Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kickoff



Hurricane Season officially begins Sunday, but we have some premature convection on the board already. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tropical Storm Arthur. In related news, NOAA predicts a normal or above normal season.

Here's why:



That means between 11 and 16 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 or 3 "major" hurricanes. Which is just a forecast, no one really knows. But I do know that Appalachia would return to "normal" rainfall amounts with 2 or 3 well placed, slowly moving tropical storms rolling through the hinterlands.

And I also know that, for anyone unlucky enough to get hit with a "major" hurricane, life is anything but normal.

So, pay attention and have a plan. Check your flashlights, batteries, your portable emergency radio. Get all your important paperwork (birth certificates, insurance, house appraisals, medical records, gun permits, taxes, etc) in order, know where they are and have a portable file to put them in. Keep the car above half a tank full at all times, and call your family in the hinterlands and make sure you have a place to stay.

Speaking of which: Hey, Athens! How y'all doin'?

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

State Blogger Corps

I hadn't heard of this before, but it is a good idea.

This link takes you to a list of blogs going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO. One per state.

From Georgia = Tondee's Tavern

From Louisiana = Daily Kingfish

My personal thought will be to check these blogs and others from the Deep South more often as the Presidential race heats up. I wonder, also, if we should invite some of these guys to the Rising Tide III for a Presidential Politics panel?

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Nine Days

This is a link in homage to one of the greatest education posts I've seen in a long time. Reason being, I'm glad to hear these words coming not from another teacher in New Orleans, but from a teacher in Georgia - The Empire and Grandmotherland itself. Some things cut across lines drawn on a map. I was able to identify with so many of the words, that I need not add too many of my own. From EHT at History is Elementary:

The month of May can be classified as the worst of times because by the time the ninth month of school rolls around students, teachers, and administrators have been about as tolerant with one another as they possibly can. The colleage or student that rubs you the wrong way seems to try to do so just that much harder once May rolls around. It gets harder and harder to sit on your hands and keep your mouth spouting positives when what you’d really like to do is cross every bridge and torch it into oblivion as you go.

...

On the other hand…

May is the best of times because for many students if you tune in your brain just right and use your best observation skills you can truly see growth in each and every child even the ones like I described above. All children grow in some way during the school year.
There's much more where that came from, you should go read it.

Tip of the hat to the Georgia Blog Carnival. (also run by EHT)

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Above and Beyond

I toyed with naming this post "In. F**King. Sane." or "Crying. F**king. Wolf."

But no words today can truly capture my gut reaction at something I read today. Here's why:

It pisses me off when folks on my side of the aisle (the left) see the haunting spectres of racism or sexism or any other -ism inside trifling mistakes made by people in this world. I'm not talking the real issues where real "bullshit" has to be called on really real offenders, I'm talking about the little stuff that devalues what it is we are fighting against. It drives me crazy to hear some people still go on and on about the particular -ism that they feel opressed by, and how these people find that particular -ism in everything in life that doesn't go their way.

I want to scream at them: sometimes life sucks and it don't need a conspiracy against you to do so.

Right wingers have this, too, especially when it comes to the obnoxious and inoccuous learned helplessnes they have developed because of "political correctness." As in, "I didn't even try to do X because I knew they wouldn't let me do something that isn't 'politically correct.'

It makes it seem more epic to tell their friends that they didn't put up their Nativity Scene on Labor Day because of some great immovable Big Brother than to tell their friends they just drank too much beer playing golf that morning and had to take a nap.

That's a lot of lead up to my main point. Because this just set me off. I have come to despise the right-wing oversimplification of terrorism. Some of us were paying attention to world terrorism long before these yahoos ever decided to start blogging and making money off witty t-shirt logo websites. But ever since September 11th, 2001, there have come to be a lot of right-wing "experts" on how terrorism works in particular and how the Middle East works in general. Even though, for the most part, these are morons who learn most of what they know from the talking points of other morons.

Case and point: According to a rather well read right-wing yahoo, Rachel Ray's trendy little scarf in the Dunkin' Donuts commercial is reminiscent of terrorist culture. I'll let this toolbaggery sink in for a moment. The resulting asshattery from said blogger's comments are now driving the donut maker to pull the ad for fear of misrepresenting themselves and starting a PR nightmare.

Are you kidding me??? In-F**king-Sane. My only hope is that sane people will be more emboldened to call bullshit on this kind of behavior and those who have been giving any credibility to folks like this will begin to take what these people say with a long overdue grain of salt.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Virtual Georgia

The 36th Georgia Blog Carnival is up and running over at Georgia On My Mind. Wow. Just looking at this stuff reminds me of how far the internet community in Georgia has come in 4 short years.

While I still haven't heard of Georgia bloggers holding their own conference, yet, I'm sure its just a matter of time.

Here's some links from the Carnival that I browsed already:

This one looks at how Lake Lanier has changed. The drought in Georgia is so bad, the need for downstream water is so great, and the inability to figure out what to do at a state level is so non-existent that the levels of water in Lake Lanier's outer reaches have plummeted. Also, there are apparently some USACOE mistakes that also have contributed, and earned the ire of the Governor.

Dante, what's your take on this, you being the boatmaster and all?

Also relevant to both Georigans and New Orleanians (considering the current immigration proposals in Baton Rouge) is this post about day laborers from South of the Border.



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Monday, May 26, 2008

People In the News

I love it when I see people I know in the news, doing amazing things. (Link is PDF, tab down to page 29.) I'm proud that this man is my uncle and it reminds me just how lucky I was to be born into such an amazing family.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Torches. Pitchforks. Tar. Feathers. A Rail.

Begin with these ingredients. And you need to read this. Maybe twice. No, it is required. There will be a quiz later on. (HT: Dangercrat)

The USACOE built & rebuilt & repaired levees & floodwalls are stuffed with newspaper and leaking. The backup systems for their emergency response plans are not in place. Their actions are incomprehensible. They have no credibility left and should either be removed from the project, forced to outsource to competent contractors (like the Dutch), or at the very least be placed under the close and direct supervision of a civilian board of scientists & engineers. A heavily armed civilian board of scientists & engineers, so lessons may be taught, as needed.


I had to teach my students - the ones who believe that the levees were blown up - an old malleable quote sometimes attributed to Napoleon, otherwise as Hanlon's Razor: "Never ascribe to conspiracy or malice that which can be explained by incompetence and stupidity."

Incompetence and stupidity are killing our country. It isn't an ideology, or a political party or a conspiracy. It is not because of who allegedly stupid people vote for, or even that the people who have been "running things" for the last 20 years think we're too stupid to catch on.

Part of it is because anti-intellectualism has been around for a long time. It isn't cool to be smart. We demonize teachers and college professors while we lionize Larry the Cable Guy, Jackass and Bling-Bling thug culture. We're not falling to the bottom, we're racing to get there.

It is because whatever sector of this nation you work in - defense, education, business, disaster policy, wherever - if you go high enough, you will find someone of desperate importance who has no clue how to do their job, yet they keep getting paid and people continue to listen to and cover for them.

They don't even know how they got the job. Hell, they don't even know how lucky they are not to walk through moving airplane propellers. They just know that one day, they walked into their office and for some reason eveyrone started complaining about needing something done that they didn't know how to do. Instead of actually learning their own job requirements, or figuring out exactly what it was they were getting paid for, they got defensive. They didn't listen to smarter people who gave them advice, training or marching orders because nobody can tell them anything.

For the last 10 years while they should have been doing what they were getting paid to do, they were spending time blaming someone else or trying to prove why they aren't at fault. Because people at that level get paid anyway, even when they're fired for not doiong their job.

(Explain to me, again, why "capitalism - the stupid people version" rewards failure so handsomely...)

Soon the stink of this will be too bad and change will come. The course will correct. It won't be perfect, but it will be better. It happens, societies move in cycles. I just hope that change is worth the wait. I also hope we don't have to go through too many more disasters before we get to that point.


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Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Can Has Politics?





Oh. Noes.


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Friday Funnies

Usually, Clicked is on point. Today, he's on fire, and he gets the HT for all the following links. I mean, thank the Lord we have people who get paid to search the internet for funny stuff to read and share.

These kids today. Let the new generational animosity begin. My generation fires off some broadsides against Generation Y. I know it sounds just like what the Boomers did to us, but the Boomers said these things about us with fear in their voices and the usual Boomer "sky is falling" tone.

Generation X is going after Generation Y with our trademark self-depreciation, ascerbic wit and rolling our eyes. Time to dust off the Doc Martens and get back to kickin' ass. Just as soon as I finish this cup of coffee (which we'll get back to in a second).

The only thing that seems to stick in our craw harder than having to deal with the Whiners is having to deal with Boomers falling all over themselves to coddle the younglings and their little glittery wands. Need evidence? If the three words "scripted reality show" isn't enough for you, here's your sign.

Next up, and something that is only funny to those of us who belong to generations that actually came up with neat ideas and could follow a story arc for three movies: The Empire Strikes Barack.

And, because we all have run into these people, the funniest link you will read from this post is about the 8 Most Annoying People You'll Find Inside Starbucks. And we all have run into that guy.

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Endorsements

I've spoken before about the utter contempt in which I held the media frenzy surrounding the Reverend Wright thing. I thought it was both ridiculous and ideologically inconsistent for folks to put so much onus on such a thing.

Ridiculous because I know plenty of folks who belong to congregations where the preacher or pastor is an advocate of things they might find disagreeable; and ideologically inconsistent because John McCain himself went looking for the endorsement of some equally crazy and offensive preachers, and seemed to be getting a pass.

Today, we learn that, while not too much has been made about the McCain/Pastor John Hagee relationship (at least relative to the Obama/Rev. Wright thing), the situation has warranted a similar disentanglement of association. The talking points are of a similar politically expedient variety, McCain having said - much like Obama when the offensive comments were 'brought to light' - "I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything."

I just don't get why a real candidate can't just say "well, I accept the endorsement on ________ grounds, because we agree on thus and such, while I absolutely do not agree with everything so-and-so has said." Much like the American voters, who, with perhaps a very tiny minority of isolated individuals, probably don't agree with everything their own family and friends say.

What really got my attention today was that one of John McCain's top political strategists is a cat who used to get paid money to make awful Third World Dictators more palatable to people who run our government.

Call me crazy, but I put a whole lot more emphasis on deeds than words. It may be problematic for Obama to have stayed in Rev. Wright's congregation while the former Marine-turned-preacher was ranting against America, but it really gets to me that McCain has such a close professional relationship with a guy who was paid by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos of the Phillipines, and Mobutu Sese Seko.

Matter of fact, didn't the US government's "anti-communist" support of such dictators and governments - and resulting oppression of all institutions possibly considered democratic (like voting, human rights and political parties) - actually encourage anti-American views both abroad and at home (possibly views held by such men as Rev. Wright)? Didn't the US government's support (at the hands of well paid lobbyists and Cold Warriors) for these types of governments, their corruption and their oppression of secular opposition parties give rise, at the end of the Cold War, to terrorist organizations (possibly ones that are currently planning the next big attack on America)?

Now, I don't want to venture too far into Noam Chomskyland, I know we did what we had to do to win the Cold War and I know a lot of those things weren't pretty. Realpolitik is a cold word for a reason. But with all the devastating problems that have arisen because of our behavior during that time, does it seem wise, now, to bring in folks who made money orchestrating our current unstable and dangerous world situation?

From the "experienced, national security" party and candidate?

Unfortunately, I doubt much will be made of this political relationship. For a very long time, a significant portion of our foreign policy (and voter motivation) has been to side with short term gains while running the risk of long term exposure.

But, for me, that seals the deal. McCain would be a better President than the current bunch of yahoos, but the philosophies on how to run foreign policy are being run by the same people that made this whole thing blow up in our faces.


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Hooray for gas prices!

You've probably noticed that gas prices have gone up a bit lately. If not, you obviously not only don't drive anywhere but you also have missed the myriad of absurd stories on the news about people being "forced" to do odd things so they can still afford gasoline. There's a lot of finger-pointing and there's a lot of blame being thrown around.

Personally, I like the high gas prices. No, I'm not some tree-hugging liberal hippie who want to see the destruction of motorized transportation. The way I see it, I'm paying about $100 per month more for gas than I used to a year ago. Even if gas prices double, that only puts me at about $300 more than I paid then. What do I get for that $100-$300 premium? An empty lake. It's a deal. For some reason $1 per gallon is keeping people from taking their $50K boat out on the water. I don't understand that but I'll take it. If you've ever been interested in boating, now is the time to look into it. You can get a boat dirt cheap and that price is only going down. Sure gas costs a lot but it's so worth it for calm afternoon waters. I'm even considering lifting my longstanding ban on going out on the lake on the big 3 weekends this year (Memorial, 4th, and Labor).

It's a shame that the Chinese Olympics will be over soon and the economic bust that follows any Olympics held in a city in no shape to host such a thing will decrease their demand for oil. The value of the dollar is also going to stop dropping when our economy picks back up. That's going to drop some oil prices. And all those investors throwing money into oil futures because it's the only thing offering a decent return these days are going to find better and safer investments. Crap. I guess I better enjoy the empty lake while I can. Maybe this peak oil thing will pan out finally. They've been telling us it's going to happen for at least 30 years now.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Unsolicited Advice

Cliff comes tight with questions he has as a parent who will be sending his child to a school in New Orleans. I started to respond to his post, then realized I was bloviating badly in his comments section. It has turned into a post of its own:

Good questions. Please let me know when and where you find answers. I've been looking for some of those answers since September.

I can't speak for Clark, as I have not heard much about this particular school. But the best unsolicited advice I can give you (and it would be the same for any parent with kids at any school in New Orleans), as a current and soon to be ex-teacher in the RSD (with plenty of friends working the Charters...) once your kid gets into a school, stay involved.

Go to the school. Meet the teachers. Pick up your kid's report card without having to be told to do so (teachers are currently asked to call parents to let them know this). Observe your kid's classes and make sure they are getting what they need. Observe other grades and see how the progressions work. Make sure they use the library and computers and resources they have available.

Don't tell your kid that you are going to go to the school. Just go up and see what the class is like without them knowing you are there.

Recognize that the friends your kid makes will be the most important factors on your kid's at-school behavior. Your kid's classmates will be the second most important factor. Parents, administrators and teachers are a distant factor.

Understand that many teachers and administrators, new and old, are as confused about the system as the most involved parents. Best thing is to get to know some teachers and administrators, and volunteer to help (any time you can spare) in school functions. That will keep you in the loop as everyone learns how this system works (or fails).

Rise up, join, or (you may have to) start your PTA group.

If your kid ends up in a class without supplies, complain. In writing. To the school and the district. You can do this respectfully, quietly, and in order (school first, then district), but it must - must be done. Lack of involvement has done as much damage if not more than mismanaged funding. The same advice can be said for:

If your kid ends up in a class with bullies, complain. In writing. To the school and the district. If the bullies have something called IEP's, complain a lot. In writing. Get to know a lawyer.

If your kid ends up at a school where they are lumped into a class with other students with far greater or far less ability to grasp the subject matter, complain. In writing. To the school and the district. Get to know a lawyer.

These actions may sound harsh, but from what I've seen, the schools are hamstrung by the district (who is hamstrung by obscure educational "policies" from somewhere...) in dealing with those few students whose presence in any classroom or school can absolutely derail and wreck the learning of dozens of other students.

The most desperate need for the schools in New Orleans right now are effective alternative and special education schools for those students who cannot function, socially or organically, in classrooms of 20+ other on-level students.

Differentiation of instruction is fine for 7th graders if the spread is that they read between a 5th grade and a 9th grade level. If your whole class of 7th graders has a reading spread of Pre-K to 10th grade levels, no amound of differentiation is going to work. The near level, on level and advanced students will not be pushed while the teacher(s) are busy trying to calm the Pre-K reading level 7th grader who is jumping on tables to distract everyone from the fact that he or she can't read.

In such a case, all students get 'left behind,' and when New Orleans' LEAP scores come out, that should almost totally answer your question for "why" they are not performing well.

If your kid is going to a school where all students are lumped together with no rhyme or reason and the onus is put on the teacher to "differentiate instruction effectively," your kid is going to have problems with bullies, instruction, and idleness in a class waiting for the furthest behind to be catered to because they have the most involved advocates both inside and outside the bureaucracy. Your student will also have less consistency in instruction, as teachers in such situations have been known to burn out quickly.

You must be your child's own advocate, but moving them from school to school, public, charter and private only keeps the problem perpetual. Fight for the school to become better, and the better administrators, teachers and students will all be better off and we can start to really fix this thing. If you sit around and wait for anyone else to do something about it, well, we've seen what that gets us.

Congratulations on your lottery slot. Good luck with the kid and the school.


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Is Our Pundits Learning?

Oh, I usually don't hold Chris Matthews up as any kind of journalistic representative, but I'm in stitches after watching this segment of Hardball. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to get in a historical argument without knowing any actual history? Oh yeah, that kind of argument dominates our current political climate, sweetie.

This one's about "appeasement" again. We've gone over it a few times on this site, and it infuriates me how that word is misused in this day and age. Especially by people who should know better, especially those currently responsible for our diaster of a foreign policy. I'm appalled that a lot of right-wingers have the definition wrong. The video may help you understand why.

It isn't about policy. It is about advertising a product. That product is the GOP. It is a group of marketing specialists who aren't actually selling anything of substance, or don't actually know anything about the product they're trying to sell. That's why all you really real conservatives are out there wondering what happened to your Party after Reagan and Gingrich.

Talk radio isn't hate radio, it is stupid radio.

HT to the always insightful Safe As Houses who had this to say:

"[I]t's refreshing - and hysterical - to watch [Matthews] absolutely humiliate conservative talk show host Kevin James.

Pretty much, James is an utter moron whose knowledge of history consists of sound bites he's picked up over the years from other utter morons. And Matthews's point stands ... Neville Chamberlain wasn't an appeaser because he talked with Adolf Hitler, but rather because he gave away half of a country he had no right to give away thinking it would satisfy a madman. His judgement was flawed because of what he agreed to and not because he sat down to chat.
Emphasis mine. Other utter morons indeed. I wonder when it stopped being cool to actually know what you're talking about.


Oh yeah...Middle School.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Funnel Cloud Photo Op


As I write this, New Orleans is under a tornado watch. Fun week. Fun Spring. Let us pray hurricane season is less active.

You know you are in the digital age when you have multiple viewpoints and footage of a tornado striking a community of 12,000 people. My email inbox is literally full of pictures from the storm on St. Simons Island and Darien. I would love to give credit where credit is due, but most of these have come in anonymously as they make the rounds from place to place.

I have no idea who took the pics above, but I've recieved it today from four different people back home. The first one is taken from the Malcolm McKinnon Airport on St. Simons Island, Georgia, looking north by northwest. The next one is looking out over the marsh, probably from Dunbar Point, also looking northwest. These two were taken about the same time from different locations, but you can tell when you look at the shape of the clouds.

Several emails have included this fantastic shot (it is in a sequence that culminates in the large funnel cloud pic above) as the funnel cloud forms over the marshes between mainland Brunswick and St. Simons Island. I'm sure that Islanders will find fish in their yards that weren't put there by human hands.

Usually pictures from this angle are of wildlife and sunsets, your average postcard image. Betcha these don't make it into the 2009 tour guides.


The next shots come from an email that started with a Catherine McCoy, who I do not know, but who I must share only a few degrees seperation from as her email was forwarded to my inbox. She was out and about as the rain abated, and ended up getting a hold of these pictures from various locations.

Some stories to share: One of my best friends from high school lives in Macon, Georgia these days. Unlike what the folks on the news were saying, Macon isn't really a suburb of Atlanta. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not paying attention to gasoline prices.

Macon, too, was hit hard by storms. His kitchen is apparently somewhere in a nearby lake, and his roof is no longer attached to his house, but didn't go anywhere. This is said to give the impression that his home is talking every time a breeze kicks up. He sounded snarky about it, which means everything is OK with him as far as life and limb and family is concerned. His family, by the way, used to live about a mile from where the next picture was taken.

This one is most likely a picture of the tornado that hit Darien, Georgia. The picture was taken around the Glynco Jetport, not too far from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The view is looking almost due north towards Darien.

This tornado was apparently blowing trees across I-95, hitting several cars in the process. One story is that it launched two motorcyclists into the air from one side of the interstate to the other. Reports indicate that, though shaken up and scratched, "Davidson and Harley were OK." The bikes, not so much. Here's some more property that didn't end up doing well on Mother's Day:

This one is the Gateway Center in Darien. It is a type of public service for young women and their children, some sort of shelter for them. When word came that this place got hit, heards fell as some sort of death toll or casualty figure was expected. Luckily, none appeared hurt. Though the building doesn't appear to have given much shelter, someone was looking out for anyone nearby.

Back on Island City, a family friend's house ended up looking like this. These are giant oak trees, with some Georgia pine added in for good measure, being flung around like so many toys. It just reminds me of the awful power of nature to do what she will. It is our job to pay attention and get out of the way when she goes on a rampage.

Morals of this story: don't get too attached to things, especially if you live on the coast or in tornado alley; pay attention to the weather; keep your insurance up to date and the paperwork somewhere safe; and invest in rapid response and recovery infrastructure. The last picture was taken on the same day of the storms.

Keep a digital camera handy in case something big happens. Cell phone cameras are incredibly useful. And keep your lines of communication open in case everyone in your old hometown needs to contact you about everyone else being safe and sound.

Last two pix courtesy of Tom Wenzka, his bicycle and his cellphone camera.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Island City Survives

First of all, my information is all second hand, from phone conversations and emails. So there's that as a disclaimer. I'm in New Orleans, I have not seen any of the damage to St. Simons Island or Darien with my own eyes.

To the left, you are driving somewhere in the vicinity of Sea Palms West, in the middle of St. Simons Island, Georgia. I can't tell you exactly where it is, because I don't recognize the street anymore. One of my best friends grew up approximately 300 yards to the south of this location (and his parents still live there), and I rode my bike past this place more times than I can count. You shouldn't be able to see the sky, as the road should be canopied by majestic live oaks.

Of course, upon hearing that a tornado had ripped up her Island, the Moms did the only rational thing: she waited for the storm to clear, and went out to take pictures. I've told her for years she should either be a house flipper or a storm chaser. So all these pictures are courtesy of Wendy Armstrong.

She sent these to me and told me I could show them to our New Orleans family. After I got off the phone, I realized two things: 1) the New Orleans family doesn't need to see pictures of destruction in other states - we see enough of that here, and 2) another uncle of mine lives in Atlanta, and his office was shut down back in March - by another tornado.

But it could be worse. Many people in Oklahoma, Arkansas and other states have lost loved ones this Spring. So far, Coastal Georgia's casualties are mainly trees and property, which can grow back or be repaired.

Oh yeah, and this is only a taste of what it would be like in a hurricane. Luckily, after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 Coastal Georgia began to take emergency preparedness rather seriously. Half the pictures my Mom sent me have clean-up vehicles moving about. And you can see from these that roads have, for the most part, been cleared for through traffic.

It wasn't just St. Simons Island and Glynn County that got a tornado, either. Darien, Georgia, just north up the coast, got hammered even worse. And, again, this is nothing compared to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

It is a miracle that no one was killed in the Coastal Empire by these things. There ain't that many places to hide. A close family friend, well, her house was at the epicenter of destruction on the Island. She hid in a closet with her dogs until the thing passed by. Her yard, once shaded by giant live oaks, is now bathed in sun.

Strange thing is, some folks very close to these storms didn't even lose power for a moment. Others are still waiting to get it back. A lot of folks went out and got on their bikes and started taking pictures.

But I've called or emailed or heard from or about most of the folks I know in these affected areas. If anything had happened to anyone, I'd like to think I'd have heard about it by now. So we don't have to worry about burying the dead. This time. Clean up can begin in earnest.



Update 5/14/08:For those of you linking directly here from other sites, first of all, thanks for the visit. Second, I have an additional post and pictures that you can see here. HR

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The McCain Paradox

Speed Racer isn't the only thing with a lack of incoming cash right now. The McCain Presidential campaign is facing an uphill battle getting donations from longtime Republican donors. Probably the most significant quote in this article comes right here:


``A significant percentage of your base Republican support, whether financial or otherwise, are not fans of McCain because of various things he's done or said or sponsored,'' said Republican consultant Eddie Mahe, who is supporting the Arizona senator. ``Many of them don't see Mr. McCain as being a lot better'' than the Democrats.


Yeah, McCain blazes his own trail. He's a maverick who does as he pleases and breaks rank with the Republican party frequently. Yet conservatives Republican voters (and donors apparently) who aren't so fond of McCain are supposed to just shut up and tow the party line this November? That's the paradox. You reap what you sow. You give us a maverick and we'll be our own mavericks. Loyalty works both way. If you don't have any, we won't either.

At this point, it looks like Barr may be my Presidential candidate. Am I throwing my vote away? I already did that back in the Presidential primary when I turned my back on Ron Paul to vote for Romney who then promptly gave up on us. Ron Paul is a certifiable wacko, but he did line up best with my political leanings. The things he could actually get accomplished line up quite nicely with my political leanings. Voting Romney felt kind of like buying a product from a store that goes out of business the next day. And then in the middle of the night someone breaks into you house, steals that shiny new somewhat-conservative item, and replaces it with a populist liberal who was too far left of "compassionate conservatism" back in 2000.

I wouldnt say I've been missing it...

Last week, one of the greatest thing that ever happened to me took place: I lost my cell phone. I'm pretty sure it's near (but not in) the lake. I've spent a week without the phone and couldn't be happier. I can still check my messages by dialing the number and using my remote password. I just can't be interrupted with phone calls. Too bad eventually I'll have to replace my phone. The upside to having my phone is being able to talk to my wife on my commutes to and from work but it's been really nice just checking for messages occasionally. Maybe when I go back in for a replacement I can get the phone company to shut off my text messaging. It's the biggest racket in telephony right now seeing as what they charge (both ways) for what they provide. And someone always forgets and sends me one so I'm stuck paying $.25 per message for messages I didn't even send because I don't pay their $5 per month for pre-packaged texts.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Stormy Sunday

Just got a call from the folks. I had spoken to them at about 11 am CST this morning for the Mother's Day call, and they told me that the severe weather had moved through. The New Orleans family had discussed this at breakfast today, since storms were tearing up the rest of the south.

So they called back a little while ago, and apparently a tornado has done some damage to St Simons Island, too. Happened this afternoon, up on the north end of the Island, around Sea Palms West and Major Wright Road (for you locals). Reports (I made several calls) tell me that the city of Darien, up the coast, was hit even worse. (My calls to friends in that town aren't getting through.) I'm hearing that power is out, lines are down, the damage to the oak trees is nothing short of catastrophic, and the authorities have shut down most folks traveling on Frederica Road, the main north-south street on the Island. So far, it sounds like most Islanders were just rattled a little bit, and are picking up. I'm hoping everyone is OK. I hope that story holds out. More on this later.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

People in the News

I love it when folks I know show up in the news, doing cool stuff.

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LOLCollegeStudents

Yeah. I used to live in Athens, Georgia. That being said, I am quite happy the new Overseen in Athens website didn't come online until recently.

The only thing that would be worse, or better - depending on what you're looking for, is an "Overseen on St Simons Island" website.

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Culture Clash

So, when football season finally rolls around, I have the distinct luxury of living in the South. We may not have invented football, but for the last century or so we've been working on perfecting it. This includes the amazing cultural atmosphere surrounding our pre-game festivities, usually called "tailgating."

While the tailgating trait is usually associated with big time college football, I have recently taken up residence in one of the few cities where fans of the professional football team take their sports culture rather seriously as well.

So I feel confident that any consistent reader of Hurricane Radio is well versed in football fandom and tailgating. Which is why the linked to article is so well worth the read. As many of you already know, the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team will be making several long road trips this fall. In addition to a HUGE showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge in October, the Dawgs will be flying out to Tempe, Arizona to take on Arizona State.

While the Georgia fanbase (strangely well represented in the 14th Ward of New Orleans...) knows exactly what to expect from the trip to Baton Rouge, a bunch of the folks flying out to the desert were wondering what house rules will apply in the shadows of Sun Devil stadium.

Georgia Sports Blog has gone out and found the answers, and involves a culture so wildly alien to our own that I have to share the link. Fantastic read about the differences of South vs West.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

I mentioned it back when the Simpsons Movie came out but if I actually bother to spend exorbitant prices to go see a movie opening weekend, you can guarantee it's going to be #1. This weekend was no exception with the movie I've been anticipating ever since I heard details on the cast and crew: Iron Man.

Ok, let's get the guy from Swingers to make a comic book movie starring Robert Downey Jr as an alcoholic conservative super hero, Gweneth Paltrow as his assistant and Starman the Dude (Jeff Bridges) as his business partner. What's not to like?

I was never a big fan of Iron Man comics growing up because quite frankly he's not that interesting on a monthly basis, especially with the poor writing staff that was usually relegated to the Iron Man title but he always had so much potential. He was usually best as a foil to that namby-pamby liberal Captain America. The Captain says killing the Supreme Intelligence is wrong and the Avengers all vote to not kill it and then Iron Man goes and kills it anyways because he doesn't care about the lovey-feely idea of let's-not-kill-a-severe-threat-to-earth-as-we-know-it. He just takes care of business as he sees fit.

The movie was quite interesting because it managed to remain mostly faithful to the comic books without being overly stupid. I'm not a big believer that comic book movies should stay all that true to the source material if they can make a better movie by discarding it but I do respect a production crew managing to remain so faithful while still putting out a good product. Robert Downey Jr was absolutely incredible as Tony Stark. I had high expectations and he met them. There were silly bits. It's a comic book movie. That's inevitable. But for the most part the silliness was kept to a minimum.

I hope Marvel has the good sense to not let this franchise slide into the kiddie movie genre like all the other Marvel sequels. (A sequel is inevitable since it handily beat opening weekend box office returns for every other Marvel franchise except Spiderman.) Fortunately, I don't think any returning cast would let that happen. They're all A-List actors who tend to avoid poor movies (with obvious exceptions).

It also did fairly well with the wife factor. Let's face it: this entire genre is male movie territory. It's the modern-day 80's-action-movie. Yet my wife actually enjoyed large parts of this movie, especially those involving Gweneth Paltrow's character.

If you're on the fence about seeing this movie, go ahead and check it out. You'll like it. If you're not really into this sort of thing, check it out when you can rent or see it on TV. It's still worth a watch. Make sure to watch the closing credits. There's on of those extra scenes at the end a-la Ferris Beuller.