a tropical depression


Yes, long-time readers will know I responded to New Orleans’ possible hurricane in much the same fashion last year when Ivan was heading towards Louisiana (complete with picture of my hair that Tanya makes fun of), but as of this writing, we could be looking at one of the worst storms in history barreling down on my favorite town in America.

I once made a terrifically bad Photoshop example of what would happen if a 25-foot storm surge poured over the 18-foot levees and engulfed the French Quarter:


click for bigger

…and I’m sorry, but I just don’t think I could live in a world without the Verti Marte, the Café du Monde, the Joan Good jewelry store and basically every other dive frequented by my friends since we first discovered the place in 1987. In fact, Tanya, here’s my hair on that trip:

To think those waters behind me are now threatening millions of people fills me with dread – perhaps red-state Florida and Louisiana will think twice about voting Republican given that the G.O.P. still doesn’t believe in global warming, which will make storms like this even more commonplace. I’m amazed nobody has tried to make that a campaign issue, but I suppose it’s just too easy to discredit scientists in our budding theocracy.

I once wrote a screenplay where a hurricane is shoved out of the way of New Orleans, ask me about it sometime. The worst hardly ever happens in these big storms; pray to your favorite float queen at Mardi Gras that America’s most interesting town is spared.

0 thoughts on “a tropical depression

  1. CL

    The Navy did drop silver iodide into hurricanes in the 1960s, and they weakened, but no one was sure if it was because of that…they don’t do it anymore.
    Somewhere there probably is a guy who sold a screenplay like that, and probably, the project is now being shelved. ;)
    Hope everyone down there makes it out ok.

  2. emma

    As a survivor of several hurricanes in eastern NC, the worst being the one-two punch delivered by Dennis and Floyd in September of 1999, I can sympathize with those down in New Orleans and hope that first and foremost, damage to life is little or none and secondly, that damage to property is kept to a minimum. I sure would hate to lose the home of those great beignets and chicory coffee.
    The hairdo from last year was much more entertaining, I might add.

  3. J. Boogie

    LOL, blaming republicans for hurricanes, these blue-state NPR/NY TIMES lib sheeple are sinking to new lows
    Also, as for the link that Ian posted last week about unborn children not feeling pain when they are aborted, Ian left out a few little facts about that also. One of the five authors of that artcile is a University of California, San Francisco obstetrician who works at an abortion clinic. A second author – a UCSF medical student and lawyer – once did legal work for the NARAL. Ian never told us those little facts, NPR/NY TIMES also left out that part.

  4. Tanya

    Ah, well, who am I to judge your hair, really? I mean, it’s recently been called “luscious!” for God’s sake.
    To each his/her own, yes. But I’m diggin’ the shorter ‘do.

  5. Beth

    Actually, the hair *is* pretty luscious, in whatever permutation–I’d certainly have it, and it looks like lucky little Lucy will. Plus, I’d rather discuss Ian’s hair ad nauseam than be called “lib sheeple,” for crying out loud.

  6. J Boogie's spellchecker

    How about a little concern for the born people in New Orleans before you launch into the week-late freeper cut-n-paste, Brother Boogie?
    But I must admit I was chagrined by your clever, rakehell use of the phrase “LOL”. Clearly, you’re an intellect to be reckoned with.

  7. Cris

    Oh good grief, Jboogie. I let your previous post go because I really don’t like stepping into this debate. But with this post I feel compelled to offer a rebuttal. You mentioned how you find it “funny” when liberals try to explain science. Well, as a scientist, I find it frustrating when non-scientists fail to get their facts straight in discussions like this.
    As for your current post: our understanding of the development of the mammalian nervous system is hardly limited to a single study by a UCSF obstetrician and former student now working as an attorney. Rather, it is based on a wide range of studies conducted over decades in diverse model systems. I don’t know if anyone on this blog particularly cares about the details, but just in case, here they are: the spinal cord contains two major functional classes of sensory neurons which convey information from the periphery to the brain. One, the DC/ML system, transmits information about fine touch and vibration. The other, the spinothalamic tract, detects pain and temperature. An organism cannot “feel” these sensations until (a) the neurons in these systems arise from their progenitor cells; (b) migrate from their site of origin to their home in the spinal cord; and (c) finish “wiring” their targets on each end (i.e. receptors in the periphery and target structures in the brain which process this information). In humans, this process is not complete during the first trimester.
    Now, don’t misunderstand me: By clarifying the above information, I am not arguing that embryology and developmental neuroscience can “prove” at what point, if ever, it is okay to terminate a pregnancy. I actually feel the opposite: that science cannot define a single objective criterion that clearly distinguishes at what point a fetus stops being a cellular extension of the mother’s body and becomes a separate individual. People obviously make this decision in different ways — perhaps informed by their understanding of the science involved, their faith, etc. If science could draw the line somewhere in gestation, maybe I’d feel differently about legislation to limit or outlaw abortion. But since it cannot, I think that women (and their partners) should be free to follow their own consciences in deciding what’s right for their bodies and pregnancies.
    And just to be above board: yes, I’m a leftist, anti-Bush, NARAL supporter. But I’m also a Harvard Med School faculty member with a PhD in neuroscience, which I think qualifies me to talk about the nervous system.

  8. KTS

    Yes, it is true, God does has George Bush’s back. Whenever W sinks too low, God pops right up and unleashes a doozy! I’m sure that Karl Rove said, after learning of the potential destruction of New Orleans and the Upper Gulf Coast:
    “Goddamnit, Mr. President! We’ve got a winner! You’ll get to give a dramatic speech looking strong, decisive, steadfast. Making crisp, clear decisions. Showing you’re compassion for the people. Declaring an Emergency, and your unwavering determination! Plus, there’ll be no more coverage of that treacherous bitch Sheehan on the news. No more coverage of the Iraqi war, and those pissant sand jockeys’ failed Constitution. Twenty-four seven, hurricane! You are the man!”
    And the president replied, “Party party! Where’s my bike?”

  9. Joe

    “Goddamnit, Mr. President! We’ve got a winner!”
    Karl, being the antichrist, is the only Bush staffer who can say “those words” without fear of going up in smoke.
    Or *is* he? ;)

  10. j boogie's kleenex

    That Karl Rove impersonation was spot on. Kudos KTS. W must have left his mountain bike at Lance’s Tex-ASS shop.
    Of course JBoogieMan, perception being reality, KTS could really just be an idly dyslexic, Broadway two-fer ticket-hawking, smart-ass-spouting-off, NY Times- reading, left-handed, NPR-listening, NRA- bashing, likely-a-Yankee-liberal, raging civil libertarian. I’m sure you must know.

  11. Matt

    Global warming, eh? The cause of ever-more-powerful hurricanes, tornados, floods, heat waves, ice-storms, droughts, blizzards, shitty Hollywood movies and endless bloviating by Al Gore. And it’s all due to our selfish love affair with gas-chugging SUVs — vehicles that consume so much resources that we can now measure their performance in soldiers per gallon. Forget about all those environment-conscious doomsayers who choose to live 20 miles from work when they could live within 10, or those who prefer to vacation abroad when they could relax someplace local, or those who like to make frequent trips across country to catch up with old friends and reminisce about Chapel Hill. (But his second home is solar-powered so if he wants to tell you what to drive just shut up and listen.)
    Truth is that about 99.7 percent of the greenhouse effect is due entirely to nature, the earth is not some fragile system hanging in the balance, and few figures in history have done more harm to the human condition than so-called environmentalists (Rachel Carson’s charge to eliminate the use of DDT sentenced millions of Africans to death from malaria and millions more starve while environmental groups protest the delivery of GMO food aid).
    We had hurricanes, tornados and all those other things long before the oil started flowing (though Al Gore’s blather is a definite by-product) and we will after the last drop is pumped from the ground. You want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, support nuclear energy. In the meantime, I’ll drive whatever the hell I want.

  12. david

    “at what point a fetus stops being a cellular extension of the mother’s body and becomes a separate individual.”
    Now, you listen here Malcolm X. John-Lenon, your mother didn’t breastfeed you until you were eighteen to have you speak back to her like that.
    But, seriously doesn’t it depend on the child labor laws of the country the child is born or not born into?
    “eliminate the use of DDT sentenced millions of Africans to death from malaria and millions more starve”
    But, think how many mosquitos were saved. And what the hell were those people thinking; living in Africa in the first place!?
    Ian, is that a fireboat squirting hoses in your background or are you just happy to see us?

  13. Ian

    matt – I basically support nuclear energy. other than that, you should still drive a fucking car that isn’t an embarrassment to future generations, despite my “second home’s” solar panels. By the way, where’s my “first home”? cuz that would be fun to visit.
    David – I was happy to see you.

  14. ken

    I’m sure I wasn’t the first to recognize the fact that the recent hurricane and it’s ensuing oceanic disturbances left us with…..wait for it…
    Katrina & the Waves
    Just try to get “Walking on Sunshine” out of your heads now.

  15. Matt

    Without wondering what you mean by “basically,” supporting nuclear energy is a good start. Now if only you could see that racking up all those miles in the air and on the road burns much more fuel and emits far more CO2 per year than I do in my LX, you’ll get it. (I doubt your travel is 4X as productive as my own.)
    I’m an infrequent reader of this blog, but I thought I read somewhere on here that you kept two homes. I guess I’m mistaken.


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