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Call Me the Breeze

Just flew into Houston. A lovely city, especially in a hurricane. I'm staying in a very nice place, though it has a name that doesn't sound quite sturdy enough (It's something like "The Straw House Country Lean-To and Suites.")

It looks like Ike (official name: Hurricane Eisenhower) will hit due south of the city, somewhere around Freeport. Unless it hits somewhere else. It'll be a Category 3, unless it's a Category 2 or a Category 1 or a Category 4. The only thing for certain is that I've got a lot of gear, including a special Iridium phone that can call people on the moon. But it can't transmit data, which means I may have to rely on the fabled aircard, which, as we know, relies on cell towers which will be overwhelmed or completely non-functional when the storm hits. So I'll probably be forced to write very short articles that will transmit easily, like:

"Rain fell. Wind blew hard. Starbucks near hotel completely shuttered. The suffering boggles the mind."

Before I left DC, my editor gave me some advice on what to bring. It was a very long list, and basically went something like this:

Extra socks
Cash
Empty gas cans
Bungee cords
Tent
Generator
Weber grill
Charcoal
Rifle and ammo
Crossbow
Machete
Halberd and/or lance
Horse with saddle and spurs
Trusted hunting dog
Falcon
Wide brimmed hat
Buckskins
4 coolers and 20 bags of ice
Refreshments
Condiments


So I got all that, though it was murder squeezing it into the overhead bin on the plane.

This time, by the way, I did remember to bring an umbrella, unlike the time I covered Hurricane Floyd. But it's a cheap umbrella that I'm pretty sure will literally disintegrate in winds higher than 7 miles per hour.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 12, 2008; 7:30 AM ET
 
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Next: The Galveston Seawall

Comments

First?

Man, did I luck into that.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Let me know if you need some tomatoes for those coolers (otherwise stuffed with manfood, no doubt).

Stay safe, JA. I have a vision of _Joe vs. the Volcano_.

Posted by: dbG | September 12, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Howdy, all.

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Boy, Joel. You must really love your job. Stay safe!

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

*redirecting fax o' hatches to Joel for extra battening*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, Worth remembering the other I-storm that devastated Galveston (Glenn Campbell ear worms alert). Read about what is sometimes called Isaac's storm:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galveston_Hurricane_of_1900

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel,
You forgot lipstick.
It's the must have instamachismo accessory these days, dontcha know?

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 12, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you forgot to bring your pole and tackle box. Fancy East Coast editors don't know much about fishing in SE Texas, do they? Don't forget to make a pass at the brew-thru for a case of Pearl for your cooler.

Posted by: CCE | September 12, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

About lipstick, you know, the concept. I always imagine Bernadette Peters with her perfect Cupid's bow pout.

In the late 80s, when I showed up at nerd-land energy efficiency gatherings, I put on the iconic suit, bow-tie blouse, hair in a bun, AND middle-of-the-road lipstick. Worked better to break the rhetorical ice withe the engineering suits (guts) than the flowing purple skirts and dangle-dolphin earrings of a colleague.


Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Manstick?

Hurricane Ruby
Storm Surge Scarlet
Warning: Vermillion
Evening Warning (a malevolent plummy shade?)

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Joel, get yerself a cleft stick if you can't get your copy out electonically. You'll have to hire a native runner (or swimmer) but I'm sure Wapo will cover the cost.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Batteries Joel, don’t forget batteries and a flashlight. Be careful down there, I love weather but I’d think twice about being anywhere near Ike, it sounds pretty fierce.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 12, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Not quite lipstick but her cousin, nail polish: brought to you by the Dawn Patrol Pome Service

I Shall Paint My Nails Red
by Carole Satyamurti (b. 1939)

Because a bit of colour is a public service.

Because I am proud of my hands.

Because it will remind me I'm a woman.

Because I will look like a survivor.

Because I can admire them in traffic jams.

Because my daughter will say ugh.

Because my lover will be surprised.

Because it is quicker than dyeing my hair.

Because it is a ten-minute moratorium.

Because it is reversible.

Posted by: Poetry Parkian | September 12, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget magnifying glass to go with flashlight and batteries for use in starting charcoal in Smokey Joe portable Weber grill since you forgot matches or a lighter.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, with all this talk about Hurricane Ike, I can't help but think of Tina Turner.

And how nobody should ever have to go through the kinds of storms she did.

bc

Posted by: bc | September 12, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

"A bit of colour is public service" was my defence when I got busted for spray-painting 'Boko Rules' on the Parliament buildings.
Didn't wash:-)

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Ai chihuahua, more than 1300 comments on Kornblut's Palin piece this morning...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Great pome Parkian. Mornin' boodle.

I need to quit listening to BBC radio as I fall asleep, generates too many Sarah Palin dreams. A few things to ponder-

When will the McCain campaign start reading comments on Youtube and consequently blame the Obama campaign for calling Sarah a VPILF?

Is there any constitutional bar to a VP resigning after the inauguration, with a "this isn't a good fit for me" resignation letter? Won't she have outlived her usefulness by then? It's clear she's not going to have a big foreign policy adviser role. That is clear, isn't it? I hope.

Long day ahead, ending with a trip to St. Paul to help Mr. F and the dott unpack. Now that all the major DIY projects are done the movers are coming. I'm sure by the time I get there the only things they will have unpacked are the big TV and real beds. Since football season has already started I'm not sure which they've missed more.

Come on folks, is no one envious that Joel has a job that sends him into the storm?! It's not like he'll have to stand in some stupidly unsafe spot on camera saying "that's the top of the car wash across the street you see flying away" while his famously fly-away hair whips about.

Have fun, and stay safe JA.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 12, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

On another note, if you have a writer with Genius Flyaway Hair, who better to send into a Cat 3 Hurricane?

All I think I'd need: 1 roll of duct tape, 1 roll of tin foil, a lighter, a Leatherman tool and a towel.

And I could probably do without the tinfoil and towel if I had to - one's for defense against aliens, and one's for travelling with them.

A thought: Since this storm is hitting Texas, how much of the public will believe that an adequate level of government preparation and response will be due to the fact that the area most impacted is the President's home state? We're still talking about how New Orleans and that part of the Gulf Coast is not rebuilt, three years after Katrina...

bc

bc

Posted by: bc | September 12, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

CP,
Picturing you in a 80s bow-tie is getting me kinda, uh, verklempt. I can't shake an image of Working Girl Melanie Griffith with a degree in literature.

Mudge,
Stay away from Krauthammer's column today. Really. I mean it. Just. Stay. Away. There isn't enough blood pressure medicine in Cindy McCain's secret stash to get you through it.

Gerson isn't much better. He uses this line:

"And, of course, Palin is portrayed as a "theocrat" -- a Muslim fundamentalist in lipstick. "

Sounds like a dog whistle to me.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Since my fevered imagination is working overtime, I'm picturing Joel covering Ike like Al Franken's one-man camera crew. Boom microphone in his hand. Helmet-mounted camera. Giant back pack with satellite dish on it.

Perhaps if the weather gets too bad he can take refuge in the abandoned super-collider pit.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Halbard? *sigh* Sometimes the best tools are the old, simple ones. It was either Sharper Image or Brookstone used to offer an electronic combination halbard mini-tool that also featured a mace and a claymore, all in its own little faux leather traveling kit, with a laser light-beam level, protractor, astrolab and teeny, tiny trebuchet that could hurl poppy seeds 30 or 40 feet.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, yello. Yes, I saw their headlines, and realized immediately that while reading may be fundamental, it shouldn't lead directly to auto-de-fe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Well, gator season opened Wednesday and some of those old-fashioned weapons might come in handy.

Posted by: CCE | September 12, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, landing in Houston with Ike on the way is REALLY national enterprise reporting!

CP - one of my favorite pairs of earrings are dangly dolphins. I always get lots of compliments on them.

frosti - I meant to say that I was grateful to read the story about your daughter yesterday. 9/11 is always a tough day.

I hope JA's refreshments include some adult beverages. In the two hurricanes I've been through here in Tidewater (Bonnie and Isabel) wine came in real handy as the storm started to subside.

Krauthammer - grrrrrrrr. I didn't read it, his name alone makes my BP go up.

Posted by: Kim | September 12, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Anybody catch the story of Cindy McCain's problems with painkillers? Lots of inconsistencies in her account. Makes me really, really glad I never worked for a non-profit run by a rich person who was accountable to no one.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground has a great blog entry on Ike. It's an enormous storm whose highest winds have been anomalously low. But hurricane winds cover a huge area, meaning the storm can generate a huge storm surge, depending on the configuration of the coast (a shallow-water coast will have more of a surge than one where deep water is near the shore and some bays are surge magnets).

Masters links to a scientific paper with a readable discussion section, on how to classify hurricanes. The Saffir-Simpson Index (1-5) does a good job for wind speed but doesn't relate well to storm surge risk.

Didn't I hear that the Bushes will retire to Houston or the Dallas area?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Goot Morninckzz la Boodle!

I'm glad b.C. is ready for the aliens. Since my blood pressure is low, I'm gonna visit Krauthowler.

Lining a tea cozy with tin foil and wearing it on my head as a precautiion.

Posted by: Brag | September 12, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

DotC;

They're sure expecting surge for this storm:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/psurgegraphics_at4.shtml

:-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that you have two wide brimmed hats Joel. Or one wide brimmed and one baseball hat. Maybe you should just go with the baseball cap. Less wings for airlift so to speak.

For pete's sake stay dry, and look for a hotel on a high bit of land.

(Are there any high bits of land in Houston?)

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Matches. Dang. I knew I forgot something.

I'm heading to Galveston. Not sure if I can blog much in next 36 hours or so but will be filing news stuff for the national desk. (I am going to be in a very safe place where the police and media are fyi.)

Boy, the Wal-Mart was really cleaned out last night...nothing left but scraps...

Posted by: Achenbach | September 12, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Wrong direction, Joel. :-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with the theocrats who think to enforce "God's Law" when they've converted us all to their flavour of Christianity and say so, up front. (giggle). It's the stealth ones that worry me.

See ya at the stonings!

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

But there are NO high bits of land in Galveston.

Maybe you need scuba gear?

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Kim, and to all with kind words about my 9/11 comment.

Interesting read at Slate-
Walter Sobchak, Neocon: The prescient politics of The Big Lebowski
http://www.slate.com/id/2199811

Now I'm worried. The only polling site I pay much attention to
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/
shows polling data as of 9/11 with McCain winning popular and electoral vote. Last week the map was blue, blue, blue. (Shamefully, I'm starting to hope those air dropped lawyer wolves find something because I doubt sounding ill informed and not that bright in interviews is going to dull Sarah's lustre much.)

Posted by: frostbitten | September 12, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

It better be a darned safe place. They're tossing around phrases like, "certain death" and "nightmare", and "entire island of Galveston underwater."

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Joel: Take it from one who was in the direct path of Gustav: You forgot beer. Seems to be first on everyone's hurricane prep list in these parts.

Galveston--certain death. Houston: hunker down. Should be interesting.

"I saw the new moon late yestreen
With the old moon in her arm;
And if we go to sea, master,
I fear we'll come to harm."


They had not sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.


The ankers brake and the top-masts lap,
It was such a deadly storm;
And the waves came o'er the broken ship
Till all her sides were torn.


"O where will I get a good sailor
Will take my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall top-mast
To see if I can spy land?"


"O here am I, a sailor good,
Will take the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall top-mast,
But I fear you'll ne'er spy land."


Posted by: rhy | September 12, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The Houston Chronicle's science blog explained something I'd learned as a child. Hurricane Donna of 1960 hit the Gulf coast of Florida at Naples, so the center of the storm was some 40 miles inland by the time it passed by Tampa. Which was all for the good. The wind blew a lot of water out of Tampa Bay, leaving large swaths dry. Had the storm made landfall north of Tampa, the bay would have suffered a big storm surge and we might have drowned, thanks to staying at low-lying Macdill Air Force Base.

Houston is facing the same situation. It's looking possible that landfall will be east of their bay entrance, minimizing storm surge. But no one should bet on that happening.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Just getting to the summer issue of Parameters, the Army War College Quarterly (wonder if it's on Sarah's nightstand). The author,Jeffrey Record, is a professor at the Air War College and wrote _Slaying Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win_ I provide a long quote because I'm selfish that way-

Professor Record starts with a quote from W.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals,
as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been
wrong all along. We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false
comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
— President George W. Bush

Record continues-

"It is high time to retire Adolf Hitler and 'appeasement' from the national security debate. The repeated analogizing of current threats to the menace of Hitler in the 1930s, and comparing diplomatic efforts to Anglo-French placating of the Nazi dictator, has spoiled the true meaning of appeasement, distorted sound thinking regarding national security challenges and responses, and falsified history. For the past six decades every President except Jimmy Carter has routinely invoked the Munich analogy as a means of inflating national security threats and demonizing dictators. Presidents and their spokespersons have not only believed the analogy but also used it to mobilize public opinion for war. After all, if the enemy really is another Hitler, then force becomes mandatory, and the sooner it is used the better. More recently, neoconservatives and their allies in government have branded as appeasers any and all proponents of using nonviolent conflict resolution to negotiate with hostile dictatorships. For neoconservatives, to appease is to be naïve, cowardly, and soft on the threat du jour, be it terrorism, a rogue state, or a rising great power. To appease is to be a Chamberlain rather than a Churchill, to compromise with evil rather than slay it."

He concludes-
"Retiring Hitler and 'appeasement' from the national security debate does not mean that the United States should negotiate with any and all enemies or that it should refrain from using force against all threats that are not Hitlerian in scope. The United States is a great power with occasionally threatened interests whose protection sometimes requires the threat of or actual use of force.
What it does mean is that continued employment of the Munich analogy to portray threats—an analogy that, unnecessarily and disastrously, promoted the use of force in Vietnam and Iraq—impedes sound strategic thinking regarding foreign threats to national security and how to properly respond to them."

You can read the whole thing here
http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/08summer/record.htm

Posted by: frostbitten | September 12, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I am looking forward to reading your your thoughts on Ike. Though you might term your destination a "safe" place, you still have our admiration for getting so close to such serious weather. And our concern.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel -- the Galvez Hotel in Galveston is one of the only buildings (other than the Bishop's Palace - gotta love the Catholics) that stood through the 1900 storm. Has a view across the seawall too so you can watch Ike roll in. If you end up going further east say, to Beaumont, my sister didn't evacuate and has a generator, about a dozen good filets and stockpiles of gin.

C (your neighbor)

Posted by: CCE | September 12, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

mebbe you can spatchcock some srapple with those scaps, boss.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Scc - 'scrapple', dammit.
Oh yeah, that was mine.

Squeeze me.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Reposting from previous boodle, but if you have already completed the survey and I DON'T ALREADY HAVE your email address, please complete the survey again and this time provide it (I didn't ask for it before)....


The Mega BPH T-shirt design is HERE!

http://tbgboodler.blogspot.com/2008/09/mega-bph-t-shirt-is-here.html

I'm still getting price quotes, but I think the cost will be somewhere in the $10-$15 range.

If you are going to want a shirt, please click on the survey link provided with the t-shirt design and let me know how many you will want. I'll bill you for payment when I know how much they'll cost. (If you're not attending the event, figure a couple of extra dollars for shipping.)

THANKS!

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

CP - love the fingernail polish post. (Or is it fingernail varnish?) I once knew a young women who invariably revealed her mood through the color of her nails. I liked it when they were violet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Having read "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larsen -- one of best non-fiction books I ever read -- you couldn't GET me anywhere near Galveston with Ike coming. No effing way.

Isaac's Storm (referenced by CP above) in 1900 killed 6,000 to 10,000 people. Since then, Galveston (elevation above sea level: 4 millimeters) built a big sea wall-- but what worries me is that it may not be big/high enough to keep Ike out, what with a massive storm surge they are predicting. Also, when Isaac's Storm swept around Galveston and went inland over Galveston Bay, it did one heckuva lot of damger in the low-lying land behind Galveston Island. I have a hunch they could be in the same fix today.

Joel, I guess it's too late to talk you out of this?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, forgot the link.

http://www.amazon.com/Isaacs-Storm-Deadliest-Hurricane-History/dp/0375708278

This is a real page-turner. And the picture of the devastation is unreal.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Joel - I'd recommend getting off Galveston and hunkering down in downtown Houston. Hit the CharBar a wonderful local hangout: tailor shop/bar. Keep safe and if you have to hang in Galveston stay in the old part of town.

It always amazes me that reporters are sent into areas where the rest of the population is evacuated.

Posted by: astromom | September 12, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Scrapple. That reminds me.

Due to a deadline repositioning, I may not be able to make the MBPH. I can b*tch all I want, but if everyone else is working that weekend I need to also.

The timing isn't certain, however, so you should get your Philadelphia orders to me. Scrapple, hoagies (theoretically, I'm coming out on Friday morning, but I like well-marinated hoagies myself), pork roll, butter cake, soft pretzels. Anything else, let me know.

Posted by: dbG | September 12, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The boss is going to Galveston??!!!!!!! IS HE EFFING *CRAZY* ???????!!!!!

This kit is titled, "Call Me the Breeze". It should be called "GONE with the wind". I understand the insaitable need for eyeball counts, but this is wayyyy beyond the pale.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | September 12, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Here's another tune cootie for you. When Glenn Campbell was on the radio all the time, my little sister used to sing, "I am allergic to the county...."

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, morning, friends. JA, please be careful, hurricanes are very dangerous when they hit their destination. It is not something to take lightly, by no means. Be safe. And Ike is looking like a monster.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and all.*waving*

Loomis, where are you?

I did not see the Palin interview, busy watching the Weather Channel. And not that fond of the interviewer. It's hard for him to hide his leanings. I'm so ready to vote so I don't have to hear(a joke) all the political junk on television anymore. She's arm candy at best. I wonder if she has seen one of McCain's angry outburst yet?

I might have to pick up the g-girl today from the bus stop. That should be interesting. And the weather here is cloudy and gray. Looking like rain, but no rain. We need some sunshine bad.

Glad to hear your daughter and family are okay, Slyness.

Today is the do-nothing day, but it is not working out that way. Have a great day, folks. I will hopefully check back in later. And let us keep our prayers going for the folks in the Gulf.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 12, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

CP

Love the nail polish take. I paint my nails red all the time. Age and abuse has afflicted serious consequences on this body, so the red nail polish reminds me that I am woman, and very much female.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 12, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Texans Flee Coast as Ike Threatens Houston Area"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/11/AR2008091101825.html?hpid=topnews

Article features this sentence in first paragraph: '... the National Weather Service warned residents in low-lying coastal areas that they "may face certain death" if they ignore orders to evacuate.'

There is substance in this warning, but I am fixated on the superficial -- "may" face "certain" death? "Probably definitely a very slight chance that it might work."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Who's peekin' out from under a stairway
Calling a name that's lighter than air
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow
Everbody is reasonably certain it's Joel Achebach

Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smilin' at everybody he sees
Who's reachin' out to capture a moment
Everbody is reasonably certain it's Joel Achebach

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Scc- Achenbach, dammit.
I least I remembered to sign it.

Go squeeze yerself.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Hi all... just want to clarify...

If you want a Mega BPH T-shirt, you'll have to fill out the survey/order form you'll find at...

http://tbgboodler.blogspot.com/2008/09/mega-bph-t-shirt-is-here.html

If you filled it out last night and you know that I DO NOT HAVE your email address, please fill it out again and include the email address (I forgot to ask for it when I first created the form). I think at this point, this only applies to one person.

I will be using the numbers compiled from the survey/order form to order the shirts and the email address you provide to send you a bill for it when I know how much to charge.

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

*Tim. I was going to write, "Everybody is reasonably certain it might be Joel Achenbach." I'm glad I didn't, it would have been too spooky.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Boko, yer little tune there has sparked mah own creative juices, and -- inspired by Joel's reckless bravery in the face of that there tempest, I have come up with a song appropriate to the occasion, and it goes

a little somethin'

like this:

The Ballad of Joel and the Hurricane

Come gather 'round, r’porters, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.
This time its you we’ll be savin'.
So you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For Ike’s path isn’t a-changin'.

Come, bloggers and pundits, who prophesize with your pens
Please leave Galveston, the chance won't come again
And don't post too soon for the Web’s still is reelin’
And there's no tellin' who that it's shamin'.
For the loser now will be later to win
For Ike’s path isn’t a-changin'.

Come Texican residents who won’t ‘vacuate
You’ve stood in the doorway, and now it’s too late
Nawlins got smashed and you’re next for that fate
There's a big storm outside and it is rainin'.
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
And your National Guard’s in Iraq trainin’.

Come, mothers and fathers, throughout Eastern Texas,
No time to look up “oh s---“ in Lexus-Nexus
Your sons and your daughters are two of the sexes
Whose hormones are drenched and not ragin'.
Please get out of your condo and escape in your Lexus
For the Red Cross team is a' strainin’.

The storm, it is big, the track, it is cast
It’s slower now but will later be fast
As the tornados now will later sweep past
With feeder bands rapidly fadin'.
And the first one in the bunker will hunker down last
Tho’ your underwear may need a-changin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I was a third mate on a fishing research vessel off of Newfoundland during the so-called "perfect storm". At first, it was slack-jawed awesome and giddily terrifying to see waves higher than the pilot house crashing over the deck. But it got old in no time flat. For days on end, all we could do was point her into the wind, and pray that the engines (which were going at full throttle, and none too reliable under the best of circumstances) didn't give out. All we had for navigation was the antiquated Loran A. Once, I thought that I had screwed up my position fixes when I determined that we had been shoved backwards 4 miles in 4 hours.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | September 12, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

dbG, I think you're going to be sick (ahem) that weekend.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel: When the cell phone fails, the text messaging often continues to work (lessons from Katrina).

Posted by: rhy | September 12, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Sweet one, Mudge!

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I survived Hugo in 1989 and that was enough hurricane to last me a lifetime. Hugo came ashore at Charleston, for those of you who don't remember, and roared up through the Piedmont. When it got here, it was still packing winds up to 90 mph. Ninety percent of the electric grid was destroyed, and it took six months to cut up and haul off the debris from fallen trees. Scary, hurricanes are scary.

Just back from a trip to Costco. I thought I'd go a few minutes early and top off my tank. People were lined up 12 and 15 cars deep to get gas. Prices locally have jumped about 30 cents overnight.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Don, you dodged a bullet. I admit it: a storm like that at sea would scare the carp outta me. Worst weather I ever saw aboard my tanker we had a 20-degree roll -- which is practically nothing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

mudge,
I can picture the sailors all dressed up like Kirk Douglas in '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' standing around listening to that shanty.

Don,
You're braver than I will ever be.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I think Scotty's right, dbG; you look a little pale. Are you coming down with something?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Joel: going to a low-lying coastal area where a hurricane is supposed to hit doesn't sound like a plum assignment.
I'm not sayin', just sayin'...

Posted by: Dmon | September 12, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Cough. Cough.

I feel a migraine coming on.

Posted by: dbG | September 12, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Joel’s first dispatch from the submarine coast:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/11/AR2008091101825.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

SCC: LexisNexis, no hyphen and no "u." Sorry, omni. Thanks, bc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, Mudge... Spanish Ladies = The Times They are A'Changin'!

Don't forget these for the hurricane:
http://www.morethings.com/music/elton_john/elton_john-110.jpg

And a tide schedule:
12 September 2008 - 13 September 2008
Galveston (Pleasure Pier), Texas
29.2867° N, 94.7900° W

2008-09-12 03:33 CDT 2.48 feet High Tide
2008-09-12 04:16 CDT Moonset
2008-09-12 07:02 CDT Sunrise
2008-09-12 09:19 CDT 1.75 feet Low Tide
2008-09-12 13:06 CDT 1.98 feet High Tide
2008-09-12 17:55 CDT Moonrise
2008-09-12 19:27 CDT Sunset
2008-09-12 20:21 CDT 0.43 feet Low Tide
2008-09-13 03:49 CDT 2.46 feet High Tide
2008-09-13 05:15 CDT Moonset
2008-09-13 07:03 CDT Sunrise
2008-09-13 09:28 CDT 1.63 feet Low Tide
2008-09-13 14:10 CDT 2.12 feet High Tide
2008-09-13 18:27 CDT Moonrise
2008-09-13 19:26 CDT Sunset
2008-09-13 21:02 CDT 0.57 feet Low Tide

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"'It was horrible. I'd rather be in my hom than in my truck,' McCarty said."

I wonder if McCarty knows that part of his home has blown away already?

bc

Posted by: bc | September 12, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

'flee' is a funny, loaded word.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Flee isn't funny if you're Wilbrodog. It's just an itch with bad spelling.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I suspect that tide table will need a wee bit of adjustment. And at the high tide tomorrow morning at 3:49 may be off by an entire decimal place.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, that tide table is going to be off except for the times of day for the highest tides, which are probably going to be pretty pertinent depending on times of landfall. If that sucker hits the coast at high tide it's katie bar the flippin door.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

dbG - If you don't show up I am going to have to find another home for this bag of this High Quality Organic Bunny Poo that I have been collecting at your specific request.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I mean, if your employers do not recognize that as good excuse, they are beyond redemption..

Posted by: RD PAdouk | September 12, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The hurricane article Shriek linked to contains this amusing-but-sad line:

"R. David Paulison, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said authorities have made preparations in Texas to rescue as many as 30,000 people. About 3.5 million people live in potential evacuation areas."

Let's see, 3.5 million minus 30k, that's...um...3.47 million SOL...

The article also mentions the notorious Houston Ship Channel. When I was in the merchant marine, that's where my tanker went. I know it was 42 years ago, but by god, if that wasn't the armpit of the world I don't know where they put it. I hope it has been cleaned up some, but I doubt it.

We had standing orders that if anyone fell overboard into the channel, the water was so polluted that the rescued person had to be taken to a hospital to be checked for contamination.

I have no idea if the Houston Ship Channel could (then or now) burst into flame like the Cuyoga River in Ohio once did, but I wouldn't be surprised.

The article says Houston is the nation's second-largest port. I'm kinda skeptical...but maybe it's right. Would have suspected NY and Long Beach/San Pedro/LA to be larger, though. Found a list on the Internet that ranked them this way:
Los Angeles, CA
New York and New Jersey, NY/NJ (impossible to separate them)
Long Beach, CA
Houston, TX
Charleston, SC
Norfolk, VA
Baltimore, MD
Seattle, WA
Tacoma, WA

But then found one that said the second-largest in terms of tonnage was "Louisiana" (presumably meaning the Mississippi and New Orleans -- which isn't on the above list at all).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow - just read the story Joel contributed too. This is really getting scary.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

RDP, you're surely not suggesting a small bag of such might appear on the doorstep of anyone preventing dbG from attending...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody 'splain what "may face certain death" means?

I'm just outside of Austin. The traffic coming in from the east last night was in-freakin-tense, and will worsen as the day progresses.

Last time (Rita), the fleers left dogs on the highway for us. Who would bother to take a dog from home, only to dump it a hundred miles away? It was a busy week in the rescue biz.

Posted by: KPage | September 12, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, until you made that suggestion I wasn't. But now...

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

KPage,
I interpret it thusly: "If you stay, expect to die."

Can't get much clearer than that.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

According to the Army Corps of Engineers (by tonnage):

http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/ndc/wcsc/portton06.htm

Not sure if there has been a concerted effort to clean the Ship Channel. Not really a recreational hot spot. As a kid, we'd go down to Galveston a lot and the stench as you made your way down there was horrible (lots of refineries). Also remember all the tar in the Gulf. Galveston isn't the prettiest beach in the Gulf, but I have fond memories.

BTW, CNN reporting on Ike is horrible. The anchor just said that much of Houston has evacuated. No way in heck that happened. In fact the leaders have tried to prevent that from happening (given the mess that was the Rita evacuation.)

Posted by: astromom | September 12, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I would think that a major problem in covering such a huge storm would be getting out after it is over.So, Joel if you are in Houston on Monday night,can you check out Ravens vs Texans and give your opinion?

Anybody watch last night's game between Rutgers and UNC?Did ya see the rutgers fan flip the bird to the camera man after UNC scored another touchdown? Hmmmm reminds me of another game involving UNC and some Turtles some 20 years ago. Memories are great.

I would say head for the high ground,but that would be like the 4th,5th or sixth floor and I don't know how safe that would be either!!!

Good Luck God Bless everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 12, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Will face death uncertainly?

Might be a bit dead certainly?

I feel a parrot sketch coming on.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, not to flog our dearly departed horse, but the amusement is from the uncertain language "may" coupled with "certain" in the same sentence, so it could be clearer.

I'm sure all these people writing such things consider themselves very busy, what with their little shower, but really, think of the example they're setting.

Boko, I like the word "flee" as well. Of course, the reality of sitting in highway gridlock doesn't fit the imagery very well.

Posted by: SonofCarl AKA The Quibbler | September 12, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

yello... as an editor, I have to disagree with you. "May face certain death" is just plain wrong.

You can either face certain death, or you may face death, but you can't have it both ways.

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I had an unnerving experience. I just located my ex-wife online, missing 32 years.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

KPage, that sentence features the infamous "conditional unconditional." Remember, this is the gummint speaking.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, Jumper, you must be on Facebook... finding old loved ones. Been do'in a bit of that myself.

hey Joel---you remembered the cooler and ice but where is the BEER? how did you manage to get the horse through airport security? much less the machete?.... you sly dog you!!!

stay safe, we need you :)

Posted by: Miss Toronto | September 12, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

It just struck me as funny, Yello, that they chose to put "may" and "certain" in the same sentence. Yano ... like "shoplifters may face certain prosecution." Or ... they may not. You can just see Jon Stewart giving the Jon Stewart face.

It was just something silly. But it a world where a dude who knocke d up his teenage girlfriend gets applause from rock-ribbed, family-values Republicans, small silliness is easily lost.

Posted by: KPage | September 12, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG, what if it's "may" as in "are allowed to?"

*head tilt*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

RD, you remembered! :-)

I truly am going to do my best. At the meeting announcing the deadline extension today I pointed out that I'd had those days blocked off for months (rme).

My boss organic gardens too, so you're not going to scare him with the threat. You'd have to ship a bunch to Great Britain for everyone else.

If not that weekend, then I'll come over for at least a day sometime soon.

Posted by: dbG | September 12, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Do you want to keep missing her for the next 32, Jumper? I've known of some exes that would.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

S'Nuke ... bwa ha ha!

Back to work ...

Posted by: KPage | September 12, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

...and TBG and SoC are right: it's wrong. It may have its roots in the wonderful Rumsfeldian existentialist realm of the "knowns knowns," the "unknown unknowns," and "known unknowns," etc. Or whatever it was he babbled.

It may also have been influended by Publisher's Clearinghouse: "You may already be a winner!" (In a pig's eye.) and by "You're mileage may vary" (although it won't; it'll be uniformly crappier than we said it might be).

Surely you've read your Lewis Carroll.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Hurricane wind thoughts
Make fur itch as it flees skin
This dog dislikes Ike.

"Go to Galveston;
may I, boss?," said Joel, "My hair's
limp; Ike will fix that."

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

You may encounter certain death. Or you may encounter less-reliable death. You know. The kind that leaves you just mostly dead.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

You shouldn't dog a fled horse either.
Not just you. Anyone.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Nor should you horse around with sled dogs, at least while they're working.

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

That kind's called "marriage," Padouk.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, 'Mudge...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/comics/king_sally_forth.html?name=Sally_Forth

Any simliarity to Boodlers alive or imaginary is a figment of your imagination.

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Having never diagrammed a sentence, I would have to go with:

"You may face death. If you do, that death will be certain."

I think they are just trying to cover there butts in case somebody stays and does survive. They wouldn't want to get sued for false information.

Kurt Vonnegut often threatened to sue because the cigarettes he smoked weren't killing him quickly enough.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Ted Forth is my hero:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2006/01/ted-forth-my-hero.html

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The Houston Chronicle may certainly have the best storm coverage.
http://www.chron.com/
Stuff like :
"Big clumps of fire ants floating over Surfside Beach
Reporter Dane Schiller was phoning in his latest update from the flooding scene in Surfside Beach when he paused and gasped. A gigantic ball of fire ants floated past his leg. He looked up and spotted other floating masses of the stinging insects."

Their science blogger has his own storm surge model. Cool but it's getting pretty obvious that Galveston and other coastal communities will get flooded to very high if not record levels.

So Joel be on the watch for giant clumps of fire ants.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The Globe and Mail is somewhat clearer, at least in its headline “Run or Die, Texans told”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080912.wike0912/BNStory/International/home

Mind you, the G&M also warns of “potential 15-metre foot waves”. We still can’t decide what system we prefer.

I also checked the US National Weather Service’s website. Interestingly, the first few bulletins were about possible flooding in Topeka Kansas, where residents may face certain sewer back ups.

I liked this warning, relating to a flood warning in Florida:

“SAFETY MESSAGE...ALL PERSONS WITH INTEREST ALONG THE RIVER SHOULD MONITOR THE
LATEST FORECASTS...AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY. DO NOT DRIVE CARS THROUGH FLOODED AREAS. IF YOU SEE FLOOD
WATERS...REMEMBER TO TURN AROUND AND DO NOT DROWN.”

Okay got it, turn around. What was the other part again? I always forget that.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Having JUST paid the exterminator to kill the ants that have overrun my house in the last couple of weeks, I will say that I hope ALL the fire ants DIE a CERTAIN DEATH.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Me_the_Breeze

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

foot waves? It is *hard* to do foot waves, much better to use hands.

Posted by: nellie | September 12, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, after 32 years, I believe that doing nothing for a while might be prudent. Besides, many of the crucial questions are already answered.
1. Alive? yes
2. Well? seems so.
3. In Texas? no

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I read a story about an Irishman and a bunch of ants oncte.
Maybe it was pants. And a drinking song. It might be "Flanagan and the Pants."

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The thing is... we ALL face certain death. No question about that.

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Ants in your pants?

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
And taxes.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Certain death, yes. But what about "a" certain death? You know -- the kind that people extoll in cautionary tales for decades (maybe centuries?) to come?

For example:
(1) irritate the king.
(2) make trouble in a theocracy in which being nailed to a tree right-side up is considered the HUMANE mode of execution (the nasty mode is upside-down or horizontal. It takes a lot longer).
(3) Initiate a land war in Asia without having the title "Khan" in your name.
(4) Even worse, accept an invitation to a land war in Asia against a guy whose name includes the title "Khan."
(5) Earn the epitaph "Hold my beer, and watch this."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

(6) And of course -- go to Galveston to report on a hurricane.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Yep Tim, here's the resoning.
Expected storm surge: 20 ft.
Height of the seawall:17 ft.
Hey, let's go to Galveston so that we may all face certain death!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC reAsoning *sigh*

And I previewed it too.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, there'll be some rezoning, shriek... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Marsen versus the Plants" carries the more confrontational flavour of the title I'm trying to remember but is insuffiently Irish.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

One of my colleagues in Portland, Oregon moved there after the Charleston office flooded during Hugo. He was first to return, thanks to having an official vehicle and a official uniform. The mess was evidently awful.

We haven't had severe hurricane flooding in recent years because the configuration of the coast allows bad storm surges only under extraordinary circumstances.

I'm worried that people in the Houston-Port Arthur area living in evacuation zones may have assorted folkloric, mistrust-of-govermnent, or even religious justifications for staying in potential surge zones. They need to see photos from Katrina in Mississippi, where houses were battered into two-by-fours.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Joel's even braving the seawall... :-O

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091201883.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Warning! Cruel, heartless, cynical comment coming...

Dave of the C's said "I'm worried that people in the Houston-Port Arthur area living in evacuation zones may have assorted folkloric, mistrust-of-govermnent, or even religious justifications for staying in potential surge zones. They need to see photos from Katrina in Mississippi, where houses were battered into two-by-fours."

But just think -- their noble sacrifice will help to shift the tide of the election!

Posted by: PlainTim | September 12, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that San Luis Hotel has a second story and a strong foundation. They may need both.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Warning! Cruel, heartless, cynical comment coming...

Dave of the C's said "I'm worried that people in the Houston-Port Arthur area living in evacuation zones may have assorted folkloric, mistrust-of-govermnent, or even religious justifications for staying in potential surge zones. They need to see photos from Katrina in Mississippi, where houses were battered into two-by-fours."

But just think -- their noble sacrifice will help to shift the tide of the election!

Posted by: PlainTim | September 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I got a warning that I had posted too often, so I assumed my message had not gone through. Evidently I was wrong.

Posted by: PlainTim | September 12, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

No matter, PlainTim. It made me laugh out loud. And was worthy of typing all the words out.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

According to Google Maps, the San Luis Hotel is right across Seawall Blvd. from the water. For now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Naaah... You can never be too cruel or too heartless. (Well, OK, maybe you were at least twice as cruel and heartless as necessary.)

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I still don't know how Joel drew the storm beat. Clearly he was not looking busy enough while blogging and The Big Boss tagged him for this assignment. If he needs lessons on how to appear productive when management comes around, I can offer private tutorials in exchange for autographed copies of remaindered editions.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes ScienceTim, the hotel is right on the seawall. But that also happens to be one of the highest points on the island. It slopes down to sealevel on the back side (non Gulf side).

Posted by: astromom | September 12, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

http://www.sanluisresort.com/

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Joel can squeeze in a spa package or relax in a private cabana while at the San Luis. Fun!

Posted by: nellie | September 12, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't get any reservations at the San Luis for tonight or tomorrow. The do have rooms available for Sunday night starting at $152. There was a very nice looking Premium King room for $188. Now to book a weekend getaway airfare.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I hope:

1. That planes will be flying to Houston on Sunday.

2. That the San Luis will still be there and open.

3. That gas prices won't get to be ridiculous again.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

As we all know, Joel is a talented reporter and writer who really has that whole, you know Renaissance Man shtick down cold. He can write serious, complex prose that is a credit to his profession. Every once and a while, though, I find in his writing certain phrases that I find difficult not to interpret as ironic little jokes. Perhaps this is just me, but consider the following sentence from his most-excellent piece on hurricane preparations in Galveston:

"Cathy Blume, a local sign-maker, couldn't stay in her own home, which isn't protected by a seawall, so she planned to stay with a friend in what seemed like a safe house made of brick."

I can't help but wonder if at some point in the composition of this sentence he momentarily considered inserting the phrase ,"having wisely passed up the surrounding houses made of straw and sticks."


Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

yello, I wonder if sending Joel to Galveston wasn't management's shrewd decision that it was cheaper than staff attrition through buy-out. It combines "reduction in force" with "act of god."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This is interesting and scary. It shows the expected flooding for various levels of storm surge for Galveston. Joel is at the bottom center.

http://www.utexas.edu/features/2006/hurricanes/UT_animation_fade22.swf

Posted by: astromom | September 12, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

From the San Luis website:

"The San Luis Resort is the premier wedding destination on Galveston Island featuring the elegantly spacious Grand Ballroom and the Mainsail Salon. Fresh air festivities are also available in our Gulfview Gazebo creating a magical backdrop for your lifetime event."

"Treat yourself to one of our half or full day spa packages, a magnificent escape from the hectic pace and stress of everyday life. Slip into a soothing bath, dream through a deep massage and enjoy more than a little magic at Spa San Luis."

I smell second honeymoon.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

nellie, all the San Luis's private cabanas are currently flying to Abilene. Without benefit of airplane.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I hardly ever even bend over to pick up 1¢, but I decided to start. You never know when you need one. They keep you from having to change 1$; that's about all the use 1¢ is anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe Joel's in Galveston. Houston was bad enough. And how much can you report on when you're huddled in a room without windows (I hope).

Tom Rush does a song called Wasn't That a Mighty Storm, about the Galveston hurricane long ago :
Wasn't that a mighty storm
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning, well
Wasn't that a mighty storm That blew all the people all away

You know the year of 1900
Children, many years ago
Death came howling on the ocean
Death calls, you got to go
Now Galveston had a seawall
To keep the water down, and a
High tide from the ocean
Spread the water over the town

It goes on. This is a very short snippet on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eocXA1e6XRM
He performed this when I saw him a few years ago. For the slide guitar, he used what looked like a butter knife, I kid you not.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 12, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of clothing for Joel, when he does the screaming-outdoor-in-the-weather thing, it makes some sense to dress as if you're going to get wet anyhow.

Since it'll be really warm, might I suggest a "rash guard" from one of the surfing wetsuit outfits. Of course it'll look like a billboard for the brand, but it'll keep the raindrops from stinging and--even better--it will have a little loop at the front bottom that you can tie to the obligatory swim trunks via their laces. This keeps the bottom of the overpriced synthetic-material shirt in place and in dire circumstances, might even help keep the pants in place.

If shorts don't seem protective enough, maybe triathon bottoms or assorted knee and shin pads sold to riverboarders.

Actually, a riverboarding outfit might be just the thing for wet weather reporters. I'm sure swim fins can be attached at the waist. Shin and knee pads, PFD, and a Gath helmet with a clear plastic eye shield that slides up while on camera.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The 22 sailors of the Antalina will ride the storm aboard. Thankfully the old rustbucket is loaded, that makes for a somewhat smoother ride than bobbing around atop empty cargo holds...
This is a night they will remember.
http://blogs.chron.com/hurricanes/2008/09/coast_guard_aborts_rescue_atte.html

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

rd,
I like the irony that the occupant of the house of bricks had already fled before the BBW even threatened to huff and puff.

mudge,
I bet Joel gets 'volunteered' for some Tora Bora travel articles next.


astromom,
At fifteen feet of storm surge, that Zodiac boat he brought along is going to be looking really useful. He did take a Zodiac, didn't he?

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

mostly, a reporter/editor used that Mighty Storm song a couple years ago reporting on Hurricane Isabella.

http://www.dcmilitary.com/dcmilitary_archives/stories/092403/25414-1.shtml

(And don't miss the lyrics from Kris Delmhorst's song "Hurricane" at the very bottom.)

(If I'm not mistaken, that reporter/editor won a journalism award for that front page [3rd graf], which unfortunately isn't viewable online. http://www.dcmilitary.com/dcmilitary_archives/stories/031804/28003-1.shtml )

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Tim, here you go with the Religious Crowd Thinning Project:
"Despite the call for mandatory evacuations, some Galveston residents vowed not to leave.

John Saracco and his wife, Ginger, viewed the danger first-hand today as they strolled along the city's seawall. When a massive wave pounded the protective barrier, Ginger Saracco gasped.

''I'm really frightened,'' she said. ''I've been in blizzards and tornadoes, but never a hurricane. It's frightening, but if the Lord's going to take you, he's going to find you wherever you are.''

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5995957.html

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

STRONGER WINDS...ESPECIALLY IN STRONGER
GUSTS...ARE LIKELY ON HIGH RISE BUILDINGS.

IKE REMAINS A VERY LARGE HURRICANE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 275 MILES...445 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 955 MB...28.20 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 20 FEET...WITH A FEW SPOTS TO
NEAR 25 FEET...ABOVE NORMAL TIDES ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS
BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE
CENTER OF IKE MAKES LANDFALL. THE SURGE EXTENDS A GREATER THAN
USUAL DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER DUE TO THE LARGE SIZE OF THE
CYCLONE. WATER LEVELS HAVE ALREADY RISEN BY MORE THAN 5 FEET ALONG
MUCH OF THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST.

DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE IN THE EYE. THE STRONGEST WINDS AND HIGHEST
SURGE WILL LIKELY OCCUR NEAR OR JUST AFTER THE EYE MAKES LANDFALL.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

While we are taking storm songs, I submit Neil Young's
Like a Hurricane.

BTW -- a friend told me that the On Parenting blog is really littered with troll scat....I sped past it this afternoon. Very sad. I predict a fixed log-in thingie for blog commenting soon. I only hope we can register with our noms des blogs....


Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope Ginger there hasn't been IN any tornadoes. But she sure is going to get to add Hurricane to her Kick The Bucket List.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

WATER LEVEL HAS ALREADY RISEN MORE THAN 9 FEET ON PART OF GALVESTON ISLAND. Ibid @4:38

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

*smacks hand on forehead*

Will somebody please just give the boss his Pulitzer and call it done? What he's doing, while giving us all a(nother) coronary, is more along the lines of earning a Darwin award. Sheese.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | September 12, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"It's frightening, but if the Lord's going to take you, he's going to find you wherever you are.''

Yes, but sometimes he doesn't WANT to take you; it's just that you're so darned insistent, and he doesn't want to disappoint.

Posted by: PlainTim | September 12, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

http://www.chron.com/
Look at the flood and flame vid. Wow. And they are still 5-6 hours away from the eye of the storm, Ike being so big.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that if the Lord wanted Ginger, he'd send something a little more stealthy than a huge storm moving at twelve miles per hour, which has been tracked by planes & satellites for over a week, and whose progress is being broadcast by means of every communication medium known to the ingenuity of humans.

"Ginger, darling, this is God. I'm not TRYING to find you dear. I'm trying really, really hard to tell you to get lost for a while."

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

My Hurricane Isabella experience pales against others. But, i do remember being very frightened of line-storms in the West. These storms often precede a tornado. Here is how Robert Frost recalls a line storm in New England:

A Line-Storm Song

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.

The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.

There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.

Robert Frost

Here is a painting of a midwestern line storm by John Stuart Curry http://www.new-berne-antiques-and-collectibles.com/images/Booth9BC/ART/640_Art%2013.JPG

JS Curry is most famous for his painting of the CRAZED John Brown in "Bleeding Kansas" which hangs in the Kansas Statehouse. I would see it once a year when visiting relatives. Scarred the bee-jaysus outa me.
http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/Assets/Still/1999/DoD/HD-SN-99-01774.JPEG

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

That flaming house at a flooded beach reminded me of Gary Larson's cartoon of a goldfish contemplating his flaming fish bowl. Or parts of flooded Harrisburg, Pa. burning in 1972.

Joel maybe got to see Jim Cantore?

Zodiac boats seem to be another useful item for the survivalist kit, but considering that storm surge is more like slightly slowed-down tsunami....

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here is Winslow Homer's
After the Hurricane
http://www.allpaintings.org/v/Realism/Winslow+Homer/Winslow+Homer+-+After+the+Hurricane.jpg.html

Which could almost be the sad ending to his terrifying painting about sharks around a small boat
Gulf Stream
Click into the jpeg to see the detail.
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/H/homer/gulf_stream.jpg.html

Posted by: College Artian | September 12, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This has been floating around (ha ha) for a while...


There is a flood and the police are evacuating everybody. They see this man waist deep in the water in his house and say “Come with us and you’ll be safe." The guy replies “Don’t worry, God will save me."

The water has now risen even more and the guy is forced to climb on the roof. A man in a boat is floating by and says “Come with me and you’ll be safe." The guy replies “Don’t worry, God will save me."

The water rises even more and the guy is now holding on to the chimney for dear life. A helicopter, with a ladder, flies by and the pilot shouts “Come with me and you’ll be safe." The guy replies “Don’t worry, God will save me."

Ten minutes later he drowns and ends up in front of God. “Why didn’t you save me?” he asks God. God then said “What do you mean? I send the police, a boat and a helicopter!”

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
Thanks. I was waiting for someone with better story-telling skills than me to post the Parable Of The Guy In The Flood. It was prominently featured in an episode of The West Wing. I think the one with Karl Malden as a priest.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, TBG, but you know that God speaks here in a voice not unlike Billy Crystal as Mad Max in Princess Bride. Oh, the exasperation that poor omnipotent being faces each day because WE fail to see God in each other and act accordingly. ;)

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Have fun stormin' the castle!"

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I like the version in which the man specifies that God will send a miracle to save him. When he faces God, he asks why God didn't send a miracle to save such a devout person as himself, and God says "I sent you three, and that's enough." I like the way it still tells the joke, but also elevates it with a parable about the miraculous character of human kindness and generosity.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

MIRACLE Max. MAD Max was played by a different actor.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

MEA CULPA, SciStoryMovieBuffTIMMIANS.

I cannot imagine at all that Mel Gibson would 'work" as God in anybody's theology, save perhaps that of Mel Gibson.

A thousand pardons!

Posted by: College Apologian | September 12, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Just havin' fun with ya.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 12, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

New kit! Flee!

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

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