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August 28, 2005 - September 3, 2005 Archives

August 28, 2005


Just testing posting from the cell phone using the AvantGo browser. Going to a wedding tonight, so this is all you're gonna get.

If it works.


August 29, 2005


We're back.

And tired. Last night, after a wonderful evening watching our friends get married on the beach in Florida, we got back to the hotel room at about 11:15 and finished packing at a little after midnight. A 4 am wake-up, a slow check-in at the ticket counter, and then... the dreaded all-out detailed search-everything wand-over-body rubber-glove pat-down security check, the second one this trip. We got the "SSSS" on our boarding passes again. And after the full search and an uneventful flight enlivened only by the couple in front of me, the wife of which stood in the aisle and gavce her husband a vigorous but strangely dispassionate head massage for- I kid you not- at least two hours, we arrived back in Long Beach, where it was pretty much as hot as it had been back in Florida, only less humid.

While we were experiencing the hurricane, we kept telling each other that, well, yeah, we couldn't do a whole lot other than sit in the hotel room and watch the palm trees bend at 90 degree angles, but we'd look back on this as an adventure and we'd have stories to tell. And that's how it shook out. If the weather was nice, this trip would have recessed into the memory bank along with countless other nice, relaxing trips of the past. But now we have real memories- fierce winds bending the palms outside our window at almost 90 degree angles, huge mature trees lying across the roadway, sand coating A1A right across the road and up to the shops and bars on the opposite side of the street, the eerie darkness of the neighborhoods south of Miami along US 1, the adventure of trying to get across the Intracoastal with bridges and roads randomly closed, walking along the edge of the furiously churning surf inspecting the shells that the storm washed ashore... add the chance to see our friends and a lovely beachfront wedding and I'd say that this was one for the record books.

But next time there's a hurricane in the forecast, I think we'll have to pass. Those memories are great... once.


August 30, 2005


You want to understand what the concept of the Internet and "community" is all about? Go here. LiveJournal users from the Gulf Coast are checking on each other, trading reports, providing personal accounts of what's happening in the area battered by Katrina. (Hat tip to Jeff Jarvis) In a similar vein, Craig's List has people-searching going on here and here. And the looting is being discussed in less-than-polite terms at the Times-Picayune's crime forum, while there's a whole flooding forum there, too (the paper's moved operations to Houma and Baton Rouge; it'll be putting out editions as PDF files on its website, which, all things considered, is pretty amazing.

I finally figured out how to check on at least one friend from the New Orleans area- my radio colleague Harry Valentine and family are safe after relocating themselves. Good news, and let's hope their home's OK, too.

Meanwhile, Jarvis has a provocative topic up: should New Orleans be rebuilt? Some commenters say that it's too early to ask the question, although the proprietor points out that politicians are rushing to address the situation as we speak. Me, I'd suggest that they figure out a better way to keep water from rushing into the basin before building again. It's one thing to build on flat or raised ground, or to build in an earthquake zone (you can build on bedrock and reinforce the structure) or in a standard hurricane zone; it's another to have a population living below sea level in an area prone to tropical storms, protected only by quite fallible levees and pumps. Fail to consider that and you're asking for a repeat performance. I like New Orleans, there's nothing like it, and I hope it someday rebounds, but putting people in harm's way again isn't wise, is it?



Because after the steady stream of depressing news out of New Orleans and Biloxi and Gulfport and all over the Gulf Coast, we need it, herewith, some comic relief: in case you didn't see it, here's one of television's all-time most mortifying moments, R. Kelly's performance at the VMAs. (Hat tip: Larry)

What is is about Miami? Isn't that where Ashlee Simpson did her embarrassing, boo-related halftime caterwauling?


August 31, 2005


While the Gulf Coast continues in a state of extreme crisis, I remembered I'd taken some pictures of Katrina when it was still a Category 1 and some after it blew through. These were from last Thursday and Friday.

This was about 7 pm Thursday night- the view is through the back window of the lobby at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale:

We went up to the room. The flash gets in the way, but this was the view during an extended torrential downpour with wind gusts up to about 66 mph at this point:

The next day, the storm hadn't cleared out, but the gusts were a little less intense. The palms, though, were still getting blown to one side:

And pieces of trees were everywhere:

The damage around the resort grounds wasn't too bad, mostly fallen palm fronds and a few things like this:

And the palms all along the beach were left frozen like these:

But you weren't supposed to go into the ocean. People did, but the red flag was up:

And, needless to say:

The damage off the grounds was more intense, including huge trees uprooted and splayed across the road everywhere and sand all over the road by the beach. I didn't have presence of mind to bring the camera then, though, and I wouldn't have jeopardized my well-being behind the wheel to try and get a shot like that. I was going to use the pictures as part of a humorous essay about our trip, but after the hurricane went off and did more damage, it seemed like a bad idea. So here they are for posterity, to fill up a day's posting with minimal effort, and as a reminder that even if a storm seems like no big deal, you never know what'll happen next. Or something like that.


September 1, 2005


"It's like that Randy Newman song," Fran said while we were driving along listening to the news reports from New Orleans. And I knew which song she meant:

    The river rose all day
    The river rose all night
    Some people got lost in the flood
    Some people got away alright
    The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
    Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

    Louisiana, Louisiana
    They're tryin' to wash us away
    They're tryin' to wash us away
    Louisiana, Louisiana
    They're tryin' to wash us away
    They're tryin' to wash us away

It's about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, but you could easily mistake it for something else. There's even the political element:

    President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
    With a little fat man with a notepad in his hand
    The President say, "Little fat man, isn't it a shame
    What the river has done to this poor cracker's land."

When's President Bush going to show up with notepad-wielding people? When are they gonna send in the cavalry? How long can we watch this happen?

At least Fats is OK.



It's September 1. It's time to give. There's this thing happening around the Net to help victims today, so it's time to pull out the wallet and do something good.

There are plenty of places to give. United Jewish Communities is where I did it; there are a lot more choices at Instapundit's roundup.

Please don't wait.


September 2, 2005


The Katrina fatigue actually set in several days ago. I've been finding it hard to watch the coverage, hard to even listen, nearly impossible to write about it, which I've had to do several times a day for All Access. Today, when I got in the car to go to the post office, even the sports guys on the radio were talking about it, not about where the Saints and Hornets will go but about the relief effort and the slow response and all that. It's not that everyone shouldn't be talking about it- it's really the only topic there is right now, and I have to send my respect to all those radio talkers who are talking about nothing but, all week and into the foreseeable future- but, like 9/11, there's a point where you need to take a break.

I'm there. I'm most definitely there.

But there really isn't a whole lot else on which to concentrate. Sport seems meaningless, there's precious little happiness in the newspapers, TV's still mired in reruns and I've already watched most of the stuff we've recorded from past weeks ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has been a particular favorite of late). Time to immerse myself in books, and, well, whaddya know, it's a long weekend (which for me, means I can push Sunday's work to Monday). In the meantime, I can only pray that the arrival of the cavalry means that the conditions in New Orleans will start to turn for the better, and I'll remind you that your help is needed, so give, give, give.



September 3, 2005


It's Saturday, and what do people do on Saturdays?

Movies, of course.

So here's a movie- I'd forgotten I had this on the still camera. It's actual video of Katrina as a Category 1 rolling into Florida.

No, it's not all that exciting, but it's Saturday, so live with it.

Click here and enjoy.


About August 2005

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in August 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 21, 2005 - August 27, 2005 is the previous archive.

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