Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes, I remember 11SEPT2001

Here I am, with too little, and too late in the day.

I’d decided NOT to write anything about the anniversary of the second terrorist attack on America. I can’t add anything material by my small efforts. But I got to thinking this evening, that not to write something seems almost disrespectful to the memory of all those who died and those who lost loved ones that day. And also to all those who have gone to war and died and been maimed as a result of the terrorism.

This is not my memoir of where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the World Trade Center. And the Pentagon. Oh, I clearly recall sitting at my desk and hearing conversation in the hallway outside become shouts and curses and prayers. I looked out and someone asked if I had the news up on my computer. I got it quickly, and then went to the nearest TV set. I probably had no emotions not already described by others, better than I can craft the words. I had no family at or near any of the crime scenes. I had met several NYC cops in the past, but hadn’t talked with any in the past few years. I had no idea of their current duty assignments or hours, so I never thought to make any phone calls. The lines would have been jammed anyhow. No, there was no personal concern for family or close friends - -only that MY COUNTRY had been attacked.

So, here it is - - my small, humble observance of the day. I know several others who have carefully crafted blog entries well in advance of this day. Mine will not hold a candle to theirs. This is very much a spur-of-the-moment article. I just want to say, no matter that the frenetic pace of the calling for revenge has slowed somewhat. No matter that many are now opposed to the war - - -


Our people were killed, our way of life attacked. Sacrifices have been made in the ensuing years. They continue. I thank God for our service men and women in the field, fighting the terrorists. For those who are preparing to go -- or to return. And for those who recovering from the offerings they’ve already placed on the altar of liberty. Thank you. Thank you all, and thank our allies who have stood shoulder to shoulder with Americans in this fight for all of civilization.

May Almighty God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Meme: Omnivore's Hundred

Don’t you hate lengthy introductions? Yeah, me, too. But this meme wouldn’t be nearly so interesting without a word or two in advance. I first saw this meme on The Adventures of Roberta X. She gives a bit of back story and the original link. The British Very Good Taste blog looks very interesting, and I’ll be checking back on it ftom time to time. Anyway, further information on this Omnivore’s Hundred meme starts on the VGT installment of 19AUG2008.

All that being said, here’s the meme. It’s about meaningless without the detailed insttructions.

Omnivore's Hundred

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. [I didn't know how to do cross-outs, and, if I become sufficientrly hungry, there's vary little I won't at least TRY.]
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.
[Disregard the underlining. Dunno where it came from.]

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
Huevos rancheros
Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
Baba ghanoush
PB&J sandwich
Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
Foie gras
Rice and beans
Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted
cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin
58. Beer above 8% ABV
Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried
Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and
73. Louche
Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
Lapsang souchong
Tom yum
Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-
Michelin-star restaurant.
Kobe beef
86. Hare
89. Horse [of which I was aware]
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
Soft shell crab
93. Rose
94. Catfish
Mole poblano
96. Bagel and
Lobster Thermidor [I'm allergic to lobster and shrimp}
98. Polenta
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Roberta comments on several delicious but-exotic taste treats not included, musing that the list seems to be focused more on challenges than epicurean delights.

Anyway, that's MY version. Post yours, either on your own site, or in comments below.


Friday, September 05, 2008

In Gustav’s Aftermath

In my previous post, I observed that prayer and good wishes, sent from afar in times of collective hardship, gives those afflicted warm and fuzzy feelings.

HAH! I almost wrote, “Victims.” Well, the hardy souls of Louisiana, at least outside metro New Orleans, are hard to classify as “Victims.” Most would probably resent being called such. According to reports from our Bayou Renaissance Man and others in the area, most of those hit by the storm were simply being human - - They took a hit, sometimes a major hit, and many were seriously knocked around. Then they did what real live human beings DO - - They got back up, looked around, and went to doing what needed doing - - Bootstrapping themselves up, helping themselves and their neighbors as possible. Giving assistance to others when and where they could and getting on with the business of life. Yeah, they’ll accept help when it’s at hand, and be grateful, but they don’t waste effort in whining.

Sometimes, Life contains adversity, with which Real People must deal. There’s no sense of entitlement in such an occasion. There’s just The Situation, and the Real People “cowboy up,” give thanks for blessings received, and DEAL WITH LIFE. Good on you, friends.


You can’t properly tip your hat to each and every person and group who did their own part to restore a measure of normalcy to a chaotic situation.

It’s hard to write up the difference between individuals and organizations and public services that do the right thing in a time of crisis. After all, organizations, agencies, companies, and whatever - - These are made up of individuals. There are some really outstanding ones, some just plain ol’, average folks, and maybe some just a bit below par. It’s really nice to see how well most of them can pull together and get stuff done when it’s really needed.

It is encouraging to learn from Peter that electrical power and cell phone and most routine services are back up and running in so short a time after such a major hit. This is entirely to the credit of those who stuck at their posts and carried on during difficult times. To mention only some of them - - -

The peace officers - - City cops, deputies, state troopers, and all the rest, the ones who showed up for work and STAYED on duty for as long as needed. The firefighters: Maybe there were few enough fires to extinguish, but lots of those people do more rescue and relief work than smoke eating anyhow. These people are expected to rush toward violent situations, or run into burning buildings. But who expects them to leave behind their own families to go out and serve their communities?

Emergency medical services personnel were on duty. They didn't take the week off in honor of the storm. The Ambulances were ready to roll, the emergency rooms were staffed. Praise God, casualties were light. Had they not been, EMS were ready.

Those downed and broken power lines and blown transformers didn’t splice and replace themselves. Power and Electric and utility services emergency crews came early and stayed late, local and from the next-door parishes, and from hundreds of miles distant. Local and state road and bridge crews made repairs and dragged downed trees out of the roads. On duty, off duty - - Was ANYONE off duty while their friends and neighbors were in trouble? Yeah, it’s what is expected - - but those people DID it.

Those private individuals less hard-hit were very apt to go down the road to the church or community center or just over to the neighbors’, to see if they could lend a hand. The volunteer service groups and civic groups and other organizations and agencies, public and private, were on hand, fetching, carrying, running errands, pouring coffee and ice water, serving lunches. Nice going, friends.

Individuals like Friend Peter, dealing with their own problems but still ready to furnish such support as they can during The Crisis - - Nothing short of inspiring.

And there were all those private residents of all the afflicted Louisiana areas, who stood ready to provide armed and aggressive support to their neighbors, against the opportunists and scavengers who appear in the wake of natural disasters: WELL DONE! This is the sort of thing your kindred spirits in other areas expect to see -- HOPE to see -- but is so often lacking in many localities. I understand that looters did NOT prosper during the Gustav crisis, even in the metropolitan environment. And in the hinterlands, the situation was downright hostile. At the very best of times, cops can’t be everywhere, and especially when the strong winds blow torrential rains around, the trees breaking and the waters rising . . . . But gimpy old men can sit on porches with bird guns and deer rifles and give unwelcome visitors to understand that southern hospitality has sharply defined limits.

The forces of nature, when out in all their fury, are indeed intimidating. I mean, downright SCARY at times. But communities, neighbors, friends, pulling together, can cope. That’s what Real People do: They reach out to one another, and they cope.


Bayou Renaissance Man back on line!


Peter is back to posting his blog now, having survived Hurricane Gustav‘s trek into Central Louisiana. I and others who posted updates for him were certainly grateful for the opportunity to help out, but we’re very happy that the situation as moderated to the extent it has. Our assistance was indeed small enough, consisting only of awaiting word and passing it along to concerned friends. As he has time to post, we can all go back to getting the word directly from him.

Many disparage the “Power of Prayer,” I know. But in times of personal, individual and collective, hardship, it gives those afflicted the warm fuzzies to know the kind feelings and good vibrations being sent across the miles. I know Peter and his local pals are glad to have had your good wishes and sympathy.

I wanted to get this announcement on line ASAP. I’ll try to post some additional observations later today.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wednesday Update -- Bayou Renaissance Man

Holly and I heard from Peter at about 10:30 this morning. He’s physically okay, battered but unbowed, soaked but not drowned. The damage to his residence caused by the falling tree is fairly minimal. It is bothersome, but happily, his house is some 60 years old, built to old standards, with massive structural members and roof trusses. The damage should be repairable without actual removal of the roof. Of course, this has brought to a screeching halt the restoration efforts following last week's fire. The contractors handing THAT project, largely smoke abatement and repainting, are now involved in emergency repairs of damage done by Gustav.

The entire area where Peter lives is totally waterlogged. His place is at the top of a long, gentle hill, but he cannot even walk across his yard without sinking in above his ankles. He edged his truck off his gravel driveway only a touch and it was immediately stuck. There’s still a lot of rain and lightning. He has to drive several miles to acquire a cell phone signal to make any telephone call. He’ll likely be unreachable, either by land line or cell phone for the next few days. Any internet connection and/or blogging are out of the question. It is hoped that electrical power MAY be restored by Friday, but it could take a few additional days. Peter will lose all his refrigerated and frozen food. He’s seen dozens of electric company emergency services trucks from all over.

There is clearly much damage to the various feeder electrical lines. When electrical services tried to restore connections, transformers exploded in series for a long distance. It will take a lot of work to reestablish all the connections and damaged lines.

A great many people are vastly inconvenienced, certainly, but loss of life and serious injuries have been minimal. Peter is impressed with the general level of preparations for the storm, and the function of emergency services following. The efficiency of Louisiana State Government, compared to that during and after Katrina, has been tremendously better.

More information follows as available.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tuesday Morning Update from Central Louisana

At 9:24 a.m. CDT, LawDog posted that he’d heard from Peter this morning and all is relatively well. He had some property damage but he is uninjured, all praise be.

Things look pretty good for now. Overall, internet news sources indicate that, compared to the preparations made and earlier estimates, casualties have been relatively light. After the storm caused some 94 deaths across the Caribbean, eight deaths in the US have been attributed to the storm, five of them in vehicle crashes. [Associated Press reports] While relatively few, the families of the dead will grieve no less.

All of which means that thousands of refugees are NOT still in jeopardy, and we may expect that practically all will soon be touching base with family and friends. The Gulf Coast has again dodged the bullet, and while the media may be a little disappointed, the Real People directly effected are thankful. This morning, “News” about Gustav has been scant. That’s fine with me. On to the next circulation stimulator, News Guys. Plenty of potential disasters still a-brewin'.

Best to all,

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Blogger Update from Central LA

Peter, Bayou Renaissance Man, mentioned that he would send updates by several friends in our area. The last I heard was a phone call at 12:40 p.m. CDT, and all was well - - weather kicking up but so far not too bad. He indicated he'd probably loose power fairly soon, and this seems to have been the case. He posted his most recent update a few minutes later.

I notice that Peter communicated with LawDog a little before 3 p.m., so that looks like the most recent information. PhlegmFatale was unable to get through to Peter a bit after 5 o'clock.

7:59 p.m. I was unable to reach Peter's cell phone. More news as available.