September 28, 2005

Credit Cards and Middle East Madness

I've never been in debt. Okay, that's not entirely true. Yes, I've been in the kind of debt where I had to make car payments, and I'm currently in the kind of debt that says I have to make house payments.

I've never been in credit card debt, however. Truth be told, I've never even owned a credit card. I don't trust them. I've been conditioned not to trust them thanks to many years of living with college roommates.

Most of my college roommates had this weird outlook on credit cards. Basically, they thought credit cards were magical pieces of plastic that just magically paid for things and that they were somehow immune from the the ensuing debt that came about due to excessive credit card spending.

I'll admit it: I was sort of jealous of my roommates and their magical credit cards. After all, they always seemed to have money and, if they didn't, they just whipped out their credit cards. Books? Put them on the credit card. Food? Put it on the credit card. Night out at a strip club? credit card.

And yet there I was writing checks and budgeting like a fool. I remember thinking that I was doing everything all wrong. I mean, there I would sit, meticulously lording over my finances, while my roommates went waltzing all over town swiping their credit cards with the careless glee of a six-year-old with a loaded pistol.

Then, one year, I was a roommate with a guy named Chad. Chad was actually a former high school classmate of mine. He was, and is, a tech-head. He's one of those guys who was born to know technology. Way back in elementary school, he taught me how to write simple programs for the Apple IIc, and he always just seemed to know everything about computers.

But he didn't know shit about personal finances. He whipped out any one of his many credit cards with the swiftness and ease of a Old West gunslinger. By the time we became roommates, he had already accrued over $10,000 in credit card debt.

I remember thinking what an incredibly large amount of money that seemed to be, especially when I factored in the understanding that he also received financial aid, and that he also worked. Granted, he worked at the local Brach's candy factory on the Gummi Bear line, which paid about as well as you might imagine, but it was still money, so I came to the conclusion that old Chad was a pretty carefree spender.

Well, one day, I popped into Chad's outrageously messy room where I noticed, tucked between two huge bags of pilfered defective Gummi Bears, a credit card notice that was slugged "Urgent!" and another that was slugged "Immediate Payment Required" and still another that read "We Break Fingers And Toes."

Then the calls started coming in, usually two or three a day. "Is Mr. Haugen available? We really need to speak with him." No, he's not here. "Are you sure you're not really Mr. Haugen?" Yes, I'm sure. "Well, when he comes in, have him call Mike at Discover immediately." *sound of shotgun cocking* Will do.

Chad was masterful when it came to avoiding creditors. He always seemed to leave the apartment just two or three minutes before a creditor called. It was like he had some sort of sixth sense. Which was all fine and dandy, except that I ended up being the intermediary between Chad and the creditors, so I got to absorb all the impatient anger and suspicion of basically every credit card company on the planet.

It was the day a creditor appeared, in person, at our doorstep that I realized Chad's debt situation was probably more dire than Chad cared to admit. There was a knock at the door, I answered, and a gentleman in a suit that looked both impressive and threatening stood before me. He asked to see a Mr. Chad Haugen, at which point I heard a little scuffling emanating from Chad's room as Chad scurried out the back entrance which, conveniently, was located at the far end of his bedroom.

We chatted together, the ominous creditor and me, for about an hour, waiting for Chad to get home, even though, of course, there was no way in holy hell Chad was going to make an appearance while that guy was in our apartment. I even had to produce my ID, so the creditor was satisfied that I wasn't, in fact, Chad Haugen.

After that, I believe, Chad ended up getting a loan from his parents, or somebody, so he could pay off his credit card debt at least enough to keep the creditors at bay. He eventually got a job working at IBM, which was a long-assed commute from Winona to Rochester, but paid a whole lot more than the Gummi Bear line.

As for me, Chad's experience with credit cards pretty much scared me away from plastic for good.

My Middle East Madness Menu c. Ryan Rhodes, Oct. 17, 2001
An Old Post That Seems Appropriate Once Again, And Again, And Again

After a long day of avoiding a U.S. led airstrike over your war torn country, hunger is no doubt the first thing on your mind. You desire something fast and inexpensive, something that the whole family can enjoy. So, come to Osama’s Fast Food Emporium, your Mecca for affordable family cuisine.

At Osama’s, you’ll be treated to a virtually bomb free atmosphere, and you’re encouraged to enjoy Allah you can eat. And, Osama’s extensive menu guarantees a pleasant and different dining experience every time you visit.

Osama’s has declared a holy war on hunger,” said a satisfied customer. “When I first heard of a franchise in the area, I didn’t walk, Iran.”

Yasser, you betcha, this is no joke, this Israel. With Osama’s restaurants springing up throughout the Middle East, you’re probably just a camel ride away from a hearty Osama’s meal. So, make a pilgrimage to your nearest Osama’s today. Remember, a rolling stone gathers no mosque.

So, what culinary delights can you find at Osama’s? You’re encouraged, of course, to start off with a nice garden or caesar Saladdin before moving on to the main course. How about a nine piece order of Taliban Tenders. These tender white Gaza strips of chicken breast, rolled in Osama’s secret blend of herbs and spices, are sure to satisfy even the most hardlined fundamentalist. Or, enjoy a rosemary and Yemen chicken breast (with a slight sprinkle of Sultan pepper), a sure hit with your wives.

Feeling a little Mexican? Then order our delicious chicken El Queda Quesadillas.

But wait, you aren’t limited to chicken at Osama’s. You can also enjoy a vast assortment of mutton dishes. In fact, at Osama’s, our specialty Islam.

Osama’s also provides several side orders, including, for a limited time, ripened ears of Koran on the Kaaba.

“Oman, that Koran on the Kaaba was excellent,” said another appreciative diner. “I almost feel bad that I ate four ears. I sincerely apologize.”

No need to say you’re Saudi at Osama’s. At our affordable prices, we understand when you eat more than your share.

Of course, Osama’s didn’t forget the early risers. For the breakfast crowd, Osama’s provides small and large stacks of Pakistani Pancakes smothered in bin Ladenberry syrup. Other breakfast items include Hezbollah Hash Browns, Baghdad Bacon, Syrian Sausage, and Beirut Bagels.

Wash down your Osama’s meal with any of our beverages, including juices, sodas, and our famous Shiite Shakes. All refills only cost a Qatar.

So, you’ve finished your Osama’s meal, and you still have room for more? Perhaps something on the sweet side? Not to worry; Osama’s also provides a number of delicious desert desserts, including our Sahara Sundaes and Empty Quarter Eclairs.

Like most families, you probably have some unruly children who are hungry but difficult to satisfy. No problem. Simply load up your little terrors and bring them to Osama’s, where they can enjoy our low priced Angry Meals. Upon hearing that they’re headed to Osama’s, your children will no doubt start yelling and shieking with glee. You may have to Muslim.

Yes, Osama’s has lifted the veil on affordable family cuisine. See for yourself. Come to Osama’s Fast Food Emporium today!

Posted by Ryan at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Ryan says: I just had a Super Burrito from the cafeteria.

Caroline says: did it live up to its name?

Ryan says: It was REALLY big.

Ryan says: I feel like I ate a puppy.

Caroline says: How does that even feel?

Caroline says: Satisfying?

Ryan says: Pupperific.

Posted by Ryan at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I did indeed sit through the premier of "Commander-in-Chief," starring Geena Davis as the first-ever female president.

To put it mildly, it's no "West Wing." And, yes, I used to enjoy the "West Wing" very much, until it started becoming sanctimonious to the point of lunacy. Maybe that's changed: I haven't seen it in awhile.

Anyway, CiC just didn't resonate with me. Part of it was because they should have picked an unknown actress for the role. Every time I see Geena Davis, I think of my first real celebrity crush in that scene in Tootsie where she's in her bra and panties. It's hard for me to get past that.

Secondly, could the show have BEEN any more predictable? I think I foretold that the teleprompter would go on the blink in mid-speech last Wednesday.

Oh, and a vice-president with her husband as her chief-of-staff? Unlikely. Telling her 7-year-old daughter not to tell anybody that the President suffered a stroke? Ummmmm, unlikely. The U.S. strong-arming Nigeria to release a female adulterer? Unlikely. The extraction team consisting of an overweight dude with no helmet, looking as uncomfortable with a rifle as a hemmorhoid sufferer sitting on broken glass? Un-fucking-likely.

Overall, it was a lot to swallow, with too many one-dimensional characters, too many implausible scenarios, too much cheesy dialogue, and not enough depth. Chances are good I won't tune in again.

Now, HBO's series "Rome". . . there's a show that kicks some serious ass, with Indira Varma being one of the hottest actresses I've seen since Salma Hayek. Polly Walker's pretty hot too, but I'm biased on that because she did full-frontal Bareishness in the first episode. Where was I again? Oh, right. . . work.

FURTHER THOUGHT: It occurs to me that, if CiC were to tank, as the first episode seems to indicate it will, a lot of people will steadfastly maintain that it's because knuckle-dragging Americans can't accept the idea of a female president, and they'll be totally oblivious to the obvious inadaquacies of the show itself. CiC has some potential, but they have a lot of work to do, that's all I'm saying.

Oh, and also, watch this movie. It's surprisingly good, and the little dude delivers an outstanding acting performance.

Posted by Ryan at 10:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Rule Book

Caroline says: Michelle called me yesterday because she was reading the Employee Handbook. She said there was a hilarious section about dress code.

Caroline says: "Employees shall not wear items that reveals their buttocks."

Ryan says: You're kidding.

Ryan says: So, my ass-less leather chaps are out of the question then.

Caroline says: Michelle said she was planning on wearing her chaps today, but couldn't after reading the handbook.

Caroline says: You're also not allowed to wear beach-wear to the office. Guess that ruins beach-wear Fridays.

Ryan says: Thong Thursday comes to a screeching halt.

Posted by Ryan at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Double Negative

Dear International Media Organizations:

Okay, this is the last time I'm going to say this, so pay attention; all of you. I'm looking at you, CNN, and MSNBC.

People protesting war are WAR PROTESTERS. They are not ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS. An anti-war protester would, by the rules set forth in English and grammar, in effect be a war supporter.

So, again, people protesting war are. . . war protesters. They are protesting war. They may be organized by anti-war groups, but once they start actually protesting, the "anti-" should be dropped, like a naked Karen Dejo.

I don't know how to make this any more simple, yet you continually refer to people protesting war as anti-war protesters. Please stop that. Or, alternatively, you can refer to them as pro-war protesters, because that would also be correct.

That is all.

Posted by Ryan at 01:11 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Shameless Traffic Whoring

Because Karen Dejo is apparently a huge search term right now, I'm going to type her name over and over in attempt to bump my traffic. *ahem*

Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo. Karen Dejo.

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September 22, 2005

Media Hurricane

COIFED BLONDE NEWS ANCHOR (CBNA): Hurricane Rita, now a Category 5 storm, is poised to bear down on Texas, in what will surely be the most devastating storm ever to hit anywhere. An estimated 10,000 to 1.5 million people are going to die, or at least be disfiguringly wounded by the storm winds expected to exceed 750 miles per hour. Our own Curt Stryker is on the scene in Galveston, Texas. Curt, what's the situation there?

CURT STRYKER: Well, as you can see behind me, butt-puckering terror pretty much describes the feeling of the remaining residents here, even though Rita has weakened somewhat and is expected to be downgraded to a Category 3 storm by the time it hits landfall on Friday or Saturday. But, people shouldn't expect that to happen! It's a Category 5 right now, and in my opinion it should be a Category 10, or maybe a Category *, or something super-scary sounding.

CBNA: Are you planning on staying there in Galveston, Curt?

CURT STRYKER: Absolutely. In fact, I'm going to lash myself to this lamp post, and possibly insert the pole of this parking meter into my anus to stabilize myself in the face of the impending hurricane winds.

CBNA: Stay safe, Curt. We turn now to our political hurricane analyst, Tony Jetman, standing by in Houston. Tony, how will Hurricane Rita affect the polling numbers of President Bush?

TONY JETMAN: They can only go down, from what I can tell. Because the President is responsible for most global weather events, and my crappy bowling score last night, I can see no way for the President to survive this hurricane with his current approval ratings intact. Experts I've spoken with say the President can expect post-storm approval ratings of nine percent or less.

CBNA: And how will Hurricane Rita affect the John Roberts Supreme Court nomination?

TONY JETMAN: It's difficult to say, but critics point out that there's no clear information being made available by the White House about what Roberts' stance is on hurricanes. Does he like them? Does he not like them? We really don't know. Does America really want a hurricane enthusiast like John Roberts as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Time will tell.

CBNA: Thanks for that insightful report, Tony. Finally tonight, we turn to our own hurricane economist, Zap Laser. Zap, gas prices are expected to spike in the wake of Rita. What can Americans expect at the pump in the coming weeks.

ZAP LASER: Pure pandemonium. Streets will run red with blood as people slit each other's throats in their bid to get that last precious drop of gas from the pump into their Cadillac Escalades. Or not. We really don't know. I'm not even really sure what gas is, or where it comes from, or what it even does. Truth be told, I don't quite know how "gas" is spelled.

CBNA: Thank you, Zap. We'll continue to keep you updated on the progress of Hurricane Rita as the storm develops. Please stay tuned as the "Storm of the Apocalypse" unleashes its civilization-ending fury on the doomed United States of America.

FOLLOW-UP: The media may have exaggerated things based on non-confirmed reports? Impossible.

Posted by Ryan at 01:48 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Japanese Driving Lessons

For those of you who don't already know, I spent my senior year of high school living and getting edumacated in Tokyo, Japan, which at that time consisted of, if you were to count suburbs, 24 million people or so. If you consider that I grew up in a community consisting of a population of just over 1,000, you can kind of, sort of, appreciate the sheer culture shock I experienced early on.

Today's culture shock anecdote is brought to you courtesy of this post by new ex-pat, Joshua.

As many of you are probably aware, Japan is, in fact, a country other than the United States, with its own history and culture and everything, if you can imagine such a thing. Well, one of its cultural oddities is that, for whatever reason during the evolution of the automobile, the Japanese decided to adopt the European model of driving on the left side of the road rather than the absolutely correct model of driving on the right side, as practiced by the rest of the world, the rest of the world being the United States.

Upon arriving in Japan, via the method of a 20 hour airplane commute, my family and I were ushered into a van by one of the high school administrators, Haku-san. I noticed quite quickly that the steering wheel was on the right side of the vehicle, which struck me as particularly amazing.

Haku-san, it became immediately obvious, wasn't so much interested in getting us safely to our destination as he was in getting us there as quickly as possible. If he could have used a blow torch to carve a hole below the accelerator, so as to circumvent the maddening limitations of simply "flooring it," I'm fairly certain he would have tried. And, judging by the traffic outside buzzing past us as if we were standing still, many motorists apparently opted to do just that.

Interesting factual tidbit that I'm not sure still applies in Japan, but when I was there, new vehicles coming off the lot were equipped with a device that beeped annoyingly whenever the vehicle exceeded a certain speed. Many, if not most, Japanese car owners--in violation of the law, I believe--simply hacked their way into the automotive innards and deactivated the annoying beeper.

Others, like Haku-san in his high school-owned high-speed jet van, just opted to ignore the perpetual beeping as he exceeded the law-abiding speed by about a factor of 10 or more. The endless beeping caused much in the way of consternation within the ranks of the jet-lagged van inhabitants. Eventually, however, the jet lag started to outweigh my fear of death in a high speed car accident, and I started to drift asleep, where I dreamt of a fantastic world full of alien creatures who communicated with one another by beeping continually.

As is the case with jet lag sleep, and vehicle sleep in general, it wasn't a very deep slumber, but it was disorienting enough to kind of make me forget where I was at, where I was going, what my name was, that sort of thing.

Therefore, when I woke up on the left side of the vehicle, directly behind my father's seat, I was quite unaware of what was going on, so I naturally fell back on that with which I was most familiar: namely, that the steering wheel was supposed to be on the left side.

Which meant, in my mind, that my father was. . . ASLEEP BEHIND THE fuckING WHEEL!

"DAAAAAAAAD!" I screamed, kicking the back of his seat with enough force to make a mule proud, and prompting pretty much everyone in the van to briefly panic.

"What?! What?! What?!" responded Dad, who I swear fumbled for an invisible steering wheel in front of him.

"Um, uh, no-no-nothing," I said. "I just thought you, uh, well, you know. . . the driver's side and. . ."

"You almost gave me a heart attack!"

And the moral of this story is: Japanese should start driving on the right side of the road to prevent American heart attacks.

Posted by Ryan at 12:15 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005


Avast thar, Mateys. Batten the hatches! Hoist up the Jolly Roger! Score me some booty that can blow me down!

Posted by Ryan at 02:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My Interview With Daunte Culpepper

If you're not a Minnesota Vikings "fan," this post won't mean dick, unless your name is Dick. Anyway, I scored an interview with Daunte Culpepper following the most pathetic football game in modern history. And, keep in mind here that we're talking about the Vikings, which seem to have the market cornered when it comes to pathetic football games.

ME: So, ummmm, the Bengals, huh?

DAUNTE: Hey, those are big cats!

ME: So, ummmm, FIVE interceptions?

DAUNTE: Arthritis.

ME: So, ummmm, the whole Randy Moss trade. . .

DAUNTE: Hey, talk to Tice on that one.

ME: So, ummmm, what about this improved defense?

DAUNTE: Well, 38 points isn't 40, is it? Baby steps, man, baby steps.

ME: So, ummmm, the Bengals, huh?

DAUNTE: Didn't we already cover this? Big cats! Helloooooo!

ME: So, ummmm, an 0-2 start, huh?

DAUNTE: Yeah? So? Same with the Packers!

ME: Did you really just equate the Vikings with those cornholing Packers?

DAUNTE: Maybe.

ME: Is it perhaps time to give Brad Johnson another chance at starting?

DAUNTE: I'm bigger than he is.

ME: True, but he's also the only quarterback in history to actually complete a pass to himself for a touchdown. I was at that game, so I know stuff.

DAUNTE: You and fuckin' Nick Coleman.

ME: I think he even has a Super Bowl ring from his stint with the Buccaneers.

DAUNTE: Who? Nick Coleman?

ME: No, dipshit. Brad Johnson.

DAUNTE: Oh, right.

ME: So, do the Vikings actually intend to win a game this year?

DAUNTE: Well, you can never really plan on that, but it'd be nice.

ME: You'd think if you were to win any game, any game at all, it would be against the Bengals.

DAUNTE: Okay, listen, if you can't understand the concept of big cats, I don't think we can continue this interview.

*Daunte storms out of my brain*

Posted by Ryan at 11:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 16, 2005

Yeah, My blogging Sucked This Week

Sorry about that. It's the deadline time of the month for the magazine, and I actually get paid to do that sort of work, so I'm sure you understand.

Not much to report on anyway, although I did clean my hardwood floors with Pledge, so now they're really slippery, and I've spent an unusual amount of time sliding around at night in my socks. The cats seem amazed by my behavior, because for them the slippery floors just mean they fall down quite a bit when they try to go around corners too fast. I've exploited this vulnerability by using a laser pointer to get them all riled up and chasing the little red dot. Then when they're at full speed, I just kind of turn off the dot, and they'll slide right into whatever's in front of them. Hours of entertainment with these floors, let me tell you.

Posted by Ryan at 03:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

The Plague is Funny!

Caroline says:

Caroline says: Two WEEKS ago?

Ryan says: But, were they three BLIND mice?

Caroline says: heh

Ryan says: Because then they should be able to see how they run.

Posted by Ryan at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Ha! Ha!

I just got an e-mail in my work inbox, with the following subject line:

"Story Idea: How employee obesity is affecting your company's bottom line."

Lots of fat asses in an obese workplace.

Posted by Ryan at 01:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My Katrina Q&A

As incredibly unlikely as it may seem, I, Ryan Rhodes, keeper of this blog, managed to score an unprecedented interview with Hurricane Katrina. I won't divulge my methods or my contacts who helped coordinate this astounding sit down interview, but you know who you are, and I thank you.

ME: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me, Katrina. How are you?

Katrina: Pretty much exhausted really. Worn out. Dissipated.

ME: Okay. Well, I have to get this one out of the way. Why'd you do it?

Katrina: A girl's gotta let off some steam once in awhile, you know. There I was, off in the Atlantic, thinking "this tropical storm status is just not for me." I always wanted to be more. I wanted to be SOMETHING.

ME: But, a Category 5? Wasn't that a bit over the top?

Katrina: In retrospect, maybe. But, there hadn't been a Category 5 since, what? 1969? I figured "why not me?"

ME: But, you killed a lot of people and did a lot of damage.

Katrina: Helloooooo?! I'm a HURRICANE! That's what we do.

ME: I suppose. A lot of people have attributed your unusual strength to the phenomenon of global warming. What are your thoughts?

Katrina: They're just trying to steal my thunder, so to speak. I'm a hurricane; a naturally occurring weather event. And since when has weather ever, in the history of recorded time, been predictable? Sure, I was a Category 5, but the reason there's a Category 5 classification is because, you know, there have been Category 5 hurricanes in the past. I was a powerful bitch because, well, I'm a powerful bitch.

ME: Doesn't sound like you have much in the way of remorse.

Katrina: Look, I'm a hurricane. I can propel 2x4s through walls. I can reduce housing complexes to toothpicks. I can dump enough rain to flood most major metropolitan areas, especially those that are already below sea level. In other words, I can, and will, deal out the hurt when I arrive. If you can't understand that, then you're just kind of dumb.

ME: Were you at all surprised by the number of people who didn't evacuate the coastal communities?

Katrina: Not really. People are funny that way. Be honest now: now many tornado sirens have gone off in your lifetime and, instead of running to the basement, you went outside to take a look?

ME: . . .

Katrina: Come on. . .

ME: All right, probably most of them.

Katrina: Exactly. A lot of people just don't have any concept of what Mother Nature can dish out until they've experienced it firsthand. If you had walked outside and taken a few licks from a tornado, I'm betting you'd be hightailing to the deepest cavern you can find then next time a siren blows. As it is, because you haven't, you'll probably be right outside the next time. Right?

ME: . . .

Katrina: Come on. . .

ME: All right. Probably.

Katrina: Thank you. It always amazes me that people live at the base of Mt. Vesuvius, and Mt. Fuji and even on the currently-active volcano in Hawaii. I mean, from a common sense standpoint, those people are fucking insane. Those mountains are gonna fuckin' blow. It's gonna happen. At some point, a lot of you fucking people are going to die. Likewise, if you live on the Gulf coast, powerful bitches like me are gonna come along. It's inevitable. And yet every time, every fucking time, after all the bodies are piled up and the damage is calculated, people STILL stand around and ask "how could this happen?" And then the news reports start rolling and before you know, people are so busy blaming themselves and others, they'll forget that a Goddamned hurricane was the cause of it all in the first place. It's pretty damned amusing, really, from my perspective.

ME: Well, maybe, but you have to agree that the relief effort from bottom to top was pretty well fudged.

Katrina: Oh, yeah, no doubt. But, here's the thing: how do you prepare for something like me? How do you plan for relief after something like me? Not to thump my own chest or anything, but I'll say it again, I'm a powerful bitch. I'm a mushroom cloud laying motherfucker, motherfucker. I'm the guns of the Navarone. Every time my fingers touch brain, I. . . sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, my point is, when a bitch like me comes along, and people stick around to see what I can do, and you have every variable in the world stacked up against you, including already basically being under water, you're going to have yourselves one big-assed disaster. Good luck coordinating a seamless relief effort after I come knocking. That's not to say you little bi-pedal fuckers didn't mess up all across the board but, I gotta tell you. . . if I were you, and I went up against me, I'd probably screw up plenty of things, too.

ME: Do you think the Gulf coast will recover?

Katrina: Oh, yeah, because that's what you weird little fuckers do. I may belittle you for not being able to stand up against me, but I have to admit, you're tenacious little bastards. I'll give you that.

ME: Hurricane Katrina, thanks again for taking the time to speak with me.

Katrina: No problem. I have to go now. I'm gearing up to recollect myself and dump about four feet of snow on a bunch of dumbasses living in Rochester, Minn., sometime around January 10. It'll be a hoot.

Posted by Ryan at 12:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

I love Minnesota


Yeah, I've posted this before and, yeah, there's a flaw where you can see the deck leading down on the lower left (but that's part of what makes it special to me). I caught a bunch of fish off that dock, and my grandpa taught me how to catch more than perch one summer. That's Island Lake, and it's one of the most peaceful places I know.

Posted by Ryan at 11:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

Duty Calls

I've been summoned, so I shall fisk this.

Everyone is playing the blame game on Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, and we at the top end of the Mississippi River can join the fun by pointing fingers close to home.

Or we could, you know, stop frickin' blaming for a few frickin' weeks and start frickin' DOING something useful for the Katrina victims. But, I suppose such obviosness has never occurred to Coleman in the past, so why should it start occurring to him now?

Part of what drowned New Orleans is a political ideology determined to shrink government and ignore scientific evidence of global warming. Well, "stuff" flows downhill, and some of those tainted ideas came straight from Minnesota.

I'm going to take a stab at this, and it's a half-hearted stab that's not even reinforced by a Google search, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that PART OF WHAT DROWNED NEW ORLEANS WAS WATER! In fact, most of what drowned New Orleans was WATER. That damndable chemical known as di-hydrogen oxide. Oh, and a freakin' hurricane. Last I heard, and again my knowledge on this is a bit hampered, but according to the news reports I've watched, hurricanes don't consist of swirling, high-powered political ideologies determined to shrink government and ignore scientific evidence of global warming.

Take a 1998 publication of the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank in Minneapolis that has pooh-poohed global warming and pushed for "limited government." To some folks, that means government should cut taxes on the rich instead of wasting money on flood levees.

Of course, Coleman neglects to mention that the levees that actually were breached were among the most recently updated (and deemed in good condition by the Army corps of engineers) with, wait for it, FEDERAL money. Oh, and also, it takes years and years to construct and/or update a levee system so, even if funding hadn't been so "evilly" cut, you probably wouldn't have seen new levees until somewhere around 2011 (pure guesstimate on my part, but so is most of Coleman's research). Of course, I imagine the little cymbal-clanging monkey in Coleman's head believes that levees are built with a little elbow grease and a trowel and can be completed in an afternoon, if you really put your mind to it.

The results of such recent American Experiments are on view in New Orleans, where the most effective government initiatives have come in the form of supplying body bags and restricting journalists from recording images of the human costs of government inaction.

"Restricting" is Coleman's way of translating "Requesting." Easily confused terms, I know, particularly when your mind works about as effectively as wet gunpowder.

In "Global Warming: Divided Science and Unfounded Policy" (and many other papers) the center argued that even if global warming is real, the cost of fighting it is too high. Cutting back on emissions (by agreeing to the Kyoto Protocols), the report contended, would put a damper on the economic wealth that will save us from hurricanes that might take lots of lives in poorer countries but not here, by gum.

"By gum" was actually in the original text for the Center of the American Experiment, but they eventually threw it out in favor of "Boy howdy."

The piece was written by David W. Riggs, formerly a senior fellow at the center. Riggs now rails against global warming from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank in Washington, D.C., whose mission is preventing environmental concerns from interfering with business.

Okay, let's take a nice long second to really appreciate what Coleman is trying to do here. He is trying to say that global warming was the culprit responsible for Hurricane Katrina, because, you know, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane. Coleman's not the only dope to make this logical vomit. I call it logical vomit because, under this sort of reasoning, every other hurricane that comes after Katrina is going to be a Category 5 or stronger. Don't they HAVE to be? Oh, wait, I guess there was another Category 5, Camille, in 1969, back when the theory of global warming was little more than an itch in science's shorts, and we have Category 4 hurricanes going all the way back to the turn of the century and further. So, maybe Coleman's just being his usual dumbass self.

Fatality lists might be "tragically long" in Bangladesh, Riggs wrote. But storm fatalities in the U.S. -- even with global warming -- would be "few" because "our economic well-being reduces our exposure to risk and facilitates recuperation when disaster strikes."

AHA! Gotcha!

You know, it occurs to me, Coleman's bio at the Star-Tribune says: Nick Coleman writes about people and events in the metro area. So, it begs the question: What the fuck is Coleman doing quoting a guy located in Washington D.C. in a column about a hurricane that hit nowhere near the metro area? I think it's beyond time that the Strib starts trying to rein this maroon in a little bit.

Quoting another author, Riggs explains: "The wealth of our society makes it possible for people to incur the expenses of relocation."

If Riggs is quoting another author, shouldn't that author be attributed? Nevermind.

Oh, really? Tell that to the people who drowned in nursing homes while waiting for help from "emergency" agencies that moved like molasses in January.



Oh, wait, those buses were supposed to be coordinated by New Orleans officials. . . so, I guess. . . er, Center of the American Experiment? Uh, water? Ummm. . . uhhhhh. . . DAMN YOU GLOBAL WARMING AND ADULT ADD!

Tell it to all the babies who have lost their mothers. Tell it to all those who hungered and thirsted and prayed and begged for help.

Yes, let's gather all those people around and try to explain to them that the reason for their misery is global warming.

Once upon a time, Americans pledged each other their lives, their fortunes and their honor. Then those who hate government came to govern.

WTF? Does anybody else's brain hurt right now trying to figure out where the hell Coleman is going with all of this, or where he came from, or where he should go? Don't you just want to club him about the head and shoulders with a Clue x 4?

During the tragedy in New Orleans they stood by while poor people died, behaving like the fortunate folks in first class on the Titanic who rested on the oars of their half-empty lifeboats -- safely distancing themselves from the shouts and screams of steerage passengers until the waters quieted.

They? Who are they? Riggs? Babies? How does this apply to the Twin Cities metro area? How can so many unrelated threads be brought together so haphazardly into such an ugly literary tapestry? Why didn't I get the least bit turned on by Kate Winslet's bare tits in Titanic?

The destruction of New Orleans is a travesty of injustice and indifference that will haunt us for years, fueled by the blindness of ideologues who think global warming is good and government is bad and who don't see poor people in the path of destruction until they float to the surface.

"Ideologues who think global warming is good." You just kind of what to let that sentence fragment hang there for awhile, airing it out. It's such an awful sentence fragment, with no basis in anything, least of all fact, that it just emanates a kind of stink, like when you walk into the bathroom after your roommate's been in there for 40 minutes. Everything that follows that fragment is practically invalidated by it. When Coleman shoots himself in the foot, he apparently uses a Howitzer.

In the past days, I have heard Fox News' Bill O'Reilly say you shouldn't count on government to protect you. I have heard radio's Rush Limbaugh say that expecting the government to build levees is an example of a welfare mentality. I have heard many ideological zealots excuse the appalling failure to save the sick, the elderly, the children, by shrugging their well-tailored shoulders and saying there is a limit on what government should do and the private sector should be called upon first.

Just a point of order here, if Rochester, Minn., is swept away by a tornado, I fully intend, and have always fully intended, to rely on myself first, my gun second, my neighbors third, local authorities fourth, the private sector maybe fifth, and somewhere way the down the fucking line I expect the federal government to arrive and lend a hand (and, yes, do a better job than FEMA is currently doing in New Orleans).

But, wait a minute Nick, I thought this was about GLOBAL WARMING!

Here's what they mean: Them that has big wheels and wallets can get out. Them that don't must sink or float.

And now it's a class warfare column! Nick is touching all his hot button issues this time around. I wonder if he'll get around to complaining about storm sewer fees.

That is not America. That is our stereotype of Bangladesh. But even Bangladesh works better in a disaster than we do.

Yeah, once U.S. aid arrives, maybe.

I have a suggestion for another American Experiment. If anyone still thinks government should not be responsible for saving people, let's lock them in an attic where water is rising to the roof. Without an ax.

This is Nick Coleman disengenuousness taken to a whole new level. He hears Limbaugh and O'Reilly say that citizens should not expect the federal government to be their first line of relief after a disaster (absolutely CORRECT), and he portrays it as them saying government shouldn't be responsible for saving people at all. "Let 'em all rot and float!" I imagine his television screen consists of a thick lacquer of his own Coleman spittle from hours of him screaming at it.

There are no atheists in foxholes. And there wouldn't be any government-haters in that attic, praying not to be saved by a firefighter who draws his pay from the public till.

Um, global warming? American Experiment? Yoo hoo! Anybody see a point here? I'm at the end of the column now, still looking for a point. Hellloooooo? Anyone? Anyone? Riggs? Beuller?

UPDATE: Wow, Daily Kos channels his inner Nick Coleman. Best parts, as if penned by the non-monkey himself:

Conservatives believe government shouldn't exist to help people. That everyone should be left to the wolves.

Rrrrrigggght. Which explains the approval of $62 billion in relief money. Which explains all the relief efforts that were taking place (though arguably flawed) even before the levees gave up the ghost.

Democrats would've taken care of Katrina victims from the get go. That would've been our first impulse, our first instinct. Republicans had to be shamed into helping people.

They would have waved their magical Democrat wands and done everything perfectly correct! In fact, they would have banded together to force the hurricane down to a Category 1/2. They would have focused their collective Democrat "feel-good" rays to rebuild the levees to withstand meteor strikes! Isn't 20/20 hindsight about the greatest thing EVER? They would have gotten all those buses up and running like, um, all those local and state Democrats failed to do. . .

Kos, step away from the Coleman frequency. Believe me, you don't want to go there.

Posted by Ryan at 02:03 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

We're PUN-dits

Caroline says: Whoopti Dew

Ryan says: Not sure I want to try that, but it's funny.

Caroline says: Not as funny as clowns.

Ryan says: What is?

Caroline says: Another good point.

Ryan says: I'm so full of good points, I'm practically a pin cushion.

Caroline says: The kind that's shaped like a strawberry?

Ryan says: I thought they were shaped like tomatos.

Caroline says: Some are shaped like strawberries.

Caroline says: Those were my favorite.

Ryan says: You had a favorite kind of pin cushion?

Caroline says: You got to have favorites.

Caroline says: That's what makes it sew fun.

Ryan says: You seam to be unravelling.

Caroline says: I've been hemming and hawing a lot lately.

Ryan says: Your sanity is hanging by a thread. I shouldn't needle you.

Posted by Ryan at 11:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


By the way, yes, I am immensely proud that the adsense ad over on the right is sporting a "Fishy Vaginal Odor" heading. I think that's pretty cool.

Posted by Ryan at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

This Made The Huffington Post?

But, it's too funny to be on the Huffington Post.

Posted by Ryan at 04:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Blog Is Too Serious, We Need Some. . .



Want more BikerFox? Get some!

Posted by Ryan at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hurricane Lessons

Ten of them, anyways.

Posted by Ryan at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Once more, from Mandy

Mandy is my friend. She lives in Houston, Texas. She, like countless others in the South affected by Katrina, has a story to tell. And, although hers' may not be as harrowing as some, it's still worth passing on. Her workplace gave everyone Tuesday off to volunteer. What follows is her recounting of what she did and saw:

Hurricane Katrina became extremely personal for me this past weekend. I had been watching the images on the news of New Orleans and knew that my family in Poplarville, MS, Gulfport, MS, and Picayune, MS had been hit, but with the majority of news coverage on NOLA I figured my family was okay. I had received sketchy reports last week from various relatives, but due to the power/communications outage, most of the reports were from someone that had talked to someone else or heard from someone and they said to get in touch with this person, etc. I finally talked to my grandmother Monday evening and her entire family resides in that area. She was the only child of 5 that had left MS and LA and relocated. My family is rather large so I refer to many of these people as "uncles" although that may not be the exact relation they are to me. My grandmother reported that her brother, Farrell's, house is still standing but they lost everything as portions of the roof are gone as well as all of the windows. They have been living in it for over a week with no power and no roof. One of my aunts, along with both of her adult daughters, (3 households) lost everything, but they are all safe. My great-grandmother (by marriage) also lost all she owned. As of last night, we have 2 confirmed deaths in our family in MS with one of them being discovered by Farrell as he was walking around the area a couple of days after Katrina hit. It appears an elderly uncle was trying to get to Farrell's house, but did not make it. They did recover the body and were able to identify him which is a blessing although it is also a tragedy. There is basically nothing left of the town where my mom grew up and went to school, the same town where my grandparents grew up, met, and married. Volunteering and donating has taken on an extra meaning for me and much of my family.

A group of us decided to meet up at the office on Tuesday morning to volunteer for the Katrina evacuees. We weren't exactly sure where we were going to volunteer because the needs and locations were changing everyday in Houston. After reading a volunteering link from a local news website, we decided to head to the Astrodome as they were extremely shorthanded after the holiday weekend and many of the volunteers returning to work.

We arrived at the Dome and signed in with about 30 other volunteers and as soon as they finished the 5-minute orientation a lady started pulling groups of us that were needed in various locations asap. My group of 12 volunteered to go to processing as they had a bus of new arrivals pulling in at that moment. This didn't make a lot of sense to me because the news continually reported that Texas was full and we could take no more survivors. Well, 7 – 8 busloads of new arrivals passed through processing during my shift on Tuesday. Processing is the first place for the evacuees to go when they step off a bus and it involves being registered so we have some idea of who is where, getting a list of lost family members, finding out which medications people need or have been missing, etc. It is also the first location where survivors can pick up much needed items like the personal care kits, clothing, diapers, and snacks. The first group that entered the Dome was from a state home of some sort in LA and they had evacuated to a hotel during the storm. While talking to the group throughout the day I found out that the winds & water were blowing the a/c unit into their hotel room. The power had gone out and the men were standing at the windows and trying to put chairs in front of them and towels around the window so their room would not get wet. After 1 ½ days in the hotel, they relocated to the Convention Center. They said it was not too bad when they first arrived, but as time passed people would use the restroom wherever they were standing and fights were breaking out. Because of the group's special needs, they were one of the earliest groups taken out of the Convention Center and bussed to Arkansas. When they arrived in Arkansas, they were told there wasn't room for them but they could stay for the night. One man told me this was the only night he had slept in the past week. The next day the group was bussed from AR to Houston on a Metro with no restroom. They were stopping every half hour for restroom breaks and had been refused service in one of the facilities where they stopped.

I spent much of my day with the special needs group because they couldn't leave their area without supervision. They had to be escorted to the bathroom and to smoke. One of the men in the group, actually the first one I made contact with, asked me (with tears in his eyes) to find his wife and kids and started listing their names. I had no idea how to respond to him and knew I was in for a looooong day. The Astrodome, however, does have a computer room facility for the survivors to track down relatives and other evacuees. One of the oldest ladies in the group, in her late 70s, needed to go to the restroom and required help in getting there and getting her clothing situated. As I was helping her in the port a potty, I saw she had on about 8 layers including corduroy overalls, 3 shirts, a skirt, and jeans. Once we navigated through the layers she said she had put on everything she could because they had told her they were evacuating and she didn't want to be left with nothing or take charity. One lady asked me why it took us (America) so long to get to them. Why did we leave them stranded? How do you answer that?

I was also tasked with locating the clinic and taking new arrivals in need of care to the medical station. One diabetic older lady, carrying 2 garbage bags of possessions, did not want to go get treatment if it meant leaving her bags behind. She said her life was in those bags. We did "hide" her bags the best we could & I wheeled her to the clinic, outside and around the other side of the Dome. When she returned later in the day, her bags were safe, she thanked me & hugged me. Before getting on another bus to depart, she grabbed my hand. She said, "Please keep me in your prayers. Lord knows I need some help."

Another man asked me where he could volunteer or find out about volunteering. He wanted to have a place to stay and then come help any others that needed it. This was a man with half a garbage bag holding everything he owned and had probably slept 1 night in the past 6 or 7 and his first thought was volunteering to help others.

In my day at the Dome, I saw every age, race, and income bracket step off of those buses. I saw families, people who had lost their families, and some people who still had no idea what was going on or where they were. I saw kids with no parents because their parents had handed them to others to make sure their kids made it out of NOLA even if the parents didn't. There were people who would not take any of the donated items because others needed it more. Most of the people I spoke with simply wanted a place to call home so they could get jobs, find family, and start over. I was asked numerous times about housing, employment opportunities, and getting kids in school.

Many people wanted to know about their city. Was there anything left? How many people died? Did the cops catch the looters? Was everyone out? When could they go home? These people hadn't seen the 24/7 news coverage the past week so they really had no idea what has happening other than what they witnessed firsthand.

I was thanked over and over throughout the day. I was told how great Houston was to take on this many people. I was also told that no other city has opened their arms & hearts the way we have & they will never forget us. A lady told me she was remembering all of the faces of the volunteers to ask God to send them an extra little blessing for their service. People hugged me with tears in their eyes or grabbed my hand before they were shipped off to their next location. I have never felt more helpless and more helpful at the same time. And honestly, I wasn't doing anything other than being there. I wasn't performing a special skill or doing a task for which I needed any training. I was just there and willing to do what I could, and for the people I encountered that was enough for that day. I thought about my own family while I was in the Dome and that is all I wish for them as well. Just let someone be there. My other relatives can't reach them or get to them, but I thank God for the people that are there and willing to do what they can.

Posted by Ryan at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Introducing: Marker Farts

I'm letting marker farts right now.

"Marker farts?" you ask.

"Yes, marker farts," I answer.

"Well, what are marker farts, Rhodes?"

Glad you asked. Marker farts are farts you stealthily pass while in your office. You can do that because you have no officemate to worry about today. Unfortunately, the farts you're letting are so unspeakably foul, you start to worry about other co-workers coming into your office.

So, to mask the offensive air biscuits, you pop the cap off a Sanford brand KING SIZE permanent marker and wave it around in the air so its inky, alcohol stench blends with your anal emissions to make an odd-smelling air blend that doesn't quite smell like ass, but it doesn't quite smell like marker, either.

Hence, marker farts.

Of course, they could be marker farts in an entirely different way, but I have to wait until I get home to check that.

Thank you for reading this installment of Rambling Rhodes Potty Talk.

Posted by Ryan at 04:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mandy Reports Again From Houston

Mandy says: so many of the people were so grateful

Mandy says: thanking us

Mandy says: and a lady asked, "why did it take you so long to get to us?"

Mandy says: i think i actually heard my heart breaking in that second

Ryan says: I imagine they're kind of bewildered and in shock.

Mandy says: yep

Mandy says: and want some kind of stability

Mandy says: and we can't really offer that yet

Ryan says: Seeing what you're seeing, can you understand at all why the response took so long? I'm trying to get a feel for what it must be like, but in Minnesota I may as well be on Mars.

Mandy says: i can't understand why food/water wasn't dropped

Mandy says: other than that, there are so many fucking people

Mandy says: and it takes time to mobilize what was/is needed

Mandy says: i do know there is NO way to evacuate 1.4 million in 2 days

Mandy says: I-10 was a parking lot heading into houston on sunday

Mandy says: took people 15 hours to make a 5 - 6 hour trip

Mandy says: no one could have prepared for this though

Mandy says: and my conviction is even stronger for people to shut up about all of it

Ryan says: Don't hold your breath.

Mandy says: ya know? get down here & look at these people in the face & see ALL of the people volunteering for DAYS on end

Mandy says: criticize after the fact

Mandy says: i spent 6 hours at the astrodome yesterday & walked away emotionally/mentally exhausted

Posted by Ryan at 12:04 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Yes, you are


Posted by Ryan at 11:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Into The Not-So-Fun House

A couple of weekends ago, my girlfriend and I went to a place called Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells is kind of difficult to explain, but if you can imagine a kind of Orlando, Fla., in the heart of Wisconsin, you'd generally get the idea.

There are a lot of generic Disney World-like knock-offs to be found in Wisconsin Dells. I'm fairly certain that, if you were to look hard enough, you'd eventually see a tattered mascot by the name of Mikey Moose or something similar.

As cheesy as it can be at times, Wisconsin Dells is actually kind of fun, provided you stay as far away from the cheesy stuff as you possibly can. There are awesome water parks all over the place, the miniature golf parks rock, and amusement parks abound.

The problem, of course, is that the cheesiest stuff, the stuff you shouldn't waste money on at all, typically has the most interesting looking facades. There's an upside down White House attraction called Top Secret which, if word of mouth is to be believed, a monumental waste of time and money.

So, by and large, my girlfriend and I avoided the more interesting-looking facades and were having a very fun, cheese-free time. Eventually, however, our inner child of persuasion got the better of us and we found ourselves standing outside a fun house called "The Loony Bin."

Now, I have fairly well established preconceptions of what a fun house is supposed to be. Namely, there should be trap doors, false walls, sudden dead ends and all manner of flashing lights and disorienting layout. THAT'S a fun house.

So, when the ticket agent, after liberating us of $14, told us to go into the Loony Bin's waiting room and consort with "Zot, the purple space monkey, and wait for the crazy doctor to arrive," I had my suspicions we were about to experience a whole bunch of cheese.

Zot, it turns out, was an animatronic piece of junk that vaguely looked like a monkey, if you really squinted and looked the other way. Zot spewed forth several annoying recorded insults, including laughing maniacally before saying "I was just thinking of something really funny looking. . . and it was you!"

Finally, mercifully, the crazy doctor arrived and invited us into his office. I knew we were in for significantly more cheese when I saw the crazy doctor was wearing a pair of fluffy bunny ears.

The crazy doctor informed us that he had lost his monkey, and that we'd be able to help track down his lost monkey by following its trail of. . . "monkey poo." Not only were we supposed to diligently follow said trail of poo, we were also instructed to scream "monkey poo" as loud as we could whenever we encountered substantial amounts of the simian excretions.

As near as I could tell, upon finding my first deposit of monkey poo, I was basically looking at a pile of shaving cream. Now, I wasn't going to get down and smell it or anything, but my professional analysis, coming from a man who has extensive shaving experience, was that the monkey poo was almost definitely shaving cream.

As we made our way through the assorted hallways, we again entered a room where the crazy doctor was waiting, and he proceeded to ask us, in gameshow fashion, what our favorite colors were. He also asked how old we were, and when we answered "30," there was a visible look of discomfort on the already crazy doctor's face. We were, if you can believe it, not his typical target audience.

Once again we were ushered into another hallway, and we made our way more and more swiftly through, at that point not even bothering to look for monkey poo.

We were finally subjected to one last Loony Bin attraction, an animatronic alien with a torn rubber lip and a strobe light laser gun that very nearly blinded me. The crazy doctor emerged after the alien light show to wave "bye-bye" at us, and I swear both my girlfriend and I were at a dead sprint to get the hell out of there.

It took about an hour, some good Mexican food, and a Long Island iced tea to fully wash the Loony Bin experience from my body.

It wasn't until later that night that I saw I had monkey poo on my shoe.

Posted by Ryan at 05:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Up to that great shipwreck in the sky

Ryan says: Cardinal: Hey, what do the Pope and Jesus have in common? They're both dead! LOL!

Caroline says: Updated joke: Cardinal: Hey, what do the Pope, Jesus and Gilligan have in common? They're all dead!"

Ryan says: Gilligan died?!!!!!

Caroline says: yeah

Ryan says: Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo!!!

Caroline says: It's common knowledge that Darth was a Gilligan's Island fan

Ryan says: "Gilligan. . . *Vader breath*. . . you are my little buddy."

Caroline says: moment of silence for Gilligan

Ryan says: Followed by a thwack on the shoulder with a sailor's hat.

Caroline says: thwack

Caroline says: hop

Ryan says: What goes *thwack, hop?* A rabbit with a peg leg.

Caroline says: That'd be a sad sight.

Ryan says: Wouldn't it though?

Ryan says: Not as sad a sight as five hot naked women though.

Now for a list of famous women, shamelessly repeated in an attempt to boost my Web traffic:

Hilary Duff. Kiera Knightly. Amanda Bynes. Lindsay Lohan. Jessica Alba. Britney Spears. Kelly Clarkson. Christina Aguilera. Emma Watson. Ashley Tisdale. Amber Tamblyn. Kirsten Dunst. Sanjaya. Jessica Sierra. Eva Mendes. Hilary Duff. Kiera Knightly. Amanda Bynes. Lindsay Lohan. Jessica Alba. Britney Spears. Kelly Clarkson. Christina Aguilera. Emma Watson. Ashley Tisdale. Amber Tamblyn. Kirsten Dunst. Sanjaya. Jessica Sierra. Eva Mendes. Hilary Duff. Kiera Knightly. Amanda Bynes. Lindsay Lohan. Jessica Alba. Britney Spears. Kelly Clarkson. Christina Aguilera. Emma Watson. Ashley Tisdale. Amber Tamblyn. Kirsten Dunst. Sanjaya. Jessica Sierra. Eva Mendes. Hilary Duff. Kiera Knightly. Amanda Bynes. Lindsay Lohan. Jessica Alba. Britney Spears. Kelly Clarkson. Christina Aguilera. Emma Watson. Ashley Tisdale. Amber Tamblyn. Kirsten Dunst. Sanjaya. Jessica Sierra. Eva Mendes. Giorgia Palmas. Giorgia Palmas. Giorgia Palmas.

Posted by Ryan at 02:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why am I in this handbasket, and why's it so hot?


Via Fark, of course.

Posted by Ryan at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

Great Googily Moogily

You know, sometimes news about important shit happens at such an incredible pace, you almost don't know if your brain can keep up.

I think I'll just crack a beer.

Posted by Ryan at 11:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

Slow Emergency Response

So, I was just re-reading this in "A Short History Of Nearly Everything," about the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, and something struck me. See if you can figure out what it was:

Ninety minutes after the blast, ash began to rain down on Yakima, Washington, a community of fifty thousand people about eighty miles away. As you would expect, the ash turned day to night and got into everything, clogging motors, generators, and electrical switching equipment, choking pedestrians, blocking filtration systems, and generally bringing things to a halt. The airport shut down and highways in and out of the city were closed.

All this was happening, you will note, just downwind of a volcano tht had been rumbling menacingly for two months. Yet Yakima had no volcano emergency procedures. The city's emergency broadcast system, which was supposed to swing into action during a crises, did not go on the air because "the Sunday-morning staff did not know how to operate the equipment." For three days, Yakima was paralyzed and cut off from the world, its airport closed, its approach roads impassable.

Gosh that sounds familiar, but I just can't quite place why.

I don't know. It must be Bush's fault, somehow.

Posted by Ryan at 01:16 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Live, From Houston!

Mandy says: hello

Ryan says: Hello to you as well.

Mandy says: have you seen my city on the news?

Ryan says: What's your city again?

Mandy says: houston

Ryan says: Oh, right. The Superdome.

Mandy says: astrodome

Ryan says: Same difference.

Mandy says: we have about 20 - 30 thousand here now

Ryan says: Yes, I think I've heard something. Something about refugees from somewhere, like Mexico or something.

Mandy says: but now we are allowing another 11000 at reliant stadium

Mandy says: mexican refugees is everyday life

Ryan says: LOL

Mandy says: this other deal is insane

Mandy says: my aunt/uncle lost their home

Mandy says: well, their second home

Mandy says: but it is gone

Ryan says: It is astounding to read about.

Mandy says: we have so much going on

Mandy says: some people at work are housing people

Mandy says: the trash collectors are letting us put donations at the curb that they will pick up in regualr rounds

Mandy says: the news is asking for anyone to go help

Ryan says: Yeah, I'm a little detached from it all up here.

Mandy says: every store, mall, restaurant is taking donations or doing drives of some sort

Ryan says: And yet all I keep reading about is how abysmal the relief effort is.

Mandy says: well, it took a long time to react

Mandy says: but people don't understand how that stuff takes time & cooperation & organization

Ryan says: Apparently not.

Mandy says: we have normal, everyday folks pouring out of the woodwork to help

Mandy says: volunteers have lined up at the dome

Mandy says: people are volunteering their homes to house evacuees for MONTHS

Mandy says: offering to pay rent for evacuees

Ryan says: Inspiring stuff. Is any of that getting good coverage down there?

Mandy says: any evacuee is getting 2 months of free food stamps

Mandy says: no questions asked

Mandy says: and free gas

Mandy says: there are things on the news about who is helping & where people can go

Mandy says: but most of it is still focused on NO & getting the people out & the devastation there

Mandy says: you have to realize NO is just hours from here so EVERYONE knows someone or has a story

Ryan says: 30,000+ new Houston residents just like that.

Mandy says: the Texans are mathcing pledges at tonight's game

Mandy says: easily that many new people

Mandy says: plus, however many thousand going to dallas & san antonio

Mandy says: Shell oil called our office wanting 1000 units to rent

Posted by Ryan at 12:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

At Least Mike Froland Got Some


Posted by Ryan at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Could you spell "talons?"


Posted by Ryan at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

There's Whining, And Then There's Common Sense

First, a mind-numbingly dumb editorial in the Star-Tribune.

Versus, a blog commenter who knows her shit:

What's going on in Louisiana - pretty much a logistical nightmare actually.

The storm and subsequent flooding have reduced access to the city down to one or two major roads. Most of the boats are toast and navigable waterways are no longer navigable because they're clogged with debris (cars, shipping containers, damaged vessels, chunks of buildings...) The airports are also submerged. So basically there are very few options for getting stuff into or getting stuff out of the city.

The breaches in the levees are immense and they haven't figured out yet how to drop enough stuff in there to plug them. The Corps (who have a lot of experience in stopping up vast volumes of water - particularly along the Mississippi) has been dropping their biggest sand bags into the breaches for a couple of days - not working. They'd love to drop a few barges in to plug up the holes but they can't get them there due to the aforementioned crap clogging up the waterways.

Talk about breaking stuff just to see how it works...

Other infrastructure that's pretty much toast in N.O.:
- Not just phone lines but call routing facilities are wet and broken.
- Not just power transmission lines, but power transformer and switching stations are wet and broken.
- Cell phone towers and routing facilities are also wet and broken.
- Fresh water supplies are fouled.
- Sewer systems and treatment facilities are likewise fouled.
- And as we all know, the pumps that are supposed to keep the city from flooding in the first place are also toast. (interesting to note that when running full bore, within 30 seconds the city's pumps can drive out a volume of water equivalent to a quarter-block seven-story building)
Oh, right, and the transportation infrastructure is basically shot since the causeways have broken up, bridges too, and roads have been submerged, washed out, etc. Airports are underwater. Port and dock facilities also broken.

That's a lot of broken infrastructure.

Initial estimates figure it will take the pumps at least 30 days to drain the flood from the city - that's assuming all the pumps are operational and there's electricity to drive them. But first the levees have to be repaired. That will take a lot of material which ordinarily would be transported to the scene utilizing some combination of roads, docks or airports. And it will take a lot of manpower - which ordinarily require food, water, shelter and basic sanitary facilities. Did I mention that this was a logistical nightmare?

Then after the city is finally dried out, they get to start rebuilding the infrastructure. It's going to take years.

If you're at all interested in how logistical nightmares of this sort get straightened out, I recommend: They've had really good coverage of recent history's greatest logistical nightmares including the construction of the first highway across Afghanistan after we wrecked that country, the stabilization and deconstruction of the World Trade Towers after they got wrecked by a couple pissed off Islamic student pilots, and the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure after we bombed the crap out of it.
Granted ENR is a little short on the hand-wringing human drama stories, but that's what the rest of the media is there for.

Posted by: buildergrrl at 01.09.05 19:42


Ryan says: This is the kind of logic going on over at the Star-Tribune:

Ryan says: "How, after 9/11, do you explain the lack of proper equipment in New Orleans to deal with a breaching of the levees?"

Caroline says: that doesn't even make sense

Ryan says: I know, it's a total non sequiter.

Ryan says: It's kind of like saying: "How, after brushing your teeth, do you explain why your feet still smell."

Caroline says: pretty much

Posted by Ryan at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Obligatory New Orleans Post

Holy fuckin' shit, man!

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at 01:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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