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SIMMONS: Some things to think about before a shutdown cometh

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Shutdown. Debt ceiling. Filibuster, not technically. Timely Social Security payments or not. Funding for Obamacare, yea and nay.

When you live and work in the nation's capital, you're often on automatic pilot when it comes to reading and learning about what's going on inside the Beltway.

Elsewhere in America, real life carries on despite our D.C.-centric views.

Hence, an in-case-you-missed-it column.

Efforts by Michael Page of Florida, Wendy Curry of Maine and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas to get substantial recognition for their creation of Bisexual Visibility Day came this week by way of the White House, where a closed-door confab was held. Mr. Page even designed a tricolor, horizontal-stripe flag to serve as a symbol for their movement. Deep pink stands for same-sex attraction, lavender for the entire gender spectrum and royal blue for attraction to the opposite sex. It's the 14th anniversary of both Bi Sex day and the flag.

Awareness is important.

Pass this one on: Kermit the Frog wasn't always, well, a frog, and soon the Smithsonian will be displaying Kermie's early lizardlike self along with his pink sweetie, the sassy Miss Piggy. The Smithsonian announced this week that the Henson family is donating more than 20 puppets and props that will become part of the Jim Henson collection at the National Museum of American History.

The exhibit of the diva of pigdom is expected to open next year, the 60th anniversary of the start of the career of the late Henson, whose puppets debuted on local WRC-TV (Channel 4) in "Sam and Friends" in 1954 while he was a student at the University of Maryland.

That Kermit and Miss Piggy will be, ahem, living together is a real treat.

Oh, Elmo and other uber-popular members of the Muppet gang are coming to the Smithsonian, too.

Do we need federal legislation to protect people and organizations that do not support or recognize gay marriage? Sixty-two members of Congress apparently think so.

They support the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, intended to protect individuals and organizations that hold views which are not aligned with gay marriage.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America support the bill.

• Where do you fit in? Fifteen percent of Americans over the age of 18 use neither the Internet nor email, according to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

When asked why, 34 percent said they think the Internet is just not relevant to them, 32 of nonusers cited reasons tied to their sense that the Internet is not very easy to use, 19 percent cited expense, and 7 percent cited a physical lack of availability or access to the Internet.

Irresistible. There's no other way to characterize this beastly tidbit — especially since it's at the hands of Dallasites.

Zookeepers in Cowboys territory are evicting a dang Yankee, a Bronx-born 430-pound gorilla named Patrick, because they say he doesn't want to cavort with the gals.

In fact, the 23-year-old Western lowland gorilla gets along fine with humans and pals around with another male, but Patrick has assailed the gals.

That's what proverbial bachelors do, right?

Anyway, Dallas is shipping the lowlander to the low country to take up residence in South Carolina's Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia.

Now, while Patrick is getting a bad rep for being sexist, the bottom line is Dallasites are being ageists.

No longer a prime-age catch, Patrick is being replaced by not one but two younger gorillas.

Patrick just might fall into gentler hands in South Carolina, where female mates might, shall we say, turn him on with a different time of charm.

Back here in D.C., the mayor is huffing and puffing his way into history, saying he wants all city government workers to be officially declared "essential" should a federal shutdown become reality.

Vincent C. Gray is a smart man for many, many reasons, and he just might get a pass from the Office of Management and Budget and Congress.

But it will be for political reasons — not because they really and truly believe all D.C. government employees are "essential."

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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