Pat Shingleton: "Formerly a Swamp, Now D.C.-Minding your P's and Q's."
One of the responsibilities of the Federal Emergency Management Administration or FEMA, is updating maps to identify flood prone areas. The Associated Press reported that more than 200 years ago Washington, D.C. was built on swampland furthering the Army Corps of Engineers re-examination of the Capital’s outdated flood control components. They determined that the original levees built into the landscape were likely to fail in the next big flood. If a major storm would hit the city, ten feet of water would affect historic landmarks, world-renowned museums and federal buildings. This event could cause nearly $200 million in damage. If FEMA subscribes to its current protocol, Washington would be forced to adhere to stricter codes and reviews of federal regulations. In the “early” days, local taverns and public houses or pubs provided lodging, food and drink from inclement weather. Libations were originally a convenient means of combating the winter chill and a “wee nip” could break the bone-chilling cold. For politicians a journey was tedious and they would utilize their assistants to gauge the opinions of their constituents. These assistants were instructed to “sip some ale” and hear the people’s political concerns. When they would “go sip here” and “go sip there” the two words were combined, forming the term “gossip.” Ale would be served in pints and quarts. A bar maid needed to be diligent as to which patrons were drinking a pint or a quart. This duty resulted in the phrase, “minding your ‘P’s’ and ‘Q’s.”
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