The expression “oops” is a very useful one. However, there are times when one really, Really, REALLY does not wish to hear it…or even speculate upon what might be the occasion for its use.  In surgery, for instance, “oops” is not a good omen, nor is it in some aspects of cooking–the addition of chili peppers, perhaps, or garlic powder.  After  a loud crash, “oops” seems a bit inadequate and/or ominous and when the source of the utterance is then silent on the particulars of the event, it frequently bespeaks a disaster of considerable magnitude and extent.

Certain computer operations fall into this category.  The classic examples being hitting the “delete” key, (causing the disappearance into the ether of a vital document) after the completion of a particularly long and arduous project of some sort  with an associated deadline and punching “reply all” to an email when the response was intended to go to some specific, sympathetic correspondent rather than to all of the individuals in an address list ( Your sister, for instance, might be expected to be more inclined to  agree with your characterization of your boss as a “crass, overbearing, malevolent toad” than would the weasel co-worker who wants a promotion.  Well, the co-worker might agree but they’d be happy to pass your opinion along to the aforementioned boss–with predictable results).

All of which is brought to mind by the recent release of thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence by some wretched outfit called WikiLeaks, which claims, apparently, that dumping all of this supposedly confidential information out into the public prints is somehow going to advance openness and world peace.  Balderdash!  Codswallop and camel hockey, I say.  Much as we might chafe sometimes at diplomatic circumlocutions and puffery, much as we might wish for international exchanges to “call a spade a spade”, we’d probably be no more inclined to accept with equanimity the opinions of other nations and individuals  about our practices and procedures than they will prove to be about ours.  Admit it, we’ve all probably said things that were not intended to be broadcast to all and sundry and would not be well-pleased if that happened.  Referring to anyone else’s foibles and shortcomings, physical anomalies or behavioral quirks in disparaging terms is not what Dale Carnegie would have recommended (How) to Win Friends and Influence People and it certainly doesn’t help that dumping this whole bunch of back-and-forth between and about other countries and their leaders…and our counterparts… is not going to do anyone any good and, in some cases, may actually cause harm.  Bad enough to leak the stuff on our side, let alone the comments and come-backs from others that they had every reason to believe would remain confidential.

The WikiLeaks crowd is a bit reminiscent of the sibling who purloins a diary or journal and distributes it at school or on line to see what devastating effect is forthcoming.  Adjectives that come to mind include–but are not limited to–immature, callous, mean, underhanded, attention-seeking, malicious…add your own term of disparagement…lowlife, maybe?

Oops might also apply for anyone thinking that the recent–unseasonably–warm weather would last  until the actual seasonal pivot of the solstice, coming on December 21.  The Christmas Walk did well this year (Something north of two thousand visitors, reportedly)due, at least in part, to some very fine blue skies and  relatively comfortable temperatures.  My mother and I sat out on the back deck in perfect comfort on the second Saturday; mint juleps would not have been out of line There was one nippy morning when I was out sweeping off my back decks ( It was like brushing a Slushy down the steps) but over all both week ends left little to be desired in respect to the co-operation of the elements.

So now we’re in for it.  Those intermittent lows in the twenties and thirties, those barely-visible snow displays…just a warm-up.  We’re about to get “down ‘n’  dirty” (literally)  real soon.  This will coincide with various holiday parties and concerts and dramatic productions and family gatherings and stints as bell-ringers (Call Kim at 330-527-4873 to sign up).  I was waiting for one more warm-up to get out and put the Rain-X on my windshield.