Saturday, August 26, 2006

"God has no patience for stupidity..."

I actually don't remember those words from any of my childhood Bibles. Nevertheless, we're going back intime to Saturday August 27th, 2005, a day spent shopping, going to the movies and meeting my friends for a wine tasting at Bacchanal, next to the Industrial Canal. (We'll be gathering there again today).

Saturday, August 27, 2005
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
So there's this massive hurricane headed straight for my house, and I have no current plans to leave. All of my friends say to just wait it out, deal with the inconvenience of no electricity for a few days, and enjoy the excitement of it. Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be leaving the city.

Here's my dillema: I barely have enough money to fill my tank. The last evacuation had people stuck on the highway for 23 hours--and I'm not sure I want to experience the storm from the inside of a van. I could drive my three dogs to Hattiesburg, where there will be severe weather as well, or Tallahassee, where there won't, but then I would be there with my frantic dogs, no money, and the prospect of having to figure out how and when to return.

On the other hand, here's the latest from the Times-Picayune:

"National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield said Saturday afternoon that Hurricane Katrina will be at least a Category 4, with winds of 145 mph when it approaches the New Orleans area, and that it could be a Category 5, with winds of 155 mph or higher.

Meanwhile, computer model runs conducted by a team of Louisiana State University scientists indicate that even if Katrina had winds of only 115 mph, levees protecting Kenner, Metairie and New Orleans on the east bank will be overtopped by a 10- to 12-foot storm surge, topped by waves at least half that high, in some locations along Lake Pontchartrain. "

I'd hate for this to be one of my final posts...ever.

Any advice out there?

By the next morning I had seven replies, including this one, from someone named Linda: GET OUT!!!! Don't be one of those knuckleheads who thinks he can beat Mother Nature. You can't. The road to HELL is paved with a whole theme park full of idiots who thought the same thing.Hence why they aren't in Heaven. God has no patience for STUPIDITY.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Year Ago Today...

As the horrible date approaches, everyone seems to be quietly assessing where they were a year ago, so I'll be running highlights, and lowlights, from the events of August and September last year.

This what I had to say that Friday before the storm:

Yesterday, Plaquemines parish president Benny Rousselle vetoed the proposed pit bull ban that had me all hot and bothered earlier in the week. In its place, he hopes to put legislation that would deal with dangerous dogs rather than specific breeds. Yippee! According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Councilwoman Lynda Banta admitted that her vote in favor of the ban was "a knee-jerk reaction because someone else's pit bull came into my yard and killed my four baby kitten who are my pets. But that was wrong. That particular dog should be blamed for what it did and not everyone else's."

In more alarming news, Donald Trump is turning a parking lot on Poydras Street into a highrise condo catering to European clientele.

I've been nuts this week--and received a single note regarding my stagnated blog--but now I'm done with the following: edits on my book, which is now with a copyeditor; teaching Pride and Prejudice to Level 2/3 students at NOCCA; final edits on my profile of Ernest Gaines for Poets and Writers; the first day of classes back at USM.

This weekend I plan to finally unpack and see lots of movies: The Brothers Grimm, Grizzly Man, The Aristocrats, Red Eye...

Meanwhile, of course, Katrina was headed our way.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Personal lubricants: an essential carry-on?

I recently took a week-long trip back to Costa Rica, which I'll report on further at a future date. But it was during this trip that all of the carry-on rules were changed, and I have to admit I'm still a bit confused by what they consider to be essential. For example, you are allowed to carry up to four ounces of KY jelly on board the aircraft. For what essential, mid-flight purpose is this being allowed?

Here is the language as it appears on the official TSA list:

Up to 4 oz. of essential non-prescription liquid medications including saline solution, eye care products and KY jelly

Gel-filled bras and similar prostethics

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Marking the evacuation anniversary on C-SPAN this Sunday

This Sunday on C-SPAN from 5:20-6:20pm Central Time:

Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Ken Foster: author of The Dogs Who Found Me
Mark Schleifstein: co-author of Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms
Tony Dunbar: Tubby Meets Katrina: A Tubby Dubonnet Novel
and reporters from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

I can't imagine how I'll get a word in with this group, but there I am. It's all part of a program put together by the New Orleans Press Club to raise money for their scholarship fund. We'll be at the Sheraton signing books from 2-4. And from 4:15 to 5:15 C-SPAn will be broadcasting another panel, including Chris Rose, Jed Horne and Sarah Inman.

Privately, we'll all be thinking about exactly what we were doing a year earlier.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A very special edition of The Dogs Who Found Me

For most of the past week, The Dogs Who Found Me has been #1 at Mysteriously. How can it be outselling everything, including even Scott Smith's The Ruins? I was skeptical, so I emailed the Powell's folks and said "What the heck is going on over there?" "We can't explain it either," they said. (The book has since slipped to #4)

Meanwhile, my publisher went back for an eighth printing. It used to be that collectors would seek out the first edition of any book, since it was the rarest of editions. I've often wondered the logic of that these days, because many books have HUGE first printings followed by modest reprints, which means that the rarest edition might be from the third printing rather than the first. In the case of my book, the first printing was fairly small, the second and third even smaller, followed by larger fourth and fifth printings, and various sized sixth and seventh printings.

Since there are a number of typos we've been trying to correct, I checked to see if they might catch them in this eighth version. It turns out that they were corrected in the seventh printing, which I still haven't seen. But someone forgot to alter the numbers on the copyright page, so it is labeled a FIRST printing! And there were actually several small corrections made in the second printing through the sixth. So there are now three versions in print: the original first printing, five reprints with some corrections, a second "first" printing with typos corrected by missing the corrections from the previous reprints, and and eighth printing with most of the corrections but not quite all of them.

So if you are a collector, look for that rare seventh printing that is masquerading as a first.