Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's cooking?

Mam-ah's Mini-Pizzas

"I'm not asking you to fix ‘em tonight, Mom, but you know what you haven't made in a while? Those little pizzas."

"That's scary," said Hubby. "I was just thinking of them last week."

Everyone who remembers their grandmothers probably remembers them as the best cook. My maternal grandmother, Elsa Carlena Terese Mack Baldwin (I just called her Mam-ah) definitely was. I don't remember ever noticing a cookbook in her kitchen, seeing her look at a recipe or using any of the standard forms of measurement that we rely upon.

She just knew.

After failing to teach me some of her recipes for years, Mam-ah finally became disgusted with my inability to grasp her "handful" (she had hands as big as a catcher's mitt) or "dash" method of measuring ingredients.

Deciding I was hopeless in a kitchen, she invented a simple recipe on the spot she thought I might be able to handle. It goes like this:

English Muffins, sliced in half, VERY lightly toasted
Top with a slice of American cheese.
Add a slice of tomato
Cris-cross with two half-slices of bacon
Place under broiler until done.

I'm sure Mam-ah is still looking down on me and shaking her head. Hers always came out perfectly. Mine? I have to precook the bacon a little because if I don't, it's either underdone or the rest is bordering on burnt.

Okay, okay. No "bordering." It is.

Variations: Try different cheeses; tomato sauce or prepared spaghetti sauce rather than the slice of fresh tomato (but that's best!); use crumbled, cooked bacon instead of sliced, or diced ham, or (already cooked) ground beef or (preferably Italian) sausage. Don't forget the possibility of diced onion and/or bell pepper. A "dash" of powdered garlic and/or oregano?

Once the "dangerous" work like slicing, dicing and toasting is done and before the broiler is needed, there's a safe window when kids can be kept busy on the "assembly line."

Make tons. To reheat leftovers, place the "pizzas" (do not layer) on a microwave-safe plate, cover loosely with wrap. "Nuke" (depending on your microwaves's voltage) for . . .

I dunno. They're too good even cold.

LATER: Linked to The Carnival of the Recipes #59 (An Ode to Autumn).


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It doesn't matter how much money has already been sent to Louisiana. It doesn't matter how much has been pledged from the U.S. government, other countries, corporations, or charitable organizations. It also doesn't matter what the actual need is. When it comes to money, Louisiana Sentator Mary Landrieu (D) just wants more. A lot more. Like $250 billion more.

I read through the summary (PDF warning. Nine pages of small, slightly fuzzy print.) and kept telling myself I was misreading it. Some of the dollars in one category had to overlap into the dollars in another. Same dollars but their expenditure would fund two (or more) purposes.

Uh, no.

It's like a cute little blond with a cast on her leg who's sitting on Santa's lap. Sensing an advantage, the list of toys she tells him she expects under her tree Christmas morning, already massive, just keeps getting longer and longer still.

Like looters who seize six televisions when their homes have room for only two, the Louisiana legislators are out to grab more federal cash than they could possibly spend usefully.. . . This is the equivalent of New York responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center by insisting upon a federally financed stadium in Brooklyn. -- The Washington Post
Wapo hits a couple of the items, but let me tell you my two favorites:

$13 billion is provided to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, subdivided for the following purposes: $7 billion for Evacuation and Energy Routes, $5 billion to increase transportation capacity in cities affected by an influx of evacuees, and $1 billion to ports in Louisiana for restoration, protection and improvement.
Evacuation and Energy Routes, $7 billion?

First, what's an Energy Route? Isn't that like . . . roads, maybe? What about the highway bill that Congress just passed? As for evacuations, maybe somebody in the state government could find out what happened to the $500,000 FEMA awarded to New Orleans.

There's no money shown for this next one, but . . . huh?
Gives the Secretary of Commerce the authority to direct the United States Customs Service to issue an automatic liquidation to provide much needed relief to the domestic crawfish processors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who have been adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina and the continued dumping of crawfish tail meat from China. [emphasis --ed)
It's one thing to ask for needed help when disaster strikes. It's something else entirely when the politicians act like it's a dream come true.

LATER: Linked to Wizbang's Carnival of the Trackbacks

What media bias?

Do you notice anything perhaps a little . . . ummm, blatant with this article?

Monday, September 26, 2005

It's not like I hadn't warned him

When I got home carrying the first few bags in, I found Hubby had closed himself in the bathroom. "You gotta come out sooner or later," I yelled pounding on the door.

I went back outside to bring in a few more, pounding on the bathroom door before I went back to the car. "I'm not coming out, ever!" he yelled.

I caught him trying to escape down the hallway not long after I brought the last bags in. I'm sure he'd peeked out from behind the door and saw what awaited him.

"HA!" I said, handing him the new box of freezer-strength bags I'd bought, just to make sure he didn't run out.

Last week going through the grocery store ads I'd said, "Winn Dixie has one heck of a meat sale this week. You know what that means doncha."

Hubby blanched.

I'm feeding the freezer, and he's gotta wrap it all.

(Ground beef, 1/4 pound hamburger patties, sirloin steaks, London broil, roasts, pork chops . . . )

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I am a thoughtless wretch. An UTTERLY thoughtless one. I forgot. Well, not really but I'm late.

I knew it was around this time but kept neglecting to remember to check until just now. And now, I've missed it.

My Blog-Mama had a Blogiversary, her first.

I missed the opportunity to tell her once again that I DIDN'T WANT A BLOG AND WAS ONLY TRYING TO GET A SIGN-ON TO HERS AND I ENDED UP WITH THIS THING!

Now look at me.

It's all YOUR fault!

With love,

Your blog-daughter

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Invisible dog food

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Tank was once again on his regular feed, except for the entire teaspoon of chicken and rice I had to mix into it in order to get him to even look at it. While I didn't mention it I knew the possibility was that I was getting scammed, I did say I wasn't going to fight it. I wasn't sure.

Turns out I wasn't being scammed, but times change.

We'd been through several weeks of chemo already and like clockwork, the morning after each treatment Tank would spit out his "Chewy Thingie" (a toffy-like, peanut butter-flavored Glucosamine Chondroitin supplement) and refuse to even try to nibble on a treat much less eat his feed. So it was back to full-strength chicken and rice and then slowly weaning him off that while just as slowly getting him back on his regular feed, until the next treatment when we'd start the process all over again.

Tank had a week off from treatment earlier this month and has had chemo twice since. When we started again, I was expecting to have to start the chicken and rice routine the next morning but didn't have to. And didn't have to this week, either.

Tank's been scoffing down his "Chewy Thingie" and treats, but that danged dog food? Not just no, but HELL no unless I'd mixed that teaspoon of chicken and rice into it.

If he NEEDS chicken and rice I'll cook it, but I'm not going to cook up a batch just so that I can mix a teaspoon of it into his feed!

When the container was empty, I opened up one of the cans of stinky / crappy dog food I'd bought when we were trying to get him to eat anything.

I put a forkful of it in with his feed. The disgusting glob just sat there, so I smashed it into tiny bits throughout his feed. And he ate it.

Same thing with his afternoon feed.

It's such a little bit that after a few days I just put his feed in front of him.

Tank looked at me as I watched to see if he'd eat it and said, Ewwwwww! I won't eat tha- at! It's daaaa-awg food!

Very obediently, I immediately picked up his bowl and added a forkful of canned dog food to his dry feed, smashing and mixing the blob into oblivion.

And he ate it.

I'd learned long ago that we humans do things unconsciously that dogs react to. Sometimes, the best way to correct a situation with a dog is to change something we're doing that's causing it. That can also be the hardest problem to correct because first we have to figure out what we're doing wrong, and then stop doing it.

Tank's a smart old dog and he'd trained me well.

I've been so worried that he wouldn't eat, I've been standing there watching him.

If he hesitates or stops for too long, he's now sure I'll automatically add stuff to it. If I don't notice (now kinda- sorta looking at the newspaper's headlines, going through the grocery store ads, staring off into space like I usta do) he starts eating again. A few mouthfuls later, he stops and looks at me to see if I'm looking at him and noticed.

I do catch myself looking over that way, then stop myself hard and go back to whut.ever. A few seconds later, he starts eating again.

The other thing he's picked up on is me taking something out of the refrigerator, then spooning or forking something out of a container or can into his bowl, and then squishing and mixing and stirring in with his dry feed whatever I've put in there.

Martha Stewart would have a breakdown trying to figure out why someone is keeping an empty dog food can with a baggie over its top in their refrigerator. Marcel Marceau if he were still alive, on the other hand, would be every proud of me.

Scrape scrape scrape, tap tap tap, mash and mix, mash and mix, tap tap tap.

Tank cleans his bowl, so long as he doesn't see me paying too much attention.

The next step is my slow reduction and ultimate elimination of theatrics, so that I can get that damned empty can out of my refrigerator.

Less than two months ago without treatment Tank had, at best, maybe 30 days. He is now in complete remission and we're trying to slow him down because after being so inactive, we're afraid he's going to pull something.


Week Five
Week Four
Week Three
Week Two -- Part Three.
Week Two -- Part Two (We begin).
Week Two -- Part One.
Week One.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita approaches shore, and a rant

If this offends anyone out there please accept my apologies in advance. I'm sick of hearing about New Orleans and Louisiana.

Rita is coming in and there's more attention being paid to New Orleans and Lousiana than any others who will be affected.

I've never been to New Orleans or Louisiana but I have a couple of friends whose roots are there. I also have friends and family in Houston. They're fine and will be especially since Rita won't be hitting them directly. That doesn't mean they won't be affected. And now that they're out of the crosshairs I'm not saying that they should be the focus, either.

Where Rita hits and the people who are there should be.

But when NOLA began flooding again this morning that's all the coverage was.


Or it should be.

It wouldn't have been if someone hadn't gotten through to Ray "I'm the Mayor!" Nagin (I wonder who it was.) and convinced him to terminate and reverse the re-entry of New Orleans residents he was having news conferences about every ten minutes.

Funny thing, I haven't seen him at all today. I wonder if he's spending the weekend with his family, in the new home he bought for them outside of Dallas.

Oh, but Goobernor Kathleen Blanco was out there. In her stumbling press conference this afternoon she announced "Task Force Rita" is ready to . . . uh, do something.

They're positioned just outside of the storm area, she said, and will ride out the storm . . .

Wait, which is it?

Not shown in the transcript is her hesitant, uneven delivery or where she confused Katrina with Rita, and then had to start that part of her prepared statement again from the beginning.

Rita's coming in, but . . .

"Let me take a moment away from discussing our preparations for Rita to focus on the recovery from Katrina.
Yeah, New Orleans is under water again. And Blanco wants more money from the Federal government.

"In another effort to help our local governments, today, I asked President Bush to change the rules and allow FEMA to pay the base salaries of our police, deputies, firefighters and other government workers."
What about Louisiana picking up the tab, Goobernor? How much is your state kicking in to help to support its own communities?

Oh, and . . .

"The announcement from HUD and Homeland Security today about rental assistance and housing vouchers may address the needs of our friends in Alabama and Mississippi . it does little for Louisiana citizens who want to come home."
While I don't live in Alabama or Mississippi if I may be so bold (and I can do any darned thing I want here 'cause this is my blog) I'd like to speak on their behalf for a moment.

Up yours.

Rental assistance and housing vouchers are okay for them. But for Louisiana, Blanco wants "FEMA to speed up the purchase of hotels and motels where we can provide complete services for our evacuees where we can provide complete services."

The purchase? Ain't she just so speshul!

I don't think so.

I have little doubt that while Blanco wants our dollars to be used she expects what's bought with them to either be put into Louisiana's name OR run under their management.

And "Naggin" Nagin wants any and all rebuilding dollars pledged for NOLA to go through his local and state government, with only local and state businesses allowed to do the work.

Somehow, I don't think that's going to work.

At least it doesn't work for me considering indictments for missing FEMA funds, misspent funds for evacuation planning and growing indications that the levees gave way not because of lack of funding, but substandard design and materials once the locals got their mitts on it.

I wonder if the reason Blanco seemed so shook today was that she was imagining herself in the near future, clothed in always slimming, vertical stripes.

LATER: I turned to FoxNews for Rita coverage last night and who was jolly on the spot but Geraldo. I looked at Hubby, he looked at me. I nodded and he zapped the remote to a different station. Then another one and another one after that. Each one had a fearless reporter or reporterette braving the storm to provide the same breathless live coverage that it was extremely windy and very rainy and would be getting worse. So, we watched the Sci-Fi Channel instead. This morning, Fox's coverage included replays of Shepard Smith getting knocked on his ass last night by the wind, and also last night from ABC, one of their dingbats chasing an overturned planter around an empty hotel lobby to show viewers just how windy it was.

Bumped up from comments, a link to Joe from Attaboy's commentary on the evenhanded and uplifting reporting being done by the Associated Press.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

I am . . .

GRITS (Aug 24 - Sept 23) Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other Grits. You love to travel though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese, gravy, bacon, butter, or eggs and a good time. If you can go somewhere where they have all these things, that serves you well. You are pure in heart.

So, What’s your redneck astroligical sign?

Via: Tammi's World.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"You're stuck on stupid."

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honoré: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question.

The must-read transcript is here.

Think about something, though.

What if, instead of Ari or Scott, Dubya had General Honoré as his press spokesperson . . .

Helen Thomas: Blah-de-blah . . .

Honoré: Let's not confuse the questions with the answers.

Helen Thomas: Blah-de-blah . . .

Honoré: I just told you one time.

Helen Thomas: Blah-de-blah . . .

Honoré: You are stuck on stupid. Drop and give me 50!

Hurricane Rita: Local Report

"Wait a minute, Doyle" I'm sure you're saying. "Since you're in Northeast Florida, you can't possibly have a 'Local Report' on Rita!"

Guess again.

The forecast the last few days was for it to be dry and sunny until this weekend when we'd probably have showers come through. Even yesterday when the sky south of me looked overcast and funny it remained unchanged.

When I got up this morning it was way too dark. A "big-storm-coming-in" kind of dark. It wasn't until I looked out of the back door that I realized we'd already gotten a fairly good amount of rain during the night.

The wind picked up and the sky opened. I flipped on the radio to hear a local weatherjerk announce that we could expect a "changeable day," mostly sunny with occasional wind and rain from Rita's feeder bands. That's when the thunder and lightening started, not south or southwest of me which is where Rita is, but north.

I have seen the sun once. Once, and not for very long.

I had to take Tank across town earlier today for his next chemo treatment. (He's doing well, by the way, and in full remission.) I white-knuckled about half of the trip because the rain was so heavy sometimes I couldn't see four car lengths ahead. Oh, and one gust of wind sent an 18-wheeler ahead of me wobbling out of his lane into mine.

Maybe 20 feet from where I'd parked to the doorway. Both Tank and I were so soaked when we went in they offered me a towel.

Not as hard, but it was still raining an hour later when we left. It picked up again once we were headed home.

Keep something in mind, please.

Not only am I on the other side of the state from Rita, but it's been moving away from me the entire time and still is.

And although they're not as frequent or as strong, we're still getting feeder bands.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All but forgotten . . .

Hurricane Rita, now a Cat 2 with further strengthening expected, is smacking the Florida Keys right now. Texas, in its projected path, is already making preparations for its arrival.

Yet the media remains fixated on Katrina's impact on New Orleans. For the most part, all but forgotten is that Katrina didn't actually hit that city or Louisiana.

Mississippi took Katrina's damage head on. Its entire coastline and Alabama's, too, has been flattened.

You don't hear much about that in the news reports, do you. Oh, it's mentioned occasionally but it's almost as an afterthought. "New Orleans, Nagin, New Orleans, Nagin, New Orleans yadda yadda . . . oh, and some stuff happened in Mississippi and Alabama, too. We'll be right back after this commercial break."

Once again bloggers are covering the news far better than the so-called professionals. They're providing the details that aren't forgotten or completely ignored because they don't fit between commercials. These aren't poofy-haired "reporters" with fancy tans and designer clothing.

They're real people who are reporting and filming what they see around them each and every day: the good and the bad, the successes and failures.

Start at the beginning with Seawitch and work your way back.

Everywhere you go, they are there. Directing traffic, handing out supplies, bulldozing debris out of the way, helping restore water and sewage utilities, rebuilding schools, and doing everything possible to help us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast recover and rebuild. The are the men and women who serve in the Navy, Army, the National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Mexican Army, and the Dutch Navy.
The same thing with "Dr. Goodheart", a California cardiologist.

Back down Pass Road, we find the hand-drawn sign that says “Field Hospital”. Frankly, we didn’t look when we came by before because the signage was so crude. It turns out that’s the only crude thing about an enormously impressive operation. Here in the K-Mart parking lot (9 bodies were found on the K-Mart roof, such was the flood level here) is the world’s first complete mobile trailer-based hospital, Med-1 from North Carolina.

Things like this and this from Red State Rant.

All of these homes directly on the coast had one thing in common, poured concrete front steps that led to "nowhere"
Too bad the media isn't covering some of these stories instead of their "All Nagin, All the Time".

Monday, September 19, 2005

I hate these things!

This is wrong. This is just so wrong.

How evil are you?

Via Anghara


Tropical Storm Rita


Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center, just finished an interview in which he said Rita will be a Cat 1 hurricane when it hits the Florida Keys tomorrow. Then, it will pass over the same warm water in the Gulf of Mexico that Katrina did, intensify and become another major (Cat 3 or higher) hurricane.

Unlike the Mayor of New Orleans, "Naggin'" Nagin, and his state's Goobernor who both waited and waited and . . . , Jeb declared a(nother) state of emergency for the Keys yesterday.

Meanwhile, Nagin is -- against the recommendations of those he's tried to blame for not doing the job he was elected and paid to perform when Katrina was on the way -- already allowing some of New Orleans' residents to return home.

I'm torn about letting people return to a disaster area before the all-clear is given.

The libertarian-leaning part of me says that government doesn't have the right to deny people access to their homes or businesses. That assumes, of course, that those individuals are also willing to accept full personal responsibility for whatever happens to them in doing so.

But with Nagin in charge we know that's not going to happen. Nagin will expect if those whom he is allowing to return are injured or become sick, that burden will also be borne by personnel currently busy with rescue and recovery. You can be sure he'll hype any failure to respond instantaneously.

Especially, if those he's letting back in now have to evacuate again in the next few days.

Unlike the dropped-spaghetti (link fixed) projections for Ophelia's path that were provided by the computer-generated guesses models, this go-'round they're fairly consistent, even this far out.

UPDATE: Mayor Nagin has suspended the return to New Orleans and warned that those who already have should be prepared to evacuate by Wednesday if not sooner.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dear Scarlett,

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment on this post. I've always found it difficult to reply to talking points tossed like muck from a bucket. The hope, I know, is that something . . . anything will hit and while the target is distracted, ya hit ‘em with another bucketful.

So I'm not going to bother trying to untangle your screeds. What I am going to do, however, is pinpoint a few items I've chosen to pull out and address only them.

You wrote:

Bush cut funds that were intended to fix the problems with the levees and diverted that money to the middle east where it ended up in the hands of those at Haliburton which also got a no-bid contract to rebuild NO.
No. But I'm only going to talk about Halliburton's "no-bid" contracts.

The work Halliburton did and is doing in the middle east, and the projects it's currently working on in New Orleans were awarded under the U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. Known as LOGCAP, it is a competitively-awarded umbrella contract for specific items and services. Please see here for a quick overview of the program's history.

Halliburton is NOT rebuilding New Orleans. In Katrina's wake it is repairing the Navy's facilities and piers along the Gulf Coast. The other emergency project was and is repairing the water pumps in New Orleans so that it can be emptied out. (See here and here.)

You wrote:

The Bush administration gave millions in aid to the TALIBAN and members of the Taliban visited Washington and engaged in negotitions with the Bush adm for a pipeline thru Afganistan. Bush promised them a "carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs" for the pipeline.
I'll correct only one thing here. It was the Clinton Administration. In 1997 . . .

"[w]hile Afghanistan became a sanctuary for al Qaeda, the State Department’s interest in Afghanistan remained limited. Initially after the Taliban’s rise, some State diplomats were, as one official said to us, willing to “give the Taliban a chance” because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan. A secondary consideration was that stability would allow an oil pipeline to be built through the country, a project to be managed by the Union Oil Company of California, or UNOCAL." -- 9-11 Commission
As for your contention, Scarlett, that Saddam shoulda been left alone 'cause he never hurt or killed nobody in the US . . . Hussein and Terror.

Interesting stuff about the links to Iraq and the attack on the World Trade Center. The one in 1993.

If you're not familiar with that one, google it!


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Picture this?

Via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical


"We're not stuck on stupid."

New York City had Rudy Giuliani.

The Gulf Coast has Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, "less a man than a force of nature", with a very human side.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Quotable Quotes

"If there is anything the U.S. has done to earn the deep disrespect of the U.N. and its more hostile members over the years, it is that America has too long played the chump." -- Claudia Rosett

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wishful thinking

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 4 - A day after two police suicides and the abrupt resignations or desertions of up to 200 police officers, defiant city officials on Sunday began offering five-day vacations - and even trips to Las Vegas - to the police, firefighters and city emergency workers and their families.. . .

Mr. Nagin, who has been demanding more federal assistance for days as his city struggled with despair, death and flooding, said he had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the trips but the agency said it could not. He said the city, therefore, would pay the costs. -- New York Times

With what I wondered.

I don't have a problem with the five days off. Not one bit. It's the right thing to do. Those five days should be made available to all personnel who stayed on the job. They need the time to get themselves and their families settled before going back to work. Or maybe just sit somewhere and cry.

But picking up the tab for a family trips to Las Vegas?

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 13 . . . [Nagin] conceded that the city's financial problems were enormous. "The city is out of cash," he said. "We do not have the cash to make the payroll coming up."

Mr. Nagin said that city officials were trying hard to secure a line of credit. Many contractors who are helping the city clean up are working under the assumption that the city will get money to pay them. -- New York Times

I wonder where the contractors think "the city will get the money to pay them"?

I sure hope the Feds check the bills we taxpayers in the rest of the US of A end up with, to make sure they don't include any trips to Las Vegas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Why did New Orleans flood the way it did? It's not like it was unexpected if it was slammed by a major hurricane. The worst-case scenarios all had New Orleans drowning when the storm surge overtopped the levees, but I don't recall reading one that mentioned them being breached.

Yet it happened at one massive area in particular: Industrial Canal.

How? Why did a breech occur there?

It didn't take long for the kooks to come out of the woodwork. The ones who see black helicopters overhead, everywhere, claiming knowledge (of some sort) that it was a deliberate act aimed at (fill in the blank) because of the BOOM reported before the flood waters started coming in.

When the first reports of flooding in New Orleans began coming in, Hubby asked me if I'd heard one he had only once and not since. I hadn't and couldn't find anything online about it.

Hubby said the report he'd heard was the retelling of an account told to someone about an man who lived (his house was now under water) with his family (or what was left of it) within eyesight of the levee, who'd seen an wind-driven empty grain barge smash into it.


That's when the levee started giving way.

It's not that I didn't believe Hubby but he's not always an especially reliable narrator. Too often he "hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." And with the thin "someone heard someone had told somebody" sourcing, although it made sense I didn't put a whole lot of stock in it.

Except a few days later I did find a headline via Google News, but when I clicked on it the headline and the article it linked to was a generic one about the flooding. Which didn't make a lot of sense to me.

Later, I found a blip at the The Times-Picayune weblog. Unfortunately, the link I had to it has expired as did much (all?) of what had been reported there now that they're up and running normally again. (I still have the link if anyone wants to try it or knows how to find it in the paper's archives.)

Basicicaly, from memory, it said that the Army Corps of Engineers was investigating the possibility that a barge, one that had been found on the wrong side of the levee, was the reason for its breach.

There have been few news reports about it. Exceptions include:
As a final, fatal insult, a barge had ripped loose from its mooring, breaking the levee wall on the Industrial Canal to the west. It chose a point near the key Florida Avenue pumping station, knocking it out. -- The Kansas City Star

That canal levee was breached by Katrina, but corps officials said Friday that they were investigating whether an unmoored barge caused the damage. -- The Dallas Morning News

The surge poured into the Industrial Canal running through New Orleans before dawn and quickly overflowed it on both sides, the canal lockmaster reported to the corps. At some point not long afterward, corps officials believe a barge broke loose and crashed through the floodwall, opening a breach that accelerated flooding into New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. -- Newhouse News Service

Monday, September 12, 2005

Real Teachers

Real Teachers . . .

. . . grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, and in the bathroom.

. . . cheer when they hear April 1 does not fall on a school day.

. . . drive older cars owned by credit unions.

. . . have disjointed necks from writing on boards without turning their backs on the class.

. . . are written up in medical journals for size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.

. . . have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes. Master teachers can eat faster than that.

. . . can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.

. . . never try to teach the conjugations of lie and lay to eighth graders.

. . . know the shortest distance and the length of travel time from their classroom to the office.

. . . can "sense" gum.

. . . know the difference among what must be graded, what ought to be graded, & what should never again see the light of day.

. . . buy Excedrin and Advil at Costco or Sam's.

. . . will eat anything that is put in the teachers' lounge.

. . . know secretaries and custodians run the school.

Via Hey Joe!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Are you ready for some football?

We had season tickets one year, great seats too, but with everyone going in different directions now-a-days there's no point. If we really want to see a game at the stadium — aside from tickets probably being available before the game — all it takes is a phone call. We have a friend whose family (we're talking brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, former spouses etc. ) has had the same block of season tickets from the start. Since not all of them can go to every game, we buy their tickets from them. Anywho . . .

So today I popped some popcorn and popped open a beer or two (??) and turned on the television. And I liked what I saw.

Not just the Jacksonville Jaguars winning but two players in particular.

Leftwich, the Quarterback, is maturing. Thank gawd. Instead of running all over the place as soon as the ball is snapped, he's lost his "happy feet" and stays in the pocket. It's not that he can't move, but it looks like he's realized it's not his role to be the ONLY person moving the ball.

And then there's Jimmy Smith. #82. At 36, he's the "old man" of the team not only because of his age. He's also the only remaining player from the original team.

Our Christmas that first year was a Jaguars one. It seemed like every gift under the tree had something to do with them. Da Kid even bought me one of those fancy, every expensive, "official" shirts that has the team's logo on its front and a player's name and number on its back: Mark Brunell. #8.

Not that I said anything, I didn't like the shirt. It's not that I didn't like Brunell. I did and still do even though he's no longer with the Jaguars. Part of it was with as quickly as NFL players come and go, I think buying ANY football team's attire with a specific player's name on it is a very expensive waste. You might get to wear it for a year or two, but then it's obsolete. That player is gone and someone else has the number.

Also, the shirt Da Kid gave me didn't fit. Massively didn't. Its hem hung way down below my knees.

Da Kid said he'd take it back and get a smaller size. In addition to a different size, I also asked him if he wouldn't mind getting me one with another player: Jimmy Smith.

There was something about him. Perhaps the reason WHY he ended up on an expansion team.

Smith hadn't seen much playing time with the Dallas Cowboys, the team that had drafted him. After a lengthy hospitalization because of a botched appendectomy, Smith was abandoned to the expansion draft by the Cowboys who thought he was done.

The Jaguars took him.

Smith had something to prove not only to the Cowboys' organization but probably to himself, too.

He has.

It's not all been a picnic.

A few years later after emergency abdominal surgery, it was reported Jimmy would be gone for the next season. Keenan McArdle, the other half of the original "Thunder and Lightening" was hospitalized not long after. He, too, would be gone for the season.

Not only teammates but friends, they pitted themselves not only against the medical problems they were facing but each other. Both vowing they'd be ready for the beginning of the season and start.

Each did and had spectacular seasons.

A few years later Jimmy failed several piss tests and ended up suspended for a number of games and in treatment. He took the knocks and came back yet again.

And today in the Jaguars' win, Jimmy Smith had well over 100 yards again (I think that's 44 games?) and two touchdowns.

Oh, and the Jaguars' defense done real good, too.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Still missing

"Speicher likely ejected from the aircraft and may have been captured by Iraqi forces. Also, given that the Iraqi government turned over a flight suit and other items associated with Speicher's aircraft years ago, the board concluded that some members of the former Saddam Hussein regime know Speicher's whereabouts." - The Florida Times-Union

"Scott" Speicher

For some of us in the area even though we have absolutely no connection to Scott Speicher or his family, it's still personal.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ophelia: Tropical Storm again . . . maybe

Wait! Nope. She's JUST been upgraded back up to hurricane strength.

I imagine by now forecasters are pounding their desks and sobbing, "PA-LEEZE Ophelia! I'm beggin' ya! Make up your expletives deleted mind!"

Anyway, local news reported earler today . . . who cares. I mean, I do care but that's changed and with Ophelia, it will probably change a few times more.

The current projected path indicates Jenna . . . no, that was an older one.

Right now, with this version, I'm . . . I'm gonna be drinking beer this weekend and watching football. But with Ophelia, that is obviously subject to change.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Ophelia

Now a hurricane, Ophelia still hasn't moved. She's still sitting right where she was yesterday and pretty much the day before that.

When she starts to move, the numerous computer-generated guesses models continue to tell us exactly what her most likely path will be.

Image from Skeetobite Weather.


I'm playing with 'em as it relates to comments. The first piece of crud I received about three weeks ago took me by surprise. Then nothing more for a week. (Trust me on this: I wasn't crying.) One more two weeks ago.

Now every time I post something, as SOON as I post something.

Yesterday, three all at the same time.

I'd like to keep the comments as open as possible and I'm trying to do that. Yes, I know I could go to Haloscan BUT I'd much prefer trying to handle it with blogger's settings, especially since they added word verification a few weeks ago. Here's hoping it works.

I'm sorry about the inconvenience boys and girls.

Damn. Just damn.

"In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

"Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon."

More here.

Hume: But even today we know that Governor Blanco has now decided that a mandatory evacuation may not be necessarily after all. But we can go into that later. What about the use by her of the National Guard to impose law and order during the early looting and all of that?

Garrett: She had a choice, as I am told. She could have taken up the offer from FEMA to federalize all of the activities in Louisiana, meaning that FEMA would be in control of everything. Not only law enforcement, but everything else. She declined to give them that authority. So essentially FEMA was trapped between two bureaucracies. One the Department Of Homeland Security where many of its decisions have to be reviewed and in some cases approved, and a recalcitrant state bureaucracy that wasn't going to give them the authority they needed to make things happen, among them, the National Guard.

And here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ophelia . . .

. . . was a tropical depression until earlier today when it became Tropical Storm Ophelia.

It's just sitting there (on the left, the system on the right is Hurricane Nate) off the coast.

The guesses computer models don't agree on where it's going, when it will start moving, or whether it will remain a tropical storm or become a Cat 1 hurricane.

So, I topped off the horse feed today and filled the gas tank, just in case.

Tomorrow I'll restock the bottled water in the garage, the water that used to be there that seems to have mysteriously disappeared. When I checked earlier today, the only thing left were the empty plastic-wrapped cartons.

While I'm at the store I'll pick up a back-up manual can opener in case the one in the drawer breaks. I have this nightmare of having all these canned goods and not being able to open a single one because the can opener broke. And the back up I had became the primary one a few weeks ago, and I forgot to replace it.

Am I panicking because of Katrina? No, I'm not. But I do respect the situation and try to make sure we're prepared for the possibilities.

Living in Florida I've been around numerous hurricanes, but I've only been through one. That was on Long Island when Hurricane Donna came through in 1960, on my birthday.

Except for three things I don't remember much of it:

1. Darkness and the sound of wind and rain outside.

2. Running around happily yelling, "Mommy! Daddy! This pots full!" And,

3. When later Dad took me to the Islip boat basin to impress upon me that hurricanes weren't a game, the sight of boats on top of and smashed through peoples' homes.

So as Mom before me always did, I try to make sure everything's in place by June 1. And if I've forgotten anything, I know one of my neighbors probably didn't and has twice as much as they need. And if one of them forgot something, they know we probably didn't and have twice as much as we need.

Only once have we all forgotten to stockpile the exact same thing. That was back in 1999 when instead of having to evacuate, we had a had a three-day cookout as Hurricane Floyd passed us by.

We ran out of beer.

Quotable Quotes

"The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center." -- Bob Williams


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Picture this?


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina: Thank you

Kofi Annan has expressed his sympathies.

Jan Egeland (UN official in charge of something-or-other), who quickly backpeddled from his statement last December that when it comes to disaster aid, rich nations (particularly the United States) are "stingy" said, "The United Nations stands ready to help with any kind of disaster expertise that might be required ... in full recognition that the United States is the country in the world that possesses the greatest civilian and military search and rescue and recovery assets themselves." But although millions have been affected, compared to the tsunami it's more of an economic loss than a human one.

No one has a clue how many people have been killed or injured along the Gulf Coast, yet Jan's already evaluated the situation and decided the quality of the loss Katrina caused.

At least they finally made the gesture. The UN's acknowledgement that something had happened was all I wanted. Their help? I can see it now. Kofi's press release calling upon its member states the United States for more money, so that the UN can coordinate and lay sole claim to disaster relief within the United States.

Far more meaningful is:

Offers have been received from Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, NATO and the Organization of American States.
More here.

"I've never seen anything like it."

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds is being buried today with so many emails, that he's finding it impossible to keep up with the list of specific charities bloggers are suggesting. That's only a few of the organizations providing help after .

There are other ways people can help, too, perhaps -- depending on where you live -- at your own local level. Some already are.

One of my neighbors headed downstate last week with the local utility crews dispatched to help restore electric and water service. He'll be home when his rotation is done, replaced by someone else.

Only a few days ago, Jacksonville Fire Rescue sent equipment and about 100 members to the Gulf Coast. They left not knowing what to expect or what they'd be facing, but fully prepared to be completely self-sustaining including taking their own food and water with them. Except after two days they were out of food and water.

"A lot of the food we sent over with the firefighters they shared with desperate citizens of Mississippi, who were hungry, who had hungry children," Seth said. "They shared what they had."
The call went out over the local airwaves late yesterday morning. The response was overwhelming.

I'd planned on doing something but Tank's appointment yesterday took a lot longer than I'd anticipated. By the time we got home, I knew I wouldn't be able to get to the store and a fire station before the 7 o'clock deadline when the supplies would be picked up. With as quickly as they'd run out of supplies, I figured whatever was being sent wouldn't last long, either. Another drive would be needed.

I stopped by one of the area fire stations this morning and asked if another one would be scheduled and if so, when. The reply was that another one probably will but the firefighter wasn't sure when.

I know what I consider supplies but my needs are probably different than theirs, so I asked for suggestions. The firefighter answered by pointing me toward a bay where one of their engines is normally housed. Instead of a firetruck, it was filled with cases of water and non-perishable food.

JFD had badly underestimated the volume of donations they'd receive. So badly, that the supply trucks that left last night for Mississippi were filled with what had been collected at only about a half of the stations. When they get back, they'll turn around and haul the rest.

And people were still bringing in cases of food and water, including a couple cases of soup and ravioli.

If you want to do something but aren't sure what you can do because the need is so massive, you may find an answer within your own community, by supporting those who are helping others.