Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gas Prices

While out driving last night, I noticed that gas prices had jumped dramatically in town, but prices were still at pre-Rita levels in the outlying areas. I made a mental note to gas up before going home for the night.

After thinking about gas prices, I noticed all the oversize vehicles (SUVs, vans, and large pickup trucks) driving around me, and I imagined what they had to pay every time they filled up. Idly, I decided to perform an informal survey, by randomly counting ten vehicles and comparing the ratio of oversize vehicles to cars. I did this several times in different parts of town. Each time, the count was nearly identical: in my town, seven out of ten vehicles are oversize vehicles.

I wonder if that ratio will be the same this time next year?

I personally know people who have unloaded their behemoths in favor of smaller vehicles, and others who are seeking to. The local car dealerships are all offering big sales on such vehicles, desperately trying to get rid of them in any way possible.

Personally, I'd rather see the gas prices go down and these people get to keep their tanks, but somehow, I don't think it will work out that way.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

102 Minutes : The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

102 Minutes : The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

Jim Dwyer, Kevin Flynn

Date: 12 January, 2005 — $17.16 — Book

product page


Review of 102 Minutes : The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

I read this book on the recommendation of Crazy Dave, after reading the review on his site.

Though the writing style was awkward and forced at certain points, it was a good account overall of what went on inside the towers during the 102 minutes from the time the first plane hit until the second tower collapsed.

As I read, I was struck at the parallels between this and the Titanic disaster. As with the Titanic, the towers were not built as sturdily as they could have been, nor did they have sufficient safety precautions , though both exceeded the insufficient regulations in place at the time of their constructions.

The book focused on the experiences of several individuals, showing how seemingly minor decisions at the time made the difference between life and death. Though in no way impugning the heroism of those involved, the book also illustrates how a lack of clear communications between the various rescue groups hampered evacuation efforts.

I predict that this book will become a classic in the literature about this disaster, just as Walter Lord's 1955 book, A Night to Remember, is a classic among books about the sinking of the Titanic.

Highly recommended.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Stinking Disruption

During the last half of 1978, I held a temporary job in the local public library, a job that was reserved for college students. The official job title was "Library Aide", which meant I spent most of my time shelving and rearranging out of order books. As this was a small library in a small town, I also spent a good bit of time checking books in and out.

For the entire six months I worked there, a man came into the library nearly every day to sit and read for a few hours. In that length of time, he never once changed his clothes or took a bath.

He'd sit there on the vinyl library couch, raking one grimy hand through his greasy hair while he read. His hair was so dirty that it stood up from all the grease and debris in it. His clothes were stained grey and black,with a black ringe of grime where his collar met his skin. He wore shoes without socks, and there was a corresponding dirt ring there where shoe leather met foot.

He exuded a stench so powerful that it would put a skunk to shame and could be smelled from 30 feet away. We had a librarian working there who many times had to go home sick, as his aroma would frequently cause her to vomit. Likewise, many library patrons would leave the library as soon as he'd appear.

As soon as he left each day, we'd break out the Lysol, along with a cleaning rag, and disinfect the area where he'd been sitting. A liberal dose of Lysol would be sprayed all over the library to kill the stench, which always took a good while to completely fade away.

Not understanding why the library director would allow such a disruptive situation to go on, I once asked her why she didn't simply ban him from the library unless he cleaned up. She told me that as much as she'd like to do that, she couldn't because it was a public place. Because he wasn't bothering anyone, except with his powerful aroma, her hands were tied.

And he didn't. Apart from his appalling lack of hygiene, he was a model patron, quietly selecting books, then reading in silence. I'm not sure if he was homeless, as he'd arrive in an early sixties vintage station wagon that was as dirty as he was, piled from floorboard to roof with all sorts of detritus.

I was 20 when I worked there and this man appeared to be in his mid to late 30s. I've always wondered just what was wrong with him and what happened to him after I left the library's employ.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Loss of Eloquence

While chatting in IM yesterday, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 came up in conversation. Like most people have done since shortly after this incident, she referred to it simply as “9/11”.

Though I’m sure that most people don’t mean it this way, to reduce an incident of such gravity to merely a date is to subtly trivialize what happened. It also stigmatizes the ordinary day of September 11th itself, a day which many people were born, were married, gave birth, and so on.

What happened on that day needs to be referred to more respectfully and not reduced to a convenient sound bite. After all, we don’t refer to the bombing of Pearl Harbor as “12/7”!

It was a “date that will live in infamy”. The eloquence of Franklin Roosevelt’s words still give me shivers when I hear a recording of his speech, and I wasn’t even born when it happened.

Likewise, sixty five years removed from the events, I feel the courage and determination of the British people to fight Hitler whenever I read Churchill’s words: “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.”

And though I was a child when these words were first spoken, I still get a chill when I hear a recording of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

I realized that I’ve digressed from the focus of the first few paragraphs, but my main point is that some events in history are important enough to be given their full measure and not be reduced to superficial buzz words.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bias in Advertising

It has been said that advertising reflects reality. But, in many ways, it also serves to shape it, to manipulate expectations.

For instance, most ads for food products that kids like are directed toward mothers. A few years ago, a cereal ad had the slogan, "Kid tested, mother approved". More recently, I heard an ad, "Kid delicious, mom nutritious".

These ads reflect the reality that, in most families, mothers are mainly or solely responsible for supervising the eating habits of children. But more to the point, these ads subtly bombard people with ideas of how things should be.

After seeing such ads, one would think that fathers don't care what their children eat; it would be OK with them if their kids licked the dust from the floor and drank water out of the toilet.

The "Inept Dad" theme has also been done in advertising, which only serves to bolster the "Mom as responsible" idea. As an example, there was this one cold medication ad that showed Mom coming down stairs after several days in bed with a cold. She found Dad and the kids looking guilty in a room that looked like a tornado just swept through. In other words, home life goes to hell in a handbasket when Mom isn't there to supervise.

As one who raised a child alone and as one who was raised for part of his childhood by a single father, these ads kind of irritate me. How hard would it have been to make the ad slogans say, "Kid tested, parent approved" or "Kid delicious, parent nutritious"? Or shown a few bumbling MOMS?

But I have to admit, there's a Hardee's ad that fits me to a T. It shows a guy who's obviously a bachelor, with unkempt hair, unshaved, wearing only a shirt, underwear and socks, clumsily mopping up coffee from a coffee maker that boiled over. There's coffee all over the counter, running onto the floor, and he's dragging his sleeve through it as he tries to clean it up, half asleep.

Yeah, that would be me, all right.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Scraps

The next time you castigate someone for being lazy, consider this:

Lazy people are no doubt the inspiration behind most of the labor saving devices we have today, as the driving force behind labor saving devices is to find easier ways of doing things.

So, the next time you load your dishes in a dishwasher, sit on your riding lawn mower, throw your clothes in the washer, use a simpler computer program, and so on, thank the lazy people of the world.

I have a confession to make.

Back in college, I stole a book from the library. Even in the late 70s, that college had an electronic system, where one could not take a book off the premises without checking it out, as an alarm would sound at the door if you tried.

But I got the book without checking it out.

How? I happened to know a guy who was the janitor there, so I told him the book's title and location and he grabbed it at night when the alarm system was turned off.

Why did I do this? It was a book I'd previously checked out and I'd been so pleased with it that I wanted my own copy. However, it was the type of book one would not find in a bookstore. I tried to get the library to order another copy that I'd buy from them, but they refused to do that.

So, a few months later when I made the acquaintance of the janitor, I asked him to do this. Because the book hadn't been checked out, who knows how long it was before the library people knew it was missing, and when they did, they probably just thought it had been misplaced somewhere within the library.

I still have the book, by the way.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Another Dilemma

Yesterday I wrote about an ethical dilemma. Today, I'll write about another incident, that illustrates the difference between black and white thinking and thinking in shades of grey.

One man approached a problem adhering to the letter of the law. The other man, adapting to the particular needs of the situation at hand, attacked the same problem with the spirit of the law.

In April of 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It soon became apparent that the ship was going to sink in a short period of time and would have to be quickly evacuated.

Captain Smith assigned two of his senior officers, First Officer Murdoch and Second Officer Lightoller to supervise the loading of the lifeboats, each taking a different side of the ship. Before releasing the men to carry out their tasks, he reminded them "Women and children first."

Murdoch took Smith's words at face value. He loaded women and children first, but added men if he did not see any more women and children nearby waiting to board. Realizing that time was of the essence, he knew he didn't have the time to go hunting down more women to fill the boats with. Filling and safely lowering the boats as quickly as possible was his first priority.

Lightoller interpreted Smith's command as meaning "Women and children ONLY". Like Murdoch, he filled his boats with women and children waiting to board. Unlike the First Officer, however, if there were no more women waiting to board a particular boat, he sent it down to the water not completely occupied, rather than allowing any men to board.

One man from Second Class was traveling under an assumed name with his two toddler sons, having kidnapped them from his estranged wife. He approached a lifeboat on Lightoller's side, waiting to board with his children. Lightoller wouldn't allow him to get in the boat, telling him it was women and children first (only).

But as far as anyone on the Titanic knew, he was all the little boys had in the world and if not allowed to board, the children would become orphans. Lightoller was adamant, however: rules were rules, no exceptions.

The man perished in the sinking and his toddler sons were taken to New York, with no one knowing their real name, where they were from, and that their mother was alive. A woman who'd survived the sinking took both boys home with her, prepared to adopt them and give them a new life.

Meanwhile, the boys' mother in Paris happened to see a photo of them in the newspaper with the caption "Titanic Orphans". She was soon reunited with her sons, but if she'd not happened to have seen that photo, no one would have ever known who they really were.

Though there was a happy ending for these children, I can't help but think of how differently things would have turned out if their father had indeed been a widower. By following the letter of the law, Lightoller would have needlessly made these boys orphans.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ethical Question

When I was in college, I heard a story that illustrated just how tenacious and potentially maladaptive our sacred cow of monogamy can be.

I’m not sure if the following story is true, but it is something that could have happened and was presented in a class as an ethical exercise: “What would you do in this instance”.

During World War II, as well as imprisoning various categories of people in concentration camps, the Nazis also held many people from the countries they conquered in forced labor camps. The conditions in such work camps were better than in the concentration camps, but just barely. Many people died in such camps from overwork, combined with insufficient nutrition, rest, and shelter.

There was one such camp in Poland for women where the death toll was alarmingly high. The only way a woman could leave this camp alive, save liberation by Allied forces, was to be pregnant.

At this camp, one of the guards, a middle-aged man, was distressed by what he witnessed. Knowing there was nothing he could do on a large level, he decided to do what he could on a small level, which was to get as many of these women pregnant as possible. He was a married man and discussed this plan with his wife, who agreed that desperate times called for desperate measures.

His plan was successful, and many women survived that probably would not have otherwise.

Though I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was amazed that when asked what they would do if they’d been that guard, many said that he’d done wrong and that he should have remained faithful to his wife, no matter what. They believed that remaining true to the ideal of monogamy was more important than saving several lives, which just goes to show how inflexible and irrational our societal sacred cows can be.

What would YOU have done if you’d been the guard?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Email Snippets, Part II

Here's a few more snippets of two emails exchanged with the same person. Her words are in purple and are italicized, my responses in normal black text.

Email one:

What's your opinion of a wedding ring ? Granted, I understand that with some jobs, it's a safety issue to not wear one.

I don't have anything against jewelry, per se, as I tend to enjoy wearing a bit of it myself.

That being said, I'm not particularly impressed with the symbolism of people wearing them like brands to show others that they're "taken" and to back off. No one owns me and I'll not be "marked" in any way that indicates "ownership".

Ever notice, when women get an engagement ring they are showing it to everyone ? When they're newly married they are showing off the wedding ring. Seldom see a newly engaged/married man walking up to a group and thrusting his hand out to show off his ring !

I've always thought that was a lopsided thing. Why shouldn't men have a nice piece of jewelry to seal the deal?

Actually, during my brief misadventure into marriage, I had what passed for an engagement ring. She gave me a nugget ring with a single diamond, which I did wear with a wedding ring during the short marriage. After it broke up, I pawned the band, and kept the diamond ring and wore it on my other hand....which I ended up hocking years later during a time when I was strapped for cash.

But getting back to your question, the general practice of only women having engagement rings goes back to an older practice of only women wearing wedding rings as well. Up until around WWII or so, usually only the woman wore a wedding ring. When men started wearing them too, they were referred to as "double ring" ceremonies, as this was something new.

And THAT is related to the reasons why women are more heavily looked down upon and sanctioned for committing adultery, where traditionally, men had/have more leeway -- the "boys will be boys" defense. Traditionally, women are expected to be monogamous both socially and biologically, but men have been largely expected only to be socially monogamous. (as long as he's "discreet"). Women traditionally wore a ring to identify themselves as the "property" of one man, where wearing a ring would have been irrelevant and superfluous for a man.

Monogamy was, at the core, more beneficial to men and was instituted to protect the interests of men by controlling the sexuality of women. It was not the predominant system from the beginning to time, as many people assume, and it came into being for strictly practical reasons, with religion only later endorsing it to give it the "force of law".

When ancient people settled down into towns and agriculture began, private property and inheritance came into being. A woman always knows which children are hers, so monogamy isn't a big a deal for her in regards to these concerns. But a man doesn't know for sure which children are his unless he controls the sexuality of women. Hence, the prime base motive for monogamy.

It was all about MONEY, not anything intrinsically sacred. Of course, to bolster a system that goes against people's basic biological natures, lots of myths and rationales grew up around monogamy over the centuries, until it became a bedrock part of our society, a sacred cow.

One guy I work with wore a band on his left hand as an engagement ring. Thought it was rather nice, that he was showing the same level of commitment - wearing a ring since she was wearing a ring.

Yes, you're right. As the idea of the double wedding ring ceremony reached critical mass in the Domestic 50s, the engagement ring for men idea might similarly take hold.

Email two, where she comments on things I said here and I expand upon my original comments. This segment starts off with one of my comments from the last email, her response, and my second response

And THAT is related to the reasons why women are more heavily looked down upon and sanctioned for committing adultery, where traditionally, men had/have more leeway -- the "boys will be boys" defense. Traditionally, women are expected to be monogamous both socially and biologically, but men have been largely expected only to be socially monogamous. (as long as he's "discreet").
If she's expected to remain monogamous, then the same should apply to him. I don't think that one sex should be held to a higher standard of behavior than the other.

Oh, I don't think so, either, but I was describing how certain things came to be and the rationale, however invalid.

But I go the other way and say that neither sex is naturally monogamous....and I've read some anthropological works that back me up. So, that begs the that the original reasons for monogamy are moot and that it's been proven that humans aren't naturally monogamous, then why continue to legislate monogamous marriage as the only valid form for EVERYONE?

"That's the way we've always done it" just doesn't cut it for me.

And with the upsurge of divorce, it's easy to blame people for not taking their commitments seriously. But marriage is for the benefit of people, not the other way around.

Monogamous marriage was designed for the needs of a society that no longer exists and does not address the needs of people today. Marriage has failed people, not the other way around.

For marriage in some form to survive, it must be a living and growing thing, adapting to people's needs as society changes, instead of being a static thing set in stone.

Rules than cannot bend will break.

What does social monogamy get us ? People living behind a facade ? Sanctimonious hypocrites who preach monogamy but then don't practice it, and look down at others who are openly non monogamous ? It seems to me that just spreads the idea of saying one thing and doing another, "as long as you aren't caught".

Oh, I don't disagree. But I guess another way to express social monogamy would be those in open marriages and "swingers". They are legally monogamous and only refer to their spouse as husband/wife, but in the realm of the bedroom, things are different.

And "social" also refers to what the community recognizes. It also recognizes that monogamy is a multi faceted thing that doesn't always refer solely to one's sex life, whereas, biological monogamy is limited strictly to the sexual aspect.

To be technical, "monogamy" merely refers to the practice of being married to one person at a time. In the strictest sense, it doesn't really refer how many people one has sex with, though that assumption is generally made in our society.

"mono" - one
"gamy" - marriage

In other words, "married to one".

Damn, I sure got cranked up on that one, didn't I?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Looking Back

It doesn't seem as if four years have passed since the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

I was at work when it happened, and got the news of the first attack when I went on my first break at 9:15. One of the guys who sat at my table came in and told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, that it was a deliberate attack. At first, I didn't believe him, as he was given to exaggeration. I remembered hearing about a plane that had crashed into the Empire State Building in heavy fog during World War II, and reasoned that this had been a similar kind of accident.

Not overly concerned, I returned to work fifteen minutes later. But as the morning wore on, people in the plant were getting bits of information funneled in from the guys in the warehouse, who were listening to reports on the radio.

When I heard of the second plane hitting the other tower, I realized then that it hadn't been an accident, and that it had to have been terrorists from the Middle East.

I finally realized the full magnitude when I heard that the towers had collapsed. I'd visited the World Trade Center in 1976 and had seen the view from its roof. I knew from having seen and been inside one of the towers just how large they were and that it had to be a very carefully planned strike in order to make the buildings collapse as they did. I was amazed that the collapse didn't bring down other nearby buildings with them.

The twin towers had dominated the New York skyline since my early teen years, easily visible fifty miles out on the Jersey Turnpike. I could only imagine what drivers on the Turnpike witnessed and felt as the buildings came down.

As more detailed reports came in, telling us of attacks in Washington and Pennsylvania, I kept expecting the plant management to send us all home. I remembered when my father was sent home from work and my sister from school when John F Kennedy was assassinated, and fully expected the same thing to happen in response to this tragedy.

Not only did they not send us home, there was never any official announcement from them telling us what had happened. If the men in the warehouse had not had a radio, none of us would have known of it until 5:30 that afternoon. Then, as now, their only concern was making money, no matter what. It could have been the second coming of Jesus Christ, but they'd have had us there busily meeting our shipment quotas.

Where were you and what were you doing on September 11, 2001?

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Libertine's Ten Commandments

I found a writing prompt site that suggested that one write their own set of commandments. So, with no further ado, are Libertine's Ten Commandments:

  1. Treat others as you would wish to be treated
  2. If it harms none, do what you will.
  3. Love often and much.
  4. Find pleasure however you experience it, often and much
  5. To thine own self be true.
  6. Work to live, don’t live to work
  7. Take time to smell the roses
  8. Learn something new each day
  9. Put people before money and possessions
  10. Be kind to animals
I'd be curious to see what my readers come up with for their own personal set of commandments.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Snippets From An Email

In a recent email, I was discussing my aversion to the words "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" being used to refer to one's partner in adult romantic relationships.

What follows is a section of that email, starting with the original subject, followed by how it digressed, but is mostly under the umbrella topic of "language and relationships" Her words are in blue, with my responses in purple:

Vocabulary wise - yes "girlfriend/boyfriend" just doesn't do it for adults. Rather interesting that there is no terminology for adult relationships, other than those relating to marriage: spouse, husband, wife, fiance', etc.

It is probably related to several factors. One, people live longer now and they no longer tend to get married and stay married as soon as they reach 18 or so. Society hasn't coined new words that have been largely accepted in order to keep up with new realities.

Oh, there are some words, to be sure, but they're not widely used and haven't reached critical mass.

One word used fairly often is "partner", but it's used mainly by gay people and most people think of gay relationships when they hear it. For this reason, it's a word unlikely to be used by any significant number of heterosexuals. Also, "partner" sounds too businesslike to many people, which doesn't help it any.

Another word that hasn't kept pace with current reality is "premarital sex". "Premarital" means "before marriage", thus "premarital sex" assumes that marriage will eventually happen. A better word, which I use is "NON-marital sex", which removes the expectation of marriage from sex. But you still hear people saying "premarital sex" when they know perfectly well the relationship will not end in marriage. But to continue to use this expression subtly suggests that marriage SHOULD happen.

It's like the word "maiden name" anachronism if I ever heard one. I've even heard women who have kept their own names after marriage say that they've kept their "maiden name". If she's kept her own name, she's not adopted her husband's last name, thus she does not HAVE a so-called "married name" that must be distinguished from one's "maiden name". To refer to one's own name that one still uses as a "maiden name" assumes that she has that "married name" anyway, whether she uses it or not.

No lifelong single woman refers to her surname as her "maiden name". So, a married woman who doesn't change her name should not do so, either. She could merely say she's kept her OWN name.

And even for a woman who changes her name, isn't there something rather ludicrous about a fifty year old first time bride referring to the surname she used for fifty years as a "maiden" name? A "maiden" is a young girl....a word rarely, if ever, used in that context any more. "Maiden name" assumes that all women marry at a young age....or that they should. In this instance, should could refer to it as her "birth name" or "family name".

Reflection of society itself - that being single is unacceptable unless it has some religious connotation ?

Yes, exactly. But at least you don't hear the word "unmarried" so much anymore.....the "un" giving a faintly negative connotation, a deviation from standard. Blacks get this idea....they've objected to being referred to as "non-white" in government statistics, because this makes whiteness standard.

But even the word "single" has problems. To most people, "single" means being alone and unattached. There's nothing wrong with being alone and unattached, but just because a person is not legally married, doesn't mean they are necessarily alone without a relationship or relationships.

I've taken to referring to people as "unattached" and "partnered", which I think is more descriptive and also nonjudgmental.

And, as a joke, when I've been asked if I'm "single", I ask, "Are you double?"

It is interesting - because another cousin is "involved" with a woman - and no one refers to her by anything other than her first name.

That's a good solution.

I don't know if that's because she's older than him, people don't "approve" of her, or because they aren't sure what to call her. I think they've been living together something like 10 years - am not sure. I don't think he "defined" her when he first started bringing her to family gatherings, either

Maybe she doesn't NEED a label.

She was just introduced by name. We had a conversation several years ago, and I asked him if they were going to get married. He told me he would marry her before he died so she would be "taken care of". Seems like a pretty shitty reason for getting married, to me. What's the point ? He can make a will and leave everything to her - why bother with "getting married" ?!

I see both your point and his. It's unfortunate that what he wants to do for her should be made easier by a legal marriage. This is another idea I have -- to unlink all the legal benefits that come automatically by marriage and make them available to people in other sorts of relationships -- and not all of them involving romance or sex -- without having to go through complicated legal proceedings.

For instance, when a couple marries, one is immediately entitled to place their spouse on their health insurance plan. But why shouldn't a grandparent be able to put a grandchild on their insurance or two siblings share a plan?

I can assure you that none of my women refer to me as a "boyfriend". I'm 47 years old, dammit.(My comments from a previous email).

Hee, hee, hee. ROTFLMAO !! No, I don't think anyone would refer to you as a "boyfriend" - it seems too tame. Could just picture your outrage - and you setting her straight - if not kicking her to the curb for using the term !

Being referred to as a "lover" is sufficient for me.

Hmm, I seems I think about a lot of things that the less introspective among us never even consider to question...

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Random Thoughts About the Hurricane

Though fall weather has yet to arrive and it won't be officially autumn for a few more weeks, it's September, and I decided to change the banner. I'm ready to put summer behind me.

Like most of you, I've been reading the news reports about Hurricane Katrina. The amount of devastation, and the lack of adequate emergency preparedness for such a disaster is just staggering to me.

I couldn't help but think of the Netherlands, a country where much of their land is below sea level. They've been fighting the encroachment of the sea for centuries, and I'm hoping that when New Orleans is rebuilt, that those involved will call upon the Dutch for their expertise in creating better defenses and protections from the weather for their city.

As I read accounts of people's ordeals during this storm, I was immediately reminded of similar stories I'd heard and read about another hurricane: Hurricane Carol, which hit New England 51 years ago yesterday. That day was my brother's ninth birthday, and I remember him telling me how his birthday party was cancelled after a tree fell and destroyed the dining room window and part of the wall of our house. After the storm, my parents bought a booklet about the hurricane put out by the Providence Journal. During my childhood, I read this booklet countless times and it is still in our family's possession:

Image Hosted by

I got an email today from my aunt in Rhode Island. She said that the family up there is collecting food to donate and that she is making a monetary donation to the ASPCA for displaced pets. She figured that enough agencies of various kinds will see to human needs, but the needs of animals might be largely overlooked.

Some storm refugees are staying in my town, those who have family or friends in the area. The local newspaper noted that among other things, the power company is sending trucks and EMS personnel are going down there to assist.

Pardon this rather rambling entry, but a disaster of this magnitude will take a long time to assimilate in any reasonable manner.


For those interested in learning more about Hurricane Carol, I found an interesting site, hosted by a man who lived through it as a 13 year old: