead to power outages and high waves on Lake Tahoe may capsize small vessels,” the weather service in Reno said.
Avalanche warnings were issued in the backcountry around Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes south of Yosemite.
On the Sierra’s eastern front, flood watches and warnings continue into the weekend north and south of Reno, Nevada, where minor to moderate flooding was forecast along some rivers and streams into the weekend.
At Susanville, California — about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Reno — the Susan River was forecast to rise from about 5 feet (1.5 meters) Friday to a foot (30 centimeters) above the flood stage of 12 feet (3.6 meters) by Saturday morning, causing moderate flooding that could affect some homes, roads and bridges, the National Weather Service said.
In Southern California, moderate-to-heavy rain was forecast for Saturday. The region will begin drying out on New Year’s Day and the January 2 Rose Parade in Pasadena should avoid rainfall.
Heavy showers are forecast for Tuesday or Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Oxnard said.
The rain was welcomed in drought-parched California, but much more precipitation is needed to make a significant difference. The past three years have been California’s driest on record.

Source: Voice Of America