Recently in Hurricanes Category

Labor Day 2011

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Happy Labor Day

Got plans?

The dreariest Labor Day weekend in memory continues. It was still raining here at CrabAppleLane up until about an hour ago. Hope we're done for a while. 9.10 inches of rain since Thursday morning (Bush, LA)? Sure seems like a lot more than that. It has been raining steadily here since Friday. Drizzling sometimes, pouring other times. Lee is a tropical depression now heading toward Appalachia. What a nuisance he's been. Good riddance.

Saints fans got some good news today. See QOTD.

3 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Confessin' Midnight - Robin Trower - Essential
  2. Man That You Fear - Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
  3. Chokin' Kind - Walter "Wolfman" Washington - Sada
  4. Found Out About You - Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience
  5. Thank God I'm A Country Boy - John Denver - Back Home Again

Quote of the Day

I am very pleased to announce this contract extension today for Sean that will run through the 2015 season. Our goal is to continue to build a TRADITION of winning here in New Orleans and Sean represents that tradition.
Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints Owner

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "The world wants to take us to the place where you don't have to use a car eleven times a day, a different arrangement of things on the landscape than what we're currently stuck with in most of the United States."

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This Labor Day weekend may go down as the dreariest of all time. It has not stopped raining here for more than a few minutes since Friday. The ground is thoroughly soaked. Please just do something, Lee. Move through or just go off and die. Just sitting out there is annoying.

About today's QOTD. I have a brother, David, but he does not work for the Press-Register. That David is no relation as far as I know. :)

4 days until football season ...

I offer two from the yard today. The hummingbird feeder is well-protected from interlopers. Last Sunday, he was guarding from the watchtower. This week, he's on the battlefield. The Big Leaf Magnolia is now a No Leaf Magnolia. Lee knocked off the one remaining leaf. Hope that's not the end of it but I think it may be.

CrabAppleLane Hummingbird - September 4, 2011
CrabAppleLane Hummingbird - September 4, 2011

CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - September 4, 2011
CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - September 4, 2011

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Vas Dis - Wishbone Ash - Time Was- The Wishbone Ash Collection
  2. Sail Along Silvery Moon - Billy Vaughn - 40 Instrumental Hits (The Big Hits of The 50's Era)
  3. It's A Man's Woman's World (Pt. 1) - Irma Thomas - Sweet Soul Queen Of New Orleans: Irma Thomas Collection
  4. Baby, Now That I've Found You - Alison Krauss & Union Station - Live
  5. Twilight - The Band - The Best Of The Band

Quote of the Day

The National Weather Service predicted Lee could dump more than a foot of rain in some areas of the northern Gulf Coast.
David Ferrara, Alabama Press-Register

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "At 8:30 a.m. CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located just South/Southeast of the New Iberia airport in southcentral Louisiana."

Pretty much where it was yesterday at this time. -Rob

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Started to use "casualty" instead of "loss" but that may seem insensitive later. So I'm watching TV on the couch, barely keeping my eyes open, when I hear a howling wind. Although I can see the Bradford pear tree from my couch, I didn't see anything happen. The tree below, which only yielded a few twigs to Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike, lost half her spread to this pipsqueak, Lee's, feeder band. Unfortunately, on the ground, this tree IS in my way so I had to deal with it. I'm now sore all over and I don't know if this tree, Patsy's favorite, can be saved.

Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011
Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011
Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011
Tropical Storm Lee - September 3, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee

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We're inside today because of Lee. We're also under a tornado watch. It has rained all night, all morning, and is still raining. Most of the gas stations on the main highway near my workplace were out of gas yesterday or had really long lines but the ones off the beaten path had gasoline and no waiting. I filled up with ease. Super Wal-Mart was also rather crazy yesterday. Patsy went out earlier today for cat medicine and some groceries for the long weekend. No street flooding yet but drainage ditches are full and the ground is saturated. Lee is due here tomorrow. There is some concern here at CrabAppleLane.

LSU v Oregon tonight from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Both teams have had some off-field issues and most fans will be happy just to see their team on the field. Cowboys Stadium is a neutral field but LSU will have far more support. I know quite a few people who made this road trip. Should be a good game.

GEAUX Tigers

About today's QOTD: Miss America is my favorite Styx song. The links will take you to both the studio version and the live version. I prefer the studio version. The lyrics are pretty mean but I think that's what I like most about the song.

5 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. By The Time I Get To Phoenix - Johnny Rivers - Johnny Rivers - Anthology 1964-1977
  2. Naya's Song - Joemy Wilson - Dulcimer Lullabies
  3. The Sign - Ace Of Base - The Sign
  4. My Morphine - Gillian Welch - Hell Among the Yearlings
  5. Miss America - Styx - The Grand Illusion

Quote of the Day

Well, it's true
Just take a look
The cover sometimes makes the book
And the judges?
Did they ever ask?
To read between your lines

In your cage
At the human zoo
They all stop to look at you
Next year
What will you do?
When you have been forgotten?
Styx, Miss America

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "According to a public advisory issued as I've been writing, at 1am tonight (Saturday) by the National Hurricane Center, the center of tropical storm Lee is expected to make landfall on the coast of southern Louisiana late Saturday, bringing along sustained winds near 50mph (80 kilometers/hour) with higher gusts, and dumping up to 20 inches of rain over the areas affected."

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An anniversary

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6 years ago today, also a Monday. Hurricane Katrina will always be a part of me. It doesn't consume me like it once did and that's a relief. The finger-pointing, the second-guessing, the armchair quarterbacking from those with perfect 20-20 hindsight and the comfort of safe distance, the political blame game, well, all of that is mostly behind me. Those who came in from all over to help are not forgotten, though. They saw people in trouble. The rest of it didn't matter. Thank you to all of them.

Speaking of hurricanes, Irene is just about done but she surely left her mark. There was loss of life and lots of damage. There is a lot of work to do on the eastern seaboard this morning.

10 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Lord Of The Thighs - Aerosmith - Get Your Wings
  2. Hold Back The Water - Bachman-Turner Overdrive - The Anthology
  3. Dang Me [Stereo] - Roger Miller - AM Gold: The Mid-'60s
  4. Lady Double Dealer - Deep Purple - Stormbringer
  5. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye - AM Gold: The Mid-'60s

Quote of the Day

Tropical Storm Irene swept through the desolate streets of New York on Sunday, flooding low-lying areas and leaving millions of homes without power along the Eastern Seaboard as it continued on to New England. Most New Yorkers emerged from their makeshift bunkers to find little of the widespread devastation the authorities had feared.
Sam Dolnick, New York Times

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Guitarist Betts, who penned some of the Allman Brothers Band's biggest hits ("Ramblin' Man," for one), presents his current band, Great Southern."

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About Hurricane Irene

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Eyes on Hurricane Irene now. The images of lines at The Home Depot and traffic getting out of town are a little too familiar to me. The downside of the information age is too much information during an emergency. We need an authoritative voice and it should come from the local government authorities. It should be updated regularly and relayed to their constituents. By regularly, I mean hourly or even more often. The media will surely cover it and maybe, just maybe, they won't do so much of their own reporting, which might conflict with information from the other local newscasts in town. A little repetitiveness is OK as long as its accurate. There's no way to know who is just now tuning in. People looking for the latest news on a hurricane can't wait 6, 8, or 10 hours for an update. They're not normally in a patient state of mind during an emergency. As a veteran of many hurricanes, it annoys me to no end that this has not only never been addressed, it has actually gotten worse.

13 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. A Warm Place - Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
  2. Rudiger - Mark Knopfler - Golden Heart
  3. Living Forever - Genesis - We Can't Dance
  4. Little Blue One - Cowboy Mouth - Mercyland
  5. Spinning Wheel - Blood, Sweat & Tears - AM Gold: The '60s Generation

Quote of the Day

What we have to do is assume the worst, prepare for that, and hope for the best
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "It’s that time again for people who live along the east coast of the United States…and for some former residents like myself. A hurricane is churning and making its way toward the Eastern Seaboard. Time to hurry up and wait."

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All eyes on Irene

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Hurricane Irene doesn't look like much to me but I now keep my eye on even the smaller ones these days. As usual, concerned hurricane watchers have to sift through overcautious rhetoric. For what it's worth, I've seen much worse on the dire rhetoric. I have no new plans here yet. :)

17 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Make Way For The Lady - Gordon Lightfoot - Gord's Gold Volume II
  2. Boys Wanna Fight - Garbage - Bleed Like Me
  3. It's So Cruel - Billy Idol - Billy Idol
  4. Royale With Cheese - Dialogue - Pulp Fiction
  5. First Snow (Instrumental) - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve And Other Stories

Quote of the Day

National Hurricane Center wind speed predictions indicated Irene, currently a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, could come close to being a major Category 3 hurricane by the weekend.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "This is a shot of Hiro when he is trying to be friendly. Hiro likes to be among people and kids. He will put on his friendly face whenever someone tries to approach him. How could anyone resist this face! He is such a good actor...lol!"

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Whenever I think of Hurricane Katrina and I certainly don't as much now as I once did, I keep ending up on one thing. If the levees hold, we're not talking about Katrina now. It was a substantial hurricane but Louisiana can handle that. There would be no horrific images, no politicization, no second guessing. New Orleans, Slidell, and Chalmette would have been on the same recovery pace as St Tammany and most of Mississippi. The damage would have been repaired in a few months and we would have be on to other things in no time. If only the levees had held ...

Another morning after a fantasy football auction. Feel as good about this team as I do my other one. Not very. Death on Two Legs - 2010 version:

QB Brett Favre - $7
RB Joseph Addai - $18
RB Jamaal Charles - $37 -- My transition player - Overpaid by a lot. No one knew anything about him until I tagged him - Could have gotten him for half this or even less
RB Cadillac Williams - $3
RB Donald Brown - $3
RB Tashard Choice - $1
WR Marques Colston - $22
WR Reggie Wayne - $26 - Franchise player
WR Chad Ochocinco - $9
WR Lee Evans - $3
WR Dexter McCluster - $2
TE Jason Witten - $14
TE Justin Keller - $1
PK Jeff Reed - $1
D/ST Dolphins - $1

I offer one from just outside my kitchen window this wet CrabAppleLane Sunday morning.

CrabAppleLane Althea - August 29, 2010
CrabAppleLane Althea - August 29, 2010

11 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star playlist:

  1. Miss Misery - Nazareth - Hair Of The Dog
  2. San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie - AM Gold: The '60s Generation
  3. Roundabout - Yes - Fragile
  4. Star Spangled Banner - Dixie Chicks - Super Bowl XXXVII
  5. Easy Lover - Phil Collins - Hits
Quote of the Day
President Obama had lunch at Parkway Bakery today. As usual for well-known folks in NOLA, he was just another customer. Voice on loudspeaker said, "Barack, pickup." He got a shrimp po-boy.
Fleurty Girl

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Across the states, the general first estimate of cost to insurers sits at $16 billion."

Ended up being in the neighborhood of $125 billion. -Rob

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August 29, 2005

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Last entry five years ago today.

It’s Monday morning. I should be getting ready for work but there's no work today. New Orleans is shut down. Hurricane Katrina roars ashore near the city at about 6AM. She reaches CrabAppleLane in all her power and ugliness at about 7AM. The power goes out here and the anxiety begins. If you're a fan of big weather and you have no stake in the outcome, this is the ultimate event. The winds howl for about 8 hours. Trees all around the house are lying down. A tree trunk or a limb snaps every few minutes. You hear a blast like a gunshot when it does and you worry for a few seconds hoping it doesn't come crashing through your window or roof. Speaking of the roof, a piece of flashing keeps tilting up and down as the wind hits it. If it doesn't hold up, wind will be able to get underneath the metal panels. It holds up. When the storm is over, we have no power, the yard is a mess, and the phones are down but we're safe.

Almost immediately after the storm passes, we hear chainsaws. People are out cutting up the fallen trees on Highway 1083. CrabAppleLane is right off of 1083. We can hear the chainsaws until it gets dark 3 or 4 hours later. I figure they've cleared the roadway. There is always a tree or two down on Highway 1083 after a big thunderstorm. Hurricane Katrina was more than that so I figured there were 20 or 30 down. 1083 is about 5 miles long from Highway 40 to Highway 21. Those guys aren't even trying to clear the roadway. They're just trying to clear a path so one vehicle can pass. There are hundreds of trees down. There are trees every 10 feet. One tree sometimes but clusters of trees most of the time. It is an enormous undertaking. They are not done but they surely did a lot. What those handful of guys got done with their chainsaws in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing.

On the south shore, there is street flooding in the places where it traditionally floods in and around New Orleans after a heavy rain. That's expected. There is an elaborate drain and pump system in place in the greater New Orleans area but it can't keep up with torrential downpours. After the rain stops, it usually takes a couple of hours for the water in the street to go down.

As night falls, we're in the dark. We have no TV because we have no electricity. A generator would get here two days later. After a major disaster of any kind, the reporting is pretty haphazard and, usually, wildly exaggerated. Remember the early reports of the San Fransisco earthquake of 1989, the early reports in the first Gulf war, the earliest reporting from 911? Katrina reporting was like that, too. People are calling into WWL (The designated emergency broadcast station in the New Orleans area) and saying some of the most ridiculous things that they'd heard or claimed to have seen. One thing was consistently reported, though. The water is rising. It should have been receding.

The water is rising.

I offer the two photos below that I took at work some three weeks after the storm. The city was still shut down. You needed a special pass to get off of the interstate. Once you were off of the interstate, it was the wild west. You could go pretty much anywhere you wanted but everyone except me was armed to the teeth. No one else is supposed to be in the city but people ARE in the city. Some are just trying to protect their property but some are up to no good. Many businesses hired security. These are not the part-time rental "mall" cops. They are very serious and heavily armed. The photos show both the start and the finish of Hurricane Katrina. The clock stopped when the power went out. About two feet above where the clock is hanging, well, look at the next picture.

Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005
When time stood still

Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005
The rest of the wall

I'm facing the north cinder block wall. The big roll-up doors on the east and west side of the building were blown in by the winds. Hurricane-force winds got inside the building and blew the wall out. Somehow, the clock remained hanging.

August 28, 2005

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Five years ago: All Katrina, All The Time

It's Sunday. Hurricane Katrina is headed our way. She's a Category 5 hurricane and she is enormous. She's due to come ashore near New Orleans tomorrow morning. Most of the residents and businesses there have evacuated or are in the process of evacuation. We've made the decision to stay home and ride it out. Mom is coming up from Kenner to stay with us. CrabAppleLane is about 15 miles north of Interstate 12 and evacuation is voluntary. The area south of I-12 is under a mandatory evacuation order. It's very calm here. We're about as ready as we can be. We've been through hurricanes before. We can fend for ourselves for a few days. We expect services to be restored before we run out of anything. They always are.

5 song iTune shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star playlist:

  1. Prairie Wedding - Mark Knopfler - Sailing To Philadelphia
  2. You've Got Another Thing Comin' - Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
  3. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - The Hollies - Rock Of The 70's
  4. Not Fragile (Quad Mix) - Bachman-Turner Overdrive - The Anthology [Disc 2]
  5. In My Time Of Dying - Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti [Disc 1]
Quote of the Day
The Saints might have plucked another exciting young running back from the ranks of the undrafted. Rookie Chris Ivory turned a swing pass into a tackle-breaking, zigzagging, 76-yard score in New Orleans' 36-21 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers on Friday night.
NFL.com

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Two days after Katrina hit, 80% of New Orleans was flooded and some places were 15 feet under water. The storm supposedly caused 50 breaches in levees, built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers."

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August 27, 2005

Originally posted five years ago.

katrina_82705_1836PM.jpg
Hurricane Katrina

It was a Saturday five years ago today. I had guys coming over for a fantasy football draft on Sunday and I had a few things I wanted to get done around the house. I'd had a late night Friday and got up for the last time around 9AM. I was drinking my coffee and making some rounds on the internet when I got a call. One of the fantasy football owners was going out of town and couldn't make it to the draft. He was evacuating. Really? I didn't think it was that serious. As I was considering what to do about that, I got another call. Another owner, same thing. I started calling the other owners to tell them we'd reschedule the draft after Katrina passed through. After I'd made all of my calls, I started watching the news.

I'll be the first to tell you that I hate the dire rhetoric that public officials and the media use during these times. I admit it's a tightrope and a horribly unfair task. Warn the public but don't induce panic. It's like a bit of a twist on the "Cry Wolf" fable. The crier doesn't get eaten by the wolf, though. The town does. Cry "Hurricane", everyone evacuates, no hurricane. Cry "Hurricane" again, everyone evacuates, still no hurricane. Cry "Hurricane" a third time, no one evacuates, killer hurricane. I tend to watch the local guys. They've usually been through it before and tend to exaggerate less. The statements coming out of the not-easily-shaken local public officials and the local media was quite alarming this time. It unsettled me.

"Just evacuate. Better safe than sorry". We all hear that a lot. Evacuations are very stressful and expensive. Traffic is bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see. Will you be able to get gas along the way? Will your car overheat? Can you even find a place to stay? What will you take with you? Bear in mind that whatever you leave behind may be lost forever. We decided to stay. Most didn't. It is an intensely personal and difficult decision. It turned out to be the right decision for us. Two of our windows leak in horizontal rain conditions. I've never been able to find the source of the leak but it only does it during those relatively rare conditions. During Katrina, two more windows leaked. We were able to manage the leaks because we were there. Had we not been home, we would have had mold. That would have meant a remediation team, gutting the house, an insurance fight, and major upheaval. We were lucky.

13 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star playlist:

  1. I Will Find You - Clannad - The Last Of The Mohicans
  2. Rockin' In The Free World - Neil Young - Freedom
  3. I Want You To Want Me - Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick/In Color/Heaven Tonight (3 Pak)
  4. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Andrews Sisters - 50th Anniversary Collection Volume One
  5. Firefly Main Theme Song - Joss Whedon - Firefly
Quote of the Day
Someone once said that life is either looking forward or looking back. There’s never The Moment. In New Orleans, The Moments come with joyful ease if you open yourself up to them.
Paul Oswell, London Daily Mail

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "I have nothing new, or good, to report. Happy 4-year anniversary."

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August 26, 2005

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Five years ago today, I was concerned about my Florida friends who had endured several hurricanes the year before. Charley, Frances, and Ivan wreaked havoc all over that state in the summer of 2004. On this day five years ago, another one was headed her way: Hurricane Katrina. It's Friday. The Saints are hosting the Ravens in a preseason game in the SuperDome. That's what I'm thinking about. I'm also looking forward to our annual fantasy football draft that I'm hosting on Sunday at CrabAppleLane. Katrina is not a concern. She's headed to Florida, not Louisiana. Didn't think her weekend plans would interfere with mine at all.

14 days until football season ...

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Ferry Cross The Mersey - Gerry & The Pacemakers - AM Gold: The Mid-'60s
  2. Dreamboat Annie (Reprise) - Heart - Dreamboat Annie
  3. You're My Best Friend (1991 Remix) - Queen - A Night At The Opera
  4. The Man's Too Strong - Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
  5. You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Quote of the Day
With thousands feared drowned in what could be America’s deadliest natural disaster in a century, New Orleans’ leaders all but surrendered the streets to floodwaters and began turning out the lights on the ruined city — perhaps for months.
Associated Press, September 1, 2005

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Nine and a half years ago, I fell cheesebox over toes for a small city in the Dirty South of the USA called New Orleans."

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Issues still abound - November 19, 2009

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About today's QOTD: A federal court has ruled that the Army Corp of Engineers can be held responsible for the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (Referred to locally as the Mister Go) levee failures. For those unfamiliar with the Greater New Orleans area, there were other levee failures besides the Mister Go. I'm not sure if there are trials upcoming on those but I would have to think there are. What made Hurricane Katrina so devastating to New Orleans was the flooding due to the levee failures. If there had only been wind and rain damage, it was substantial but would have been a fairly quick recovery. The Mister Go system flooded Chalmette and the Ninth Ward. No one would be talking about all of the other failures that came afterward if the levees had held. For the record, I am thoroughly disgusted with the blame game, with injured parties aiming to get rich rather than being made whole, and with people seizing the easy political opportunity that presented itself in this tragedy. Basically, I'm disgusted with Katrina.

About tonight's Carolina-Miami game: These are two teams I've seen this year a few times. Both played the Saints recently. This should be the shortest game of the season. Both teams are all about ball control and they both run the ball about 75% of the time. The clock will hardly ever stop. Carolina is playing better now, they're at home, and they stop the run a little better. I give them a slight edge.

From the For What It's Worth Department: I find the competing health care commercials comical. According to them, they're not on the Republicans side or the Democrats side. They're on YOUR side. As Dick Shawn once said, "And I'm Queen o' the May".

5 song iTune shuffle:

  1. Bird Of Prey 4:09 Uriah Heep The Best Of Uriah Heep
  2. Treat Her Right 3:39 The Commitments The Commitments
  3. Easy To Be Hard (Live At The Forum) 4:26 Three Dog Night Captured Live At The Forum (Reissue)
  4. I Just Want To Make Love To You 4:21 Foghat Foghat
  5. Into The Sun 11:24 Grand Funk Railroad Live Album
Quote of the Day
The ruling is also emotionally resonant for south Louisiana. Many in New Orleans have argued that the flooding in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck the region Aug. 29, 2005, was a manmade disaster caused by the Army Corps' failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city.
Associated Press via MSNBC.com

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Our first adventure and probably not our last."

A short visit

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The President is coming to New Orleans Thursday. When I worked in New Orleans, I dreaded the traffic snarl his motorcade produced. Now that I don't, I'd like him to take a full day and tour the city and hear from as many people as possible to get a full picture of the still ongoing recovery effort. A little selfish of me, I know. The situation in New Orleans is very complicated and a whirlwind half-day event doesn't do it justice. Fully restored and rebuilt homes in New Orleans are next to empty and blighted houses that have hardly been touched in the four years since Katrina passed through. He should be curious about why that is. I surely am. I wouldn't want an empty, blighted house in sight of my house. The President can be and should be a catalyst for getting the recovery moving again. City, State, and Federal agencies are still squabbling over just about everything. Money is a necessary component of the recovery but it's not the only one and I'm not even sure it's the highest on the list. Stay a little longer, Mr President.

Quote of the Day
Where we stand. From everything we've seen, the president is looking to get feedback from the population of the area on how things are going and where do we go from here.
Mike Rivault, University of New Orleans' chief marketing officer and the school's liaison with the White House

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "The Giants are #1 in the league in team defense.
The Giants are #2 in the league in team offense.
Eli Manning is the #2 rated passer in the league.
Steve Smith is the #1 WR by yardage in the league.
How much of this is a function of the schedule through 5 games?
"

No power frustration

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I know how frustrating it is to be without power for an extended period. We were without power here after Katrina for 12-½ days in August/September 2005. It's HOT in southeast Louisiana that time of year. Pretty hot in Houston this time of year, too. Calling the power companies periodically to get information is OK but don't expect them to have any or, at least, any that is current and useful. It's a massive undertaking and the crews, many from out of town, don't take their invaluable time to update customer information centers ... and only an idiot would want them filling out reports rather than replacing transformers/fuses/poles etc. Those crews are moving as quickly and safely as they can. They do a great job under difficult conditions. THEY ARE ROCK STARS. Hang in there, Houstonians.

Quote of the Day
I called them twice already this morning, and they couldn't tell us anything
Pat Loeber

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Pappas Bros. is committed to creating an environment unsurpassed by other steakhouses."

Have to try them if I'm ever in Houston again. -Rob

Hurricane activity, advice, etc...

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This is the last of Gustav and Ike from me for a while. I'm still disappointed in just about all aspects of the way hurricanes are covered. Don't care for the panic-inducing rhetoric from the media and public officials before the hurricanes or some of the incredibly bad and irresponsible editorializing after. And the politics, well, I have no words for someone trying to seize political advantage during a disaster and it doesn't matter to me what side of the aisle they sit on.

This from Houmatoday.com, which I think is the online version of the Houma Courier:

As parish flooded, emergency director was at LSU game

But not before picking up his wife ... at home in a mandatory evacuation area ... in an official rescue truck. Whether he engaged in any real criminal wrongdoing or not is of no consequence to his status as a public official. He's done.

This from Janine Godwin on September 15, 2008 in a piece called "Lessons Learned from Hurricane Ike":

This may sound glib, but it was a no-brainer when the warnings started popping up that Hurricane Ike was coming towards Houston. I listened, and paid attention from the beginning. I didn't wait until the last minute to top off my gas tank, I did it as soon as it looked like this storm could be coming this way. I think at the time it was in Cuba, which really isn't all that far away when you think about it. You never know what could happen in a couple hours time to change the course of a storm of this magnitude. In other words - never underestimate the power of Mother Nature - she is one fickle lady.

I was probably a little too snide about her remark the other day when I asked if she quit driving after she topped off her gas tank that long before landfall. In her words, "Yes. I had officed from home that week, so there was no reason to go out and wander the streets". Obviously, the ideal thing to do is to top off your gas tank, stock up your pantries, and office from home in the days leading up to hurricane, even though no one yet knows where it might land, but I don't think it's a particularly useful lesson because the vast, overwhelming majority of people can't do that for any number of reasons. The most common ones are that they're driving to work those days and when they get off and go to the gas station, the hardware store, or the grocery store after hours, the preparedness fanatics have already wiped out the supplies. The "last minute" keeps getting pushed forward and that's just trapping more people without gasoline, food, water, batteries, etc ... or, almost as bad, more expensive gasoline, food, water, batteries, etc. I'm not begrudging people who have the wherewithal to do what she did for Hurricane Ike. I wish we all had it. I think her own description of it sounding "glib" is right on the mark.

Hurricane Ike missed Austin and we're very happy about that.

About today's QOTD: Man, is that ever true.

Quote of the Day
When a hurricane like Ike knocks out electrical power for masses of people, they revert to two old-fashioned sources of immediate news.

Rumor and radio.
Rick Casey, Houston Chronicle

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I just came back from a day of interviewing people who were either stuck in traffic on the Gulf Freeway at FM 519 or were at nearby gas stations. Most were trying to get to Galveston, while a few were coming back from the island."

What hurricanes do

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I read this very thoughtful piece on what hurricanes do from Mark Potter of NBC yesterday. Below is one excerpt from it but it really is a great read and a good insight into what people go through and how their decisions are made.

But, more and more I mostly despise hurricanes for what they do to so many people at once. I often say that if you are not injured, and your loved ones are safe, the worst part of a hurricane is not the storm, itself, but the traumatic years of rebuilding afterward.

Amen. He gets it. And a thoughtful comment on that article from K Mary Hess:

Excellent perspective and thoughtfully written; now please let's work on some of the reasons people make the mistake of staying in the path of a storm. Many of the people who were rescued have said they had no funds to gas their cars and evacuate a second time (after Gustav) and so felt they had no "choice" but to remain in their homes. Is there a way to institute EMERGENCY GASOLINE PRICING along hurricane evacuation routes, to alleviate some of the monetary burden of those who MUST leave their homes? Is there a way to implement a ONE WEEK LODGING DISCOUNT that can be incurred by the evacuee showing their EVACUATION ZONE DRIVERS LICENSE with their current address? Is there a way that lodging places can be reimbursed for the discounts? Is there a way to find physicians and emergency and urgent care for those with compelling medical needs to present their driver's licenses from a mandatory evacuation area, and in turn receive FREE medical care until they are allowed to return to their homes? IS there a way?- there has to be, there can be, and should be, or we will continue to witness tragic choices made again and again.

There are no easy answers here folks. The wise a$$ question is "Why don't they move?". Well, some will ... but everyone within 100 miles of the gulf coast or the Atlantic coast is vulnerable to hurricanes. EVERYONE. There's important industry along those coasts. Oil and natural gas, aerospace, seafood, shipbuilding, and tourism are just a few of them. The port of New Orleans is one of the busiest and most important ports in the world. There will always be people living in these vulnerable areas.

I talked to someone I do business with in Katy, Texas yesterday. Katy is west of Houston. They sustained damage there but not as bad as Galveston and Houston. Talking to him brought back a flood of post-Katrina memories. They're up and running on generators, their staff is all accounted for but some are dealing with personal priorities, and they're operating at a fraction of their usual capacity. Lots of money going out, very little coming in. I know that pain.

Quote of the Day
Emergency management officials have an extremely difficult and often thankless job, because they have to order mass evacuations while the sun is still shining and the winds are still calm.
Mark Potter, NBC News Correspondent

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I didn't wait until the last minute to top off my gas tank, I did it as soon as it looked like this storm could be coming this way. I think at the time it was in Cuba, which really isn't all that far away when you think about it."

Cuba? That was at least a week before Texas landfall. Stopped driving after topping off? -Rob

True Blood

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Giving True Blood a try mainly because of Alan Ball. Loved Six Feet Under and American Beauty. Been kind of bored with vampires for a while but they keep reappearing in books/film/tv. The first two episodes were OK and I love the music.

The Saints stunk it up yesterday in Washington. Thoroughly outplayed. Lots to get straightened out before they head to Denver.

Quote of the Day
We have no power. We have no gas. We have no communications. We're not sure when any of that will be up and running. Do not come back to Galveston. You cannot live here right now.
Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "The much-hyped premiere of HBO's newest show, True Blood failed to capture much of an audience Sunday night, with only 1.44 million viewers. HBO pinned a lot of hopes on the show, from Six Feet Under's Alan Ball, to bring back their big Sunday night ratings, which have plummeted since the loss of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under."

Supply, demand, and threats

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The CNN headline read:

Bush says consumers won't be gouged on gas after Ike

Hurricane Ike is bearing down on Texas/Louisiana yesterday. There's a very popular gas station right next door to my workplace. We watch them change prices daily. Regular gasoline was $3.74 per gallon in the morning but went down to $3.55 after it was announced on the radio that consumers should call a 1-800 hotline if they suspect gouging. I suppose they could have gotten in a new shipment of much cheaper gasoline but my guess is they reconsidered what they were doing. It should be noted that gas stations are not the only businesses seizing opportunity under these conditions. Hotels/motels, grocery stores, drug stores, and hardware stores have also been known to do it.

I'm not wild about government intervention in the market unless supply has an overwhelming advantage over demand and, even then, only when the demand is for a necessity. I'm not sure government intervention in the market ever works, however, as the 1-800 hotline above illustrates, the threat of government intervention does.

Newsweek has a piece that touches on some of the concerns I cited in yesterday's post. They used the term "aggressive" to describe the rhetoric of the warnings issued, that included citizens facing "certain death", where I used the term panic-inducing. Citizens pay less attention to public officials when they think said officials are exaggerating. Unfortunately, in the case of hurricanes, no one, including the officials, knows if they're exaggerating or not until AFTER the event. Here's an idea. Show an actual image of the approaching storm. No radar graphs, no talking heads, and no overwrought headlines. Look at the image of Ike below taken from the International Space Station. More here if you like. The image below is worth at least a thousand words. It shows Ike for what he is and it does so without exaggerating or patronizing. Look at those two massive waves of water he's pushing. You live in a coastal area. Do you really want to hang around for that?

Hurricane Ike
Image: Courtesy of NASA

Quote of the Day
Daybreak today in Hurricane Ike's wake only revealed what Houston area power providers already knew -- the lights are out for roughly 5 million people, and getting the juice flowing again will be a painstaking process that could take weeks.
Lynn Cook and Kristen Hays, Houston Chronicle

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Let us know what the weather is like in your neighborhood."

Over 1300 comments to that query if you want to know what it's like in Houston today. -Rob

Hurricane Reporting

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This from the National Weather Service this morning on Hurricane Ike:

Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single-family one- or two-story homes may face certain death.

I just don't think panic-inducing rhetoric like that is helpful. I don't think anyone is disputing that Ike is a serious storm. Just give the people the facts as you know them and update them regularly with any changes.

I have no words for today's QOTD.

Quote of the Day
In a disaster such as an earthquake or terrorist attack, nearly two-thirds of U.S. parents would disregard orders to evacuate and would rush to pick up their kids from school, according to a new survey.
Karen Matthews, Associated Press

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "It's amazing how quiet everything is already. The highways and roads are clean, the stores and restaurants are closed. Everyone is home and settled in for the storm."

About the news during a hurricane emergency

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Hurricane Ike begins to strengthen over Gulf
by NOLA.com
Tuesday September 09, 2008, 9:42 PM

Information from the National Weather Service

At 10 p.m., the center of Hurricane Ike was located near latitude 23.2 north, longitude 84.3 west, about 120 miles west of Havana, Cuba.

Ike is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two.

The above headline and first few lines are from the local newspaper website. It's 5:45AM as I type and that news is 8 hours old. As much as we'd like to say we live in a 24-hours-per-day-7-days-per-week news cycle world, do we really? This phenomenon is not restricted to local websites. I often go to bed at 11PM or so and wake up the next morning to many of the same headlines and stories at MSNBC.com that were there the night before. I thought CNN changed all of that.

Contrast the above to sports. When I was a kid, the box scores in the sports section from the baseball games on the west coast were always incomplete because the paper went to press at 8PM or 9PM local time and the games were still underway out there. Major improvement here. I can get scores, highlights, and post-game interviews of all of the late games now. ESPN did change all of that.

The thing I have trouble with here is that the games are over this morning (Giants 5 - Diamondbacks 4) and are really not that important. Hurricane Ike is still out there in the Gulf of Mexico, 8 hours further along in development and location, and news about him is important.

Quote of the Day
Matt Cassel gets to come in with one of the best teams. That's the way you make your debut in the NFL.
Phil Simms, CBS

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Brian questions Dan about the value of "free" in influencing behavior. Dan demonstrates that "free" is the Kryptonite that cripples our decision-making no matter how rational we think we are."

Around the NFL - Week 1

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There were four AFC/NFC matchups yesterday. The NFC team was the visitor in all four and won three of the four, two of them against elite AFC teams Indy and San Diego. I think the two conferences are dead even now but the NFC is moving up.

Tom Brady's injury yesterday was ugly. I don't think it was a dirty hit. You play to the whistle. Brady still had the ball when he was hit. Everyone is reporting that he is gone for the season but the Pats haven't confirmed it. They're waiting for a scheduled MRI today to make an announcement. Whether the MRI confirms what everyone suspects or not, he is going to miss significant playing time. That changes everything for the Pats, for the AFC, and for the NFL.

Did you see former Tulane and current Bears RB Matt Forté last night against the Colts? That surprised no one in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. Last year, against Number One and eventual National Champion LSU, overmatched Tulane was kept in the game for 2-½ quarters by the running of Matt Forté. The Tigers defense, loaded with NFL prospects, couldn't get him down. He can play in the NFL.

The Saints-Bucs game yesterday was a lot of fun. It was a heart pounder that could have gone either way. It was expected. The teams and coaches know each other very well. Reggie Bush can be the difference maker against the "Tampa 2" defense that everyone is playing against the Saints. If the secondary is always going to play that deep, they need to get Bush in the secondary where he can do his thing.

The CrabAppleLane fantasy football teams both have a chance to win today. I think one game is in the bag. I don't see Ryan Grant outscoring Brandon Stokley tonight by 50 points. The other game will probably be closer. I have Jay Cutler, Darren McFadden, and the Vikes defense tonight and I need to make up 19 points. If I had played Chad Pennington instead of Cutler (That was my last minute move yesterday), I would have had 18 of those 19. Last minute moves are always bad.

Hurricane news: Some New Orleans residents are getting back just in time to leave. Evacuated for Gustav and might have to do the same for Ike. Talk about tiresome.

Quote of the Day
I know it is just the first week of the season, but that was a hell of a test for us. We've got a lot of things to clean up, but I'm proud of the effort. It's a good win. It's a real good win.
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Talk about a bust, Jason Taylor had better moves on a show I am not admitting I watched this summer."

Not a solution

From Forbes:

Louisiana will hand out $20 million in generators to quickly restore power to gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores - essential services for thousands of evacuees returning after Hurricane Gustav's destruction.

This is being done at the behest of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. I like the energy and effort. They recognize a problem but I don't think they understand the cause. Food/water and gasoline are critical commodities after a hurricane. I'm not going to address pharmacies because that really hasn't been a problem for us. I have extensive experience with the other two, though.

Gasoline: First, Exxon/Shell/Chevron/etc have enough economic incentive (Gasoline sales go way up before and after a hurricane) and resources to provide their own generators. They don't need any assistance from taxpayers. To be fair, I don't think anyone in that industry is asking for it. Power isn't really the problem, anyway. Staff is a problem. Quite often, they've evacuated and haven't returned yet or are dealing with their own personal priorities after a storm such as property damage. Supply is a problem. People are buying much more gasoline after a hurricane. They're filling their tanks and usually another 15-20 gallons per customer for generators. Not only does that take longer (That's one of the reasons the lines are long), it runs the supply down faster. Another really large problem after a hurricane is gasoline stations' ability to accept credit cards. Something happens to their computers or satellite links that turns many stations into "cash only" locations. If you've seen that VISA commercial where everything grinds to a halt when someone pulls out their checkbook or wallet, that's what I'm talking about and is the other reason the lines are long. Besides, a lot of people, myself included, sometimes need to use their good credit to get them through an emergency. Better approach here.

Grocery stores: I support assistance here but I'm not sure it will alleviate the problem. The generators and fuel required to run the average supermarket's refrigeration needs, alone, would have to be a pretty substantial chunk of money. They'd have to pass that cost along to consumers and we don't need higher food prices during an emergency. Most of the problems for grocery stores are the same as for gasoline stations. Supply is a bigger problem here, though. The stores are wiped out of most of their inventory prior to the storm and have to throw most of their inventory away after the storm. They haven't yet been reimbursed for all of the spoiled food they have to throw away and they may have to pay to replace it. Some stores may not have the resources to do that all at once and that creates more supply problems. They could save a substantial portion of their inventory if someone is required to man the generators during the storm but I don't think anyone is talking about that ... and they shouldn't. Staffing is a problem here, too, and supermarkets require even more staff than gas stations. They also tend to turn themselves into "cash only" locations after a storm and that presents the same problem to citizens as it does when gasoline stations do it.

Nice try, Governor, but I doubt it provides much relief.

Quote of the Day
On the bright side, "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl" remains my favorite euphemism for making a doody.
Bill Simmons, ESPN

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Yes, yes, yes..... I've heard all about the reemergence of the New Orleans Saints and the upgrades to their defense. That said, I'll sound like every old-fashioned media curmudgeon and stick to the axiom that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. Every good football team has a solid defense behind it. Name me a Super Bowl champion that didn't have a solid defense. Well, the Bucs still have it."

Friday Fluff - September 5, 2008 Issue

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CrabAppleLane notes the retirement of Daunte Culpepper along with my friend, Dave. We think about what might have been. When the Chargers released Drew Brees with his shoulder injury, he visited the Saints. They stepped up in a big way with a serious offer and told him, "we want you to be our guy". It wasn't an easy decision. The Saints were coming off of their Katrina season, the franchise was NEVER a place free agents wanted to come to, and New Orleans was not a fun place to be in March 2006. He left New Orleans and went to Miami for a visit and the Saints fans, including this one, thought he was gone for good. The Dolphins and Nick Saban were all business, expressed concern about his injury, and offered much less than the Saints. Brees cast his lot with the Saints. The Dolphins then traded for Culpepper.

Drew dove into New Orleans, bought a house in the city, got involved in the community and the recovery, and has just been an outstanding ambassador for New Orleans. As good as he was/is off of the field, he has been even better on it. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say signing him was the best move this franchise EVER made.

None of this can be said for Daunte Culpepper. He has played his way or whined his way off of every team he's been with starting with the Vikings, the team who drafted him. He also had some incidents off of the field in Minnesota but I don't think they have much bearing now. Simply put, no one wants him. In the NFL this season, as bad and inexperienced as some of the quarterback starters and backups are, that's saying something.

Lest anyone thinks Hurricane Gustav was harmless by reading the tripe here, let me tell you about my grocery store experience last night. First, they only let in so many at a time either because they don't have the staff or they don't want fistfights amongst the customers over the last loaf of bread. After 20 minutes of standing outside in line in September heat and humidity, I was able to get in to see mostly empty shelves, almost none of the items I went there for, and signs on the checkouts that they take cash or check only. Their computers/satellites/whatever were still down and they couldn't accept credit/debit cards. I didn't see such a sign outside that would have led me to do things differently once inside. Since they didn't have the one or two main things I was there for, I just left. I went to another grocery store that was taking credit/debit cards and were letting people in without waiting but their shelves were even more empty. Bottom line on Gustav recovery: We're not there yet.

Quote of the Day
Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an unrestricted free agent that I expected. In fact, there was an overwhelming sense that there was no room for me among this year's group of quarterbacks.
Daunte Culpepper

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "For some reason the New Kids on the Block are back with a new album."

Up and running

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CrabAppleLane is back up. Gustav is now history. Thanks go to Dave for being ready and willing to help here if I needed it. If I hadn't been able to go to work yesterday, I probably would have asked for his help just to let everyone know we were OK. The concern is greatly appreciated and more than a little overwhelming.

Speaking of work, I would estimate that maybe 10% of the St Tammany businesses were open yesterday. The couple of restaurants that were open were swamped. I tried calling a few places in the New Orleans area but couldn't get in touch with anyone. The area probably won't be back to normal until the weekend. The NorthShore (St Tammany, CrabAppleLane) is about a day ahead of the SouthShore (Greater New Orleans) in their recovery mainly because more residents/employees chose not to evacuate.

Tip from CrabAppleLane, especially if you live in a rural area: ALWAYS report your utility trouble. Even if service is out to every one of your neighbors and you're certain one or more of them reported it, you still have to do it. You can't assume they did and you can't assume their problem is the same as yours.

For what it's worth, the AT&T phone menu is just a little too folksy for me. ALL phone menu systems are evil but a soft voice saying something like "Let's see what we can do about your problem" doesn't do a thing for me when I'm ramped up about something. Fortunately, I wasn't ramped up and I know the trick to get past the menu. Say "speak to a representative" into your telephone. A representative came on, told me there was a cable out in my area, that their crews were backed up, and that it might be September 18 before service is restored. I said OK even though I knew that estimate was off-the-rails ridiculous. We've been down this road before with the phone company many times. They give you an estimate far off into the future and then fix the problem almost immediately. We had phones less than an hour after I made the call.

The NFL season is upon us. The Giants/Redskins game tonight ought to be fun. Despite their personnel losses on defense, I think the Giants have a playoff team. The Giants are my pick tonight. The Saints are still practicing in Indianapolis. There is no telling what their state of mind will be when they get back for the opener in the SuperDome Sunday. They won't be as jazzed as they were for their return to the Dome after Katrina but I surely hope they have something in the tank. The Bucs have a solid team and they'll be ready.

I agree with David Fleming on today's QOTD. It is a solid gold catchphrase. Surely good for a morning laugh. Right up there with "out kicked your coverage".

Quote of the Day
I gots the poops
David Fleming, ESPN

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "The Giants could go 16-0 or 0-16 and soon we will know what direction this team appears to be headed."

Gotta love a fan that can thinks his team can do either one of those ... and might be able to tell which after one game. -Rob

Interesting article

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It's called Next Time, We Won't Leave by James O'Byrne of the Times-Picayune. I ran across this at Charlotte's.

That is the cycle. A lot of people evacuated for Ivan. He was a dud in most of Louisiana. Fewer people left for Katrina because of it. A lot of people evacuated for Gustav. I wouldn't call him a dud but he was no Katrina.

The writer makes a lot of good points and I agree with him on most of it. Here's the thing: What he's doing by publishing that piece is every bit as dangerous as what he accuses public officials of. He's influencing the public into making a potentially unwise decision.

The rhetoric coming out of the media and officials was alarming just 24 hours prior to landfall. The gulf coast needs someone to be the face of hurricane season. He/she needs to have the demeanor of an airline pilot. Just state the facts as you know them.

Gustav Blogging - Wednesday 8:20AM

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Just a quick note to let everyone know CrabAppleLane is fine. Lost power just long enough (Maybe 5 seconds) to reset some of the clocks. That was during the storm. We lost our land line telephone service and the DSL just after my last post here. It was still down when I left for work this morning. We had a little wind at CrabAppleLane and a lot of rain. Posting will be haphazard until phone/DSL service is restored.

Gustav Blogging - Monday 1:30PM

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CrabAppleLane during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008
CrabAppleLane during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008

CrabAppleLane during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008
CrabAppleLane during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008

CrabAppleLane after Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005
CrabAppleLane after Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005

Gustav is causing no real problems yet at CrabAppleLane. I'll have some chainsaw duty as that first image shows. Thought the other two showed an interesting comparison. Still relatively calm here.

Gustav Blogging - Monday 11:35AM

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CrabAppleLane Cardinals during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008
CrabAppleLane Cardinals during Hurricane Gustav - September 1, 2008

Had one brief power failure so far. Duration of about 10 seconds.

Gustav Blogging - Monday 10:09AM

CrabAppleLane Backyard - September 1, 2008
CrabAppleLane Backyard - September 1, 2008

So far, so good. No loss of power or communication. Some flickers only. I was very concerned about our water tank being exposed like you see here. Just before I snapped this picture, Gustav broke a pine branch above it. Hoping it will stay, fall straight down, or get blown completely away from anything. Have talked to my sister and Patsy's sister in the last few minutes. They're both south of I-12 in the mandatory evacuation areas and are doing fine.

Gustav blogging - Monday 8:52AM

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CrabAppleLane Power Line - September 1, 2008 8:40AM
CrabAppleLane Power Line - September 1, 2008 8:40AM

First image. Sorry it's not very dramatic. Gustav is approaching. The winds have picked up and the rain is coming down in sheets. That pine branch pictured above survived Katrina but it has grown out another 5 or 6 feet since then. That's the power line and the internet cable pictured below it. I don't have cable internet any more so I don't care about it but I am concerned about the power line. That branch is too high for me to trim back but I should have had that taken care of. I will if it survives Gustav.

Gustav Blogging - Monday 8:11Am

Still raining here with just a few wind gusts. Got in a shower. Patsy just headed upstairs to do the same. The lights have flickered a few times but, so far, no outages. Local TV is showing St Bernard right now. Gustav is coming ashore and they're feeling it. He'll be here in a couple of hours. Hopefully, he'll have weakened substantially by then.

Filled the hummingbird feeder that's going to stay out and made a new batch of nectar. They'll be hungry after the storm.

One good thing about this storm is it will blow all of the love bugs around.

Going to go out and take some pictures in a few minutes.

Still relatively calm here.

Gustav Blogging - Monday 6:21AM

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OK, here we are. It's Monday morning and we have a date with Gustav in a few hours. We're experiencing rain and light wind right now. The news is on in the other room but I have the volume down because Patsy is still sleeping. Not exactly sure when Gustav will arrive here but I'm thinking noon. We'll be as ready as we ever are.

I'd like to say a little something about the politics of Hurricane Gustav and the inevitable comparisons to Hurricane Katrina. It is all over the net right now and it's already tiresome to me. If Gustav goes well (Minor damage and a great response), people will get credit for it and I'm not going to begrudge them said credit. Let's not harp on it too much, though. The lion's share of the credit should go to Katrina, herself. That nasty hurricane and her aftermath put on worldwide display a spectacular failure of leadership across the board. Today's leadership has the benefit of that painful lesson and the fear of having a Katrina-like event on their resumé. 2005's leadership didn't have those benefits. The readiness on display now is a direct result of Katrina.

3 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
"I've been through Betsy, Flossie. Katrina was the worst storm, but it was the politicians that screwed that one up.
Joseph Bijou

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I've learned a new term here in New Orleans -- "contraflow" That means all the major interstates will reverse direction and become "outbound" interstates. Contraflow goes into effect Sunday morning at 4am -- they're serious -- they don't want ANYONE coming INTO the city. Traffic is gridlocked!"

Gustav Blogging - Sunday 10:05PM

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The news has been less dire, almost encouraging, about Gustav the last few hours. Still expecting a rough ride. Hoping to get a decent night's sleep although I doubt that's going to happen. I'm glad he's coming ashore tomorrow during the day. I like being able to see what's going on.

We had one minor blow a couple of hours ago. Just some wind and rain from one of the feeder bands.

Hope I can get in a shower before the power goes out tomorrow.

Still fairly calm here.

Gustav Blogging - Sunday 7:22PM

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Still waiting for Gustav. He's expected here at CrabAppleLane tomorrow afternoon. Most of the news today about his condition, which I've tried not to get too excited about one way or the other, has been positive. He's moving a little faster and he hasn't significantly intensified.

We'll pull the bird seed feeders and one of the nectar feeders in tomorrow as the wind picks up. I'll fill and leave one nectar feeder out during the hurricane. We had hummingbirds throughout Katrina and I plan to make the same deal with them this time: The feeder stays up unless it becomes a hazard.

The camera battery is charged and I'll take pictures tomorrow whenever I'm not doing something else. No telling when I'll be able to post them. Our internet is with AT&T now, not Charter Cable. It's mostly underground and I might be up sooner this time.

Sooner or later, we'll have to find some quiet time to relax. Turn off the news and maybe watch a movie. Staying busy getting prepared doesn't relieve the anxiety.

Gustav Blogging - Sunday 4:20PM

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Pulled the last of the outside things inside. We'll leave bird feeders out as long as we can. The birds are all over the seed feeders right now and the hummingbirds are swarming theirs. They sense something is up as do our cats. Our cats may be picking it up from us, though.

Started the generator. Took a few pulls as was expected after having it sit idle for three years. No problem, though. I'll change the oil after the first tank.

Still pretty calm here.

Gustav Blogging - Sunday 1:15PM

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We've got a few things left to do at CrabAppleLane and then the waiting starts. Was able to fill my tank and four additional 5-gallon containers in Covington after I drove to Bush first. Bush was entirely out of gas. When I reached Covington, I saw a tanker in the Shell station filling it up. I figured I'd wait even if it took 20-30 minutes. That's about how long it took and $3.71 per gallon is a better price than I had hoped for.

We have a generator that will run the refrigerator and freezer and maybe a fan and the TV/radio but it won't run the water pump. I plan to go start it up and maybe change the oil in a few minutes for the first time since Katrina. The smell of gasoline is coming back.

Gustav Blogging - Sunday 10:06AM

We've decided to ride it out here at CrabAppleLane. There are no good choices to be made. My sister offered us a hotel room in Niceville, FL, but we can't figure any route to get there that wouldn't have us on the road for at least 12 hours. Contraflow and road closures will make travel unbearable for us. Another sister headed to Atlanta yesterday but could only get as far as Mississippi.

We're expecting 90-100mph winds blowing from southeast to northwest. We think the house will keep us safe in this type of storm.

Gustav Blogging on a CrabAppleLane Sunday

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Woke up this morning and there is no change in our situation. Damn. We're still pondering what to do here. CrabAppleLane is under a voluntary evacuation order this morning ... as we were for Katrina. The rhetoric from public officials and the media is even more alarming this time than it was then.

Stay or leave? Not an easy decision to leave. We've never left. Not for Betsy. Not for Camille. Not for Katrina. Seems like a no-brainer to those a thousand miles away. Get to safety and deal with whatever happens when you get back. Better safe than sorry. Well, they're not mutually exclusive. During Katrina, we were able to deal with things during and after the storm that would have been disastrous and expensive had we left and not been able to come back for a few weeks. That was what happened for Katrina. Leaking windows was a minor inconvenience that we dealt with but it would have meant mold, a remediation team, a major expense and the insurance fight that goes with it, and upheaval of our lives had we not been here. That said, we have considered and are considering evacuation for the first time ever.

I offer two on this CrabAppleLane Sunday.

Gustav Watch - August 31, 2008
Gustav Watch - August 31, 2008 - These trees on the west side of the house are the tallest ones near us. They're not tall enough to crash through the roof. The worst they could do is fall and lean on the house. Katrina blew the trees south and east. We're expecting Gustav to blow them north and west. That 18" DirecTV dish survived Katrina intact and perfectly aligned. Neither pictured antenna are in use any more.

Gustav Watch - August 31, 2008
Gustav Watch - August 31, 2008 - Not expecting traffic to be pleasant in any direction but we'll head north if we decide to evacuate

4 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
They didn't play like Michigan. They played like LSU.
Jerry Moore, Appalachian State coach

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "But all hurricanes are different. Their winds blow uniquely, they move massive amounts of water to places that normally are dry. There is no guarantee that what survived Katrina will survive Gustav."

Gustav Blogging

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Mayor Nagin just ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans calling Gustav the "mother of all storms". Probably meant "father". New Orleans is in danger of Gustav's winds, accompanying tornadoes, storm surges, and flooding if the newly-repaired levees don't hold.

CrabAppleLane is about 50 miles almost due north of New Orleans as the crow flies. We're north of Lake Pontchartrain and above sea level. The high winds and tornadoes are my main concerns. Flooding is not a concern. We were very fortunate for Katrina. She did minimal damage to CrabAppleLane. It had nothing whatever to do with good preparation, though. It was luck. Some people around here that were much better prepared had extensive property damage.

The eye of Katrina passed about 30 miles east of CrabAppleLane. The winds started here at about 6:15AM. She gusted and howled for about 10 hours straight. She was nasty. Gustav is heading about 100 miles west of CrabAppleLane at present. We'll be farther away if he holds his present course but we'll be on his worst side. If he maintains his present course and intensity, we're expecting a rough ride here.

I'll be posting as time, inspiration, and ability permit. Dave has graciously volunteered to post updates if I can't. That's assuming I'll be able to get updates to him. Communication after Katrina was awful. Hopefully, that problem has been resolved in the last three years. It's going to get a big test in a couple of days.

It's pretty calm here at the moment.

Saturday music

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Wish there was a better version of that Drive-By Truckers song. The studio version is just fantastic. I offer a little CrabAppleLane musical progression this morning as Gustav approaches. I needed something to cheer me up this morning as I prepare to go into work. Enjoy.

Alison Krauss & Union Station -> Drive-By Truckers -> Gillian Welch & David Rawlings -> Old Crow Medicine Show -> Tracktor Beam

The fantastic song below inspired this comment from someone on YouTube:

god his voice is heavenly....omg i would so trap him in my closet and make him sing for food.

Tracktor Beam - High Dice Blues

It is wonderful to see this kind of music in such young hands.

5 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
If I ever get my hands on
A dollar again
I'm going to hold on to it
As my only friend
Tracktor Beam, High Dice Blues

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "And so it came to pass, that the bands of European bluegrass did converge on the French town of La Roche-sur-Foron, where they entertained the populace for three nights and three days. And the Lord looked down and saw that the people were pleased. And so he was pleased. So much so that he sent the best sunshine one could wish for."

Anniversary

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Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That event has dominated the lives of everyone in southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi for 3 years. It's been a very tough three years for most.

Encouraged by Deuce McAllister's running last night. He looks like he's fully recovered from knee surgery. Anxious to see what the Saints offense will do when they put all of their starters on the field. Jeremy Shockey did not play a down in preseason. Marques Colston only played sparingly. Deuce and Reggie Bush were never on the field at the same time. The Bucs, with Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway, are up next.

It seems obvious to me that they should just swap the games next Sunday if the need arises because of Gustav. Play the September 7 game in Tampa and the November 30 game in New Orleans. A repeat of the 2005 season would be a disaster for the team and the city. No home games outside of New Orleans, except that one in London in a couple of months.

6 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
But let's hope for the best.
A good week of practice in Indy.
A quick recovery from Gustav.
A big win over the Bucs.
With David coming up with a game-winning interception.
Pete Finney, Times Picayune

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I'm not sure what's worse though: the ear-hair or the fact that it has split-ends."

Katrina & Gustav

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I was doing this three years ago. Some of those satellite images of Katrina still hold some power here. She was a monster. I've read this entry at least a hundred times over the last three years. The many thoughtful comments are still a bit overwhelming.

If things are like that again, I just don't know what we'll do. I'm fairly confident we'll survive the storm. It's the aftermath I'm worried about. Potential property damage (We were very fortunate during Katrina), limited supplies, soaring prices, long lines, unbearable traffic, crushing anxiety, and depression are my biggest concerns.

I've joined a Gustav-related FlickR group. I'll be taking pictures during and after the storm like I did with Katrina. Hopefully, better ones or better yet, none at all.

I'll watch a few minutes of the Saints/Dolphins game tonight but not much more than that. Most of the guys playing tonight will be doing something else next week.

7 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
The threat of Gustav has residents questioning how safe they will be if they stay, and if their property will be protected if they evacuate.
Susan Edwards, WWL Eyewitness News

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Hurricane Gustav rapidly intensified into a hurricane on 26 August 2008 (less than 24 hours after the first advisory was issued). As noted by the National Hurricane Center's Gustav discussion number 6"

Gustav on my mind

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CrabAppleLane turns their eyes to Gustav. The local paper is advising us to clean out out freezers tonight. The Coalition is ahead of us in preparation. They always are. I think tree hugging sister lives for this stuff. Just die already, Gustav.

8 days until football season ...

Quote of the Day
She's a lot more well known than anyone from the Seattle -- sorry, we forget what the Seattle pro football team is called. Who's the coach again?
Greg Easterbrook, ESPN

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "My interpretation (or is the more appropriate word analysis? Hee!) is that it is an e-mail from a faraway person. Who wishes me health but cannot get up out of his/her seat."

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