Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Don't Miss This Season Premiere

I thought today would be a good day to discuss hurricanes. No, not the type that sports green and orange and participates in armed burglaries or defecates in hampers. I’m talking about the other ones. You know, the ones that circulate around centers of low pressure and displace the nation’s underclass quicker than you can say “failed government response”. Yeah, those. Anyway, Thursday marks the official beginning of Hurricane Season 2006.

I’m not exactly sure what that entails. I mean do hurricanes actually know when they are in season? And more importantly do they know that we give them cute little names? Weathermen around here discuss it as though the gulf waters are calm and serene in late May as the hurricanes scrimmage against one another (or do whatever it is they do) all in preparation for unleashing their fury sometime after June 1st. I’ve decided this arbitrary date is put in place solely to permit the media the opportunity to build to an exciting June 1st climax, only to follow up with a three month denouement of continued fear mongering.

But I digress. The point of this little diatribe was to examine just how far we have come in a year. What we know is that last year was kind of rough one. Therefore, I thought we would first reflect in a good news/bad news fashion.

Good News: Houston opened its arms to several thousand evacuees.
Bad News: Houston saw a record spike in crime.

Good News: Texans like Barbara Bush donated large sums of money toward relief efforts.
Bad News: Texans like Barbara Bush earmarked those funds to be used solely for her son’s educational software program.

Good News: Some repairs and improvements have been made to New Orleans’ levee system.
Bad News: New Orleans still lies below sea level.

Good News: The Superdome has been refurbished and New Orleans will welcome home the Saints in 2006.
Bad News: Um, it’s the Saints.

Now as we move forward we know that for the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. That sounds scary, which is what they want, but in truth that is just above the average for a hurricane season.

We Houstonians also know that our government officials have been working hard to develop a new and improved evacuation plan. Not that there was anything wrong with the old one, it’s just that sometimes change is good. So after working feverishly to devise solutions we can rest assured knowing that all is well…right? Maybe not, here is the conclusion of our fine governor.

"The fact of the matter is, there is no magic formula for moving 3 million people," Perry said.

Yeah, we know it’s not magic. That’s why we didn’t elect David Blaine.

So if we can’t make it out of Houston, won’t someone please think of the children? Oh wait, they have. A company has devised a Velcro identification tag which can be affixed to a child’s shoe in case a hurricane causes the child to become separated. Christ, in my day we had to memorize our name and our parents’ names and our phone number and address just in case of such a situation. No wonder kids have gotten lazy. My favorite part of the article, however, is this beauty: "They're waterproof," elementary Principal Lillian Wiley said Friday. "I tested them out last night." Good work Lillian, good work.

But what about pets? Following Hurricane Katrina, we were all heartbroken as we saw animals clinging to trees, surrounded by toxic water, swimming madly toward rescuers that were not allowed to rescue them. Fortunately for us the fine folks at PETA have developed the following guidelines to keep your pet safe this hurricane season:

•Never leave animals behind
•Never tie up your animals during a storm
•Know what destination you're going to if you must leave your home
•When evacuating with your animal, make sure you use leashes and pet carriers
•Make sure you tag and if possible microchip your animal
What I like is that if you change the word “animal” to “elderly family member” the guidelines are just as sensible.

Ultimately, I hope this discourse has helped you to rethink your hurricane past and prepare for your hurricane future. But friends and family, don’t you worry about me. I know that come Thursday I will be hunkering down, gearing up and trying my best to determine if those identification tags will work on my flip-flops.


Blogger oldtennisbum said...

Get some bottled water and power bars and anything else stored for use if you have to evac

6/01/2006 11:44 AM  

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