Tuesday, September 27

RITA-RELATED ASIDE

Our electrical power went out about an hour and a half ago and now is back on. It's 100 degrees here in the Lake Conroe area north of Houston and the heat index must be approaching 110 degrees given the insufferable humidity. The house began heating up.

My understanding is that the electric utility companies are doing a series of rolling power outages today as part of their efforts to restore power to over 370,000 homes and businesses still without power in Texas. Given that fact and what I believe to be over 1 million homes without power across the Gulf Coast region owing to the Katrina-Rita knock-out punch, I'm not complaining. Indeed, I consider my wife and I blessed and I really feel for those who remain without the basic necessities of life -- water, electricity, gas, plumbing, and a dry, watertight shelter. This is an environment in which functioning air-conditioning (or at least whirling fans) is a must.

I was in the middle of writing a post on Michael Brown, the former director of FEMA, when the power went out and the computer shut down. I'm not going to try to reconstruct it. Brown wouldn't have appreciated my comments. Whether or not he got a raw deal from the press, Louisiana officials, and the Bush Administration, complaining about it publicly only causes further damage to his image and personal brand in the marketplace.

But back to Rita's impact here. We continue to experience problems with our land-line phones and even occasionally our cell phones. Friends and relatives have had problems reaching us. And the local markets have yet to restock basics such as eggs, bread, and butter. But life here is normal with a capital "N" compared with the hardships so many are having to endure.

I read today in the Houston Chronicle about the hard-hit town of Livingston, Texas, which is north-northeast of us up I-45 and not too far from here. An earthen dam there was damaged by Rita's hurricane-force winds and they've been releasing water at the dam's spillway to bring the water level down in Lake Livingston enough to effect repairs. Apparently the high winds pushed large boulders used to mitigate erosion in the earthen dam. My God -- boulders! To think we moved small statuary from our planters into the garage for fear that they might become missiles.