Friday, September 02, 2005

"When Mr Bush visits New Orleans, he may have to answer increasing criticism that his Administration took money from a program to reinforce the levee banks to fund the war on Iraq.
The former head of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that handles the infrastructure of the nation's waterways, said the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded.
"Levees would have been higher, levees would have been bigger, there would have been other pumps put in," said Mike Parker, a former congressman."
- from the Sydney Morning Herald, full story here

The rest of the world must think us despicable. We've created the travesty in Iraq, and now we can't even look after our own people.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hail, Catawba

From Birds Of Passage, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Catawba Wine"
This song of mine
Is a Song of the Vine,
To be sung by the glowing embers
Of wayside inns,
When the rain begins
To darken the drear Novembers.

It is not a song
Of the Scuppernong,
From warm Carolinian valleys,
Nor the Isabel
And the Muscadel
That bask in our garden alleys.

Nor the red Mustang,
Whose clusters hang
O'er the waves of the Colorado,
And the fiery flood
Of whose purple blood
Has a dash of Spanish bravado.

For richest and best
Is the wine of the West,
That grows by the Beautiful River;
Whose sweet perfume
Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.

And as hollow trees
Are the haunts of bees,
For ever going and coming;
So this crystal hive
Is all alive
With a swarming and buzzing and humming.

Very good in its way
Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy;
But Catawba wine
Has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

There grows no vine
By the haunted Rhine,
By Danube or Guadalquivir*,
Nor on island or cape,
That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River.

Drugged is their juice
For foreign use,
When shipped o'er the reeling Atlantic,
To rack our brains
With the fever pains,
That have driven the Old World frantic.

To the sewers and sinks
With all such drinks,
And after them tumble the mixer;
For a poison malign
Is such Borgia wine,
Or at best but a Devil's Elixir.

While pure as a spring
Is the wine I sing,
And to praise it, one needs but name it;
For Catawba wine
Has need of no sign,
No tavern-bush to proclaim it.

And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

* Called the Betis in ancient times, Guadalquivir is the Moorish derived
name for the river that runs from Córdoba to Sevilla and finds the
Mediterranean at Cadiz. This region produces the Jerez wines, known in
English as Sherry.

The Storm
I think if I'd been stuck in New Orleans I'd have tried to ride out the storm in some building the French Quarter that had been there 200 years. They built really thick walls back then. Plus, the French Quarter is a whole 5 feet above sea level.
The federal government didn't get involved soon enough. This administration is so lame.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Weekend: Success! (mostly)
My parents' and sibling's visit was a success - for the most part.
My mother was great at the library dinner Friday night. I realise now a good bit of my anxiety was caused because I was afraid she might embarress me. She didn't, and everyone she met seemed glad to meet her. When we were leaving she said to the director, "Now, you see he behaves." The director said, "I will, and if he doesn't, I'll call you." She said, "You do that." It was cheesy but my mom had fun with it, and it was good to see that.
Saturday morning we rode around and I showed them some stuff in town. I drove the Aveo and it was the first time anyone rode in the back seat. It passed the four person test. I didn't notice having to accelerate more, even with the air on.
Friday my brother was in a great mood, but Saturday he was sullen. When we were saying farewell he started to cry. I hugged him and told him stuff I heard in tv commercials, "Don't worry; you'll be fine," and "Things come to us each in our own time," which I got from a loud-mouthed black woman who works here.
Later my dad wrote to me and said my brother was jealous because my sister and I have been more independant as adults. I had thought it might have been the case, and in the past I usually just thought, "heh." Before his depression got so bad there were times when my brother lorded things over me. But now I know that's how he feels I just feel sorry for him.
Friday afternoon in my apartment I played the 1927 "Rhapdsody in Blue" on the 4-40. My mother said it had good "tone," and the machine just quivered with gratification.