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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hurricane Ernesto, or, five weeks in Hell:

I haven't said much this season about storms, and I certainly have not expressed the level of raw panic I did last season. The simple reason for that is that I'm too tired and I generally feel like shit. My blood pressure is spiking up to levels that should be medicated, I'm not sleeping well, I'm about 40-50 lbs. overweight, I don't exercise, and I eat pretty much everything I shouldn't. I know the forecast cone encompasses Florida, but that can easily change, so I have no intention of relaxing yet, or at all, until this season is over.

Hurricane Ernesto, like all storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, has me very worried. I know it's a phobic response brought about by repeated trauma, but, looking in the grocery store, I'm far from alone. People are starting to stock up on soda, beer, and bottled water. Thusfar, I haven't seen the shelves at the grocery store denuded like a plague of locusts had descended upon them, but it's still Sunday yet. I fully expect to see that in one to three days, assuming I'm still at home then and not on the road running from this storm.

I mentioned five weeks in Hell, because that is the time remaining in the peak of hurricane season for the Gulf Coast, although storms are possible at any point during hurricane season. If you don't have any experience with this, I cannot begin to express my happiness for you, and would like to express my sincerest desire that you never know this. The ocean temperatures are slightly above normal for this time of year, but they're not at body temperature like they were last season. This means that storms have the potential to be a bit stronger than normal, but I refuse to speculate on the rest of the season, or, in fact, this storm. What I do know is that we're not on last year's pace, a fact for which I'm grateful. I only hope no one is harmed.

Finally, you know this wouldn't be one of my posts if I weren't angry at someone, and once again, that person is Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. His words and actions have led to the deaths and suffering of many, and may ultimately lead to the death of New Orleans. I have never seen this level of insensitivity, incompetency, and love of the taste of one's own shoe leather from any elected official in my lifetime. You may think I'm exaggerating when I say that his words may lead to the death of New Orleans, but take for example his words on 60 Minutes. I believe the comments speak for themselves. He criticizes the federal government for reacting so slowly to Hurricane Katrina, but the destruction it wrought over such a wide area hampered relief efforts. The events of 9/11/2001, on the other hand, left the rest of the city intact, there was still a civil infrastructure including fire and police departments, they still had running water and electricity, the streets were still as passable as they ever are, and they still had mass transit services available. His comments only showed his deep ignorance and disrespect for everyone, including himself, and only served to alienate those whose help this entire region still needs and will continue to need for quite a while. It is my sincerest regret that he was elected to yet another four-year term, and my sincerest hope that his words are not thought to be representative of the opinions of this region. The people of the central Gulf Coast are, by and large, good people, not assholes like this shit-stain on the political landscape.

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