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Friday, September 30, 2005

New Shirt On Monday

"New Shirt On Monday" is NOT a Duran Duran song.

No, what you're thinking of is the song entitled "Reflex Of The Monday" on the 7 of 9 of the Raging Tigger album.

In fact, "New Shirt On Monday" means just what it says. And what it says is "New Shirt On Monday". That is, on Monday, this coming Monday, Oct.3, the first Monday in October, the RABBIT + CROW SHOP will unveil the Newest T-Shirt Design.

Of course, the design won't be limited to T-shirts. Heavens, no. The design - designed from the ground up by design designer Neal Romanek - will also emblazoned be upon mugs and spiral notebooks and stickers and other items you can use to raise your spirits and to help you get the things that you desperately crave and to help you defeat your enemies.

Check out the RABBIT + CROW SHOP on Monday and gape in awe - or gaze in awe too, if you want - or gasp - gasping in awe is great also - grinning in awe: just fine - even if you must gag in awe, that will be permitted as well - whatever you choose to do in awe, check back on Monday and buy the New Design.

Bully your friends into doing so as well.

I thank you.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005


"My name is 'Dawn'. You see, I changed my name. I got rid of some letters and switched some other letters around. So now it's spelled D-A-W-N."
"But that is how you spell 'Dawn'.
"But my name was originally 'Wanda'".

...or words to that effect.

That, from the spoof of the 1976 remake of "King Kong" in "Mad" magazine, and I can still remember it as clearly as if it were two or three years ago.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that "Mad" was one of my most powerful childhood influences. Years later, now that I have put aside childhood things and embraced the things of a man, I can still recall whole sections of certain issues, can recite them from memory - more or less. Especially the songs. I still can make myself grin by mentally singing snatches of songs from the "Mad 'Star Trek' Musical", even though when I first read it as a kid, I didn't know all the songs the numbers was based on. Reading the "Mad" musical spoofs was my introduction to the titles of many popular songs. Long before someone decided to bring "The Lord Of The Rings" to Broadway, long before the Peter Jackson movies, there was the "Mad 'Lord Of The Rings' Musical" ("The Ring & I"), featuring the Hobbits singing a song "*sung to the tune of 'Scarborough Fair'".

The only copy of "Mad" I still own is the issue featuring the "Mad 'Star Wars' Musical" (with a song by Darth Vader"*sung to the tune of 'My Way'" - "...I have a meal of molten lead on shredded granite / And if depressed I feel, I wipe out a passing planet..."). But I must confess "Star Wars" made me hold on to it, not "Mad"-love. The spoof movie musicals were an occasional treat, but every issue featured a satire of a recently released film, and I always was over the moon about these, whether I'd seen the movie or not.

A dirty secret: I wonder - and fantasize - and worry - what might be the title of the "Mad" magazine spoof of one of my own screenplays. I earnestly believe that a spoof by "Mad" magazine is one of the greatest honors a filmmaker can receive.

It's safe to say that "Mad" had as much influence on my music taste as it did my other aesthetic sensibilities. I remember, with delight, the occasional insert record that was included in a few of the special issues. These squares of flimsy black vinyl feature comedy songs like "Making Out" (1978) or...the other ones...erm..."Super Spectacular Day", yes, that was another title. I remember the "Making Out" song particularly because as a little tyke I took pleasure in what seemed to be its hints of naughtiness. I enjoy writing comic songs (see "O Rambunctious Kitty!") and reading month after month of giggle-inducing songs in "Mad" laid a good groundwork.

And the stickers! I'd almost forgotten the stickers! In the "Mad Special" issues. Stamps for all occasions - I think there might have been lawsuits if those graffitti-mongerers had issued such stickers today ("Remember, yo. Taggin' is a crime. Taggin' ain't cool. Taggin' ain't real." - from an abominable Public Service Announcement I just made up). The Don Martin sound effects stickers, each featuring a different sound effect with suitable illustration by master illustrator Don Martin were my favorite. And I am still searching for opportunities to spruce up my conversation with "sizzafitz!", "foin-sap!", and "poit!".

As "The Onion" has been one of my principal sources for news in adulthood, so was "Mad" my source for political and world news from ages 7 to 12. When someone today mentions Spiro Agnew or Mayor Koch, I remember them not as real life figures, but as recurring characters in "Mad".

It's strange how these childhood pleasures have such great influence on our lives. I really do think "Mad" magazine - because it gave me pleasure, and because I had enthusiasm and excitement for each monthly issue - affected me as much as several years of courses in the schools I attended as a kid (and my schools were pretty good).

And so, in conclusion: If any of my work makes you laugh, all credit goes to "Mad". If not, then you know who to blame.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 3

When the great Haiku master Hanatō Fukui (1650 - 1713) left Edo (now Tokyo) for a summer to visit acquaintances in Kyoto, he composed some of his most moving and beautiful Cat Haiku. Occasionally, these have been published separately from the bulk of "The Edo Cat Haikus" in slim volumes usually called "The Kyoto Cat Haikus, and they have rarely been out of print since they were written.

Today we feature three of these so-called "Kyoto Cat Haikus", including one of Hanatō's most popular, "I have swallowed fur..."

I have swallowed fur.
Summer cats have shed their fur.
That's why I'm thirsty.

Yellow sun on koi,
Gleaming in the still cat's eye.
My hangover pounds.

The clear icy stream--
I put the dirty cat in,
Sound of screaming

(ASK for the published "The Edo Cat Haikus" at your local bookstore)

Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 2 | Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 4

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

About The Human Body

I am a curious sort of fellow - and by that I mean that I possess a curiosity about the mysteries of life. I am especially curious about aspects of what PBS calls "The Human Experience".

For example, here are some things I would like to know about the HUMAN BODY:

1.) What is a ganglion?

Is it a big African cat who's packing a gat, yo? Or is it a bundle of nerves? And what does that mean? "A bundle of nerves". Many times throughout the week I am observed to be "a bundle of nerves". Am I a ganglion in these moments?

2.) Is it dangerous to eat poo?

Not that I want to. But sometimes I wonder. Same goes for urine. It must be some kind of sick childhood obsessive-compulsive thing. Along the lines of "Would I die if I jumped from a four story building? What about five stories? Ten stories?" When I was little I used to do this kind of wondering frequently. I remember asking my dad "Can you die from eating toothpaste?" Dad's sensible reply still serves me well as a universal answer to many questions: "I suppose you could die if you ate too much of it."

3.) If I am thirsty, will swallowing my own spit help to slake my thirst?

I have a feeling that thirst-slaking requires liquids from outside the system. I mean, if swallowing your spit really did have an effect on thirst-slaking needs, then you wouldn't have to drink water at all would you? But then you lose water through sweating and urination and all, don't you? So maybe I should revise the question to: "If you didn't sweat or urinate or excrete any other fluids, could you get all the water you needed just from swallowing your own spit"? Very happy with that question.

4.) Is it possible for an old person with osteoporosis to break a hip while having sex?

There is a gag built around this possibility that has appeared in several comedy bits, including a "Kids In The Hall" sketch. Just wondering if art is imitating reality here.

5.) Is it possible to puke your guts out?

The lowly sea cucumber can do it. Can we? And I don't mean everything - heart, liver, lungs, intestines - but is it possible to get just part of the stomach up, maybe with a little duodenum attached?

6.) Speaking of the duodenum - is it possible to have an itchy duodenum?

Or what about a ticklish duodenum? Are most of our "touch" sensations received solely through the skin? If some surgeon - or medieval torturer - were to tickle our spleen would we laugh? And if not, why not? Are some internal organs more ticklish than others?

7.) Is it as easy to sell new-born babies on the Black Market as movies and urban legend make it out to be?

I don't have any new-born babies at the moment, but I intend to have some in the coming years. I will not sell mine. But if the television and The General Public Dread are to be believed, you can turn one of these little offsprings into cash very easily. I guess the babies are taken away to foreign countries and trained to be freedom fighters, or sometimes gigantic corporations send them to underground facilities where they are trained to become Blackwater Security guards, or sometimes they are taught to make shirts. I guess that's really a commerce question and not a question about the human body. I'll rephrase that: "How much is a new-born baby worth?" That has a more "medical" ring to it.

8.) If I get sick, and cannot afford a doctor, who is the next person in the chain of command?

Here in the USA, many people, so I am told, cannot afford to visit a doctor when they begin to vomit up blood. I myself am employed and as a reward for doing work for my Employer I am given certain "benefits". One of the benefits I receive for doing work for this Employer is that when I begin to vomit up blood, I am allowed to go see a doctor. Not for free, of course. I have to present a co-payment of $10. I can easily afford the $10 (because I am employed, you see!) and don't begrudge having to pay it. It's really more a symbolic gesture than an actual payment for services - as if to declare to the doctor and the world: "Nothing in life is free. You and I both know it. Here's $10. Have a martini on me." If I work hard and do what I am told - at least try to keep my own wild animal spirit in the stall for most of the day - then it's possible I will continue to receive these benefits. But if I should lose these benefits, what then? Whom do I see? I am going to draw up a list now, so that if emergency strikes I won't make a rash, panicked decision. If I start to vomit up blood and I cannot afford a doctor, I will then seek help from (in order of importance):

1.) reference librarian
2.) manager of my local pet store
3.) 411 information operator
4.) liquor store owner
5.) Chinese food delivery man

9.) What is "double-jointed"?

Do "double-jointed" people have twice the number of joints as normal people? And since a joint is just a location where two bones meet, does that mean that they have more bones than we do? If so, why aren't they taller than us? Or do they make up for the larger number of bones by having bones of lesser length, thus allowing them to blend in better? Are double-jointed people a different species? Should they be put on special preserves so as to keep pure their traditional ways of life? Is sex better with a double-jointed person? Is it wrong to have sex with a double-jointed person? If I have sex with a double-jointed person will the baby come out deformed? Is it true that double-jointed people have to have sex through a hole in a sheet? Am I prejudiced for sometimes thinking that double-jointed people are emotionally and mentally inferior to us? Is there a genetic basis for their apparent skill at sports?

10.) Can I make myself die just by willing it?

When I was a strange little freak-child - long before I grew into a tall and wise freak-man - I used to sometimes try to make myself die. I'd be lying in bed, thinking about God and vampires, and I might, on a lark, try to - through force of will, through wishing it intensely - die. My efforts met with minimal success. It wasn't through any self-loathing or childhood depression that I tried to die. It was a striving for supernatural power, identical with my childhood efforts to fly (I was sure I could if I willed it hard enough) or to run blindingly fast like "The Flash" or The Beano's "Billy Whiz" (I was sure I could if I willed my legs to move fast enough). Now, having attained wisdom, I know I can't fly, or run as fast as The Flash. Few people can. But I do still wonder, can I make myself die by willing it? People may say that I am trying to play God, that I hunger to manipulate life and death with a mere thought, but verily I say unto them: I am what I am and that's all I am.

If you are doctor, reference librarian or liquor store owner, I look forward to your replies to these many questions abouts the Mysterie Of The Human Botty.


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Monday, September 26, 2005

Cutting Hare T-Shirt Front & Back

Fans have expressed concern that the sample images on the "Save The Cutting Hare" goodies at the Rabbit + Crow Shop are too small to be easily read.

Here they are writ large...


Hare Shirt Front


Hare Shirt Back

So now you know. Begin buying NOW.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Changing Times

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Down San Diego Way

Today, Janet and Me are San Diego-bound...

...to see the San Diego Zoo and to view the animals therein...

...then to have dinner with my high school friend Art, who is in Southern California for his brother's second wedding.

Vacation, vacation, vacation! Today will be like a Sunday - except that I don't intend to do any work.

Check out the San Diego Zoo's POLAR BEAR CAM.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Mind Images, etc.

Not long ago, I was reading the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (a famous graduate of West Point who, they say, died of rabies in 1849). And as I perused this man's most curious and singular work, endeavoring to shrug off the growing chill of Fear that thus subsumed me, I mused silently to myself: "This guy's crap. And a whiner. All he does is just list his complaints and try to make them rhyme. I could do totally better."

And so...

THIS is a gloomy place,
A dark place--but roomy, true--
A dark and rheumy place.
I am in its very bottom
And do not hope to see the sunshine.
Ne'er again, no, no, no, no,
Not ever in my life forever
Shall I see again those days
I took for granted so. Say I:
If I run a hundred miles that way,
A thousand miles this,
If I dig a million down,
It'll all still be nil,
Abyss. Similar. Same. Abyss.
O, O, O, O, North and South and East and West--
Stop sign, I. No way, egress nyet,
All ways the same way.
And I, come what may, will never
Change, can never age.
I am like a big-headed child
Mourning mangled Teddy
(on the chilly Transvaal).
I am, I am, like
A Deity without a Creature.
I am--already--feelin' giddy.
But there is no place
to fall to
to fall down no
no different from up

- N.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Flags Of The World

Venezuela Iran

North Korea

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Everybody Loves Jon Klane

Today is Monday, the day to get done all those things I should have done gotten done over the weekend:

1. I have to write a series of synopses of American films that could be remade, for cheap, in Russia.

2. I have to finish a proofreading pass and minor tweaking of "Fortune and The Devil".

But hold on a minute...

Do I HAVE to do these things? Or do I GET to do them?

Have to.

"Everybody Loves Raymond" did very well at the Emmys, didn't it. I like this a lot. A lot.

The reason I like it a lot is because I think it might help me get just that much closer to my dreams of wealth, fame, and power over my fellow man. My manager, Jon Klane, is the producer of Ray Romano's new feature film "Grilled", which New Line will release next year. I saw a screening of it last month. It's a 70's style buddy comedy with very good performances - particularly from Ray, who could be a fine full-time dramatic actor if he wanted.

I encourage everyone on the planet, and elsewhere, to go see "Grilled", for as my manager grows in power and influence, gaining ever greater strength to crush his enemies, I too shall rise with him. And I shall wreak a terrible vengeance on all those in my past who did not give me what I wanted. They shall pay and they shall beg me for mercy. And will I give it? Will I give the mercy? Who knows? It remains to be seen. I am not an unjust god, but when I do not get what I think I want, then, lo, beware ye peoples of Sodom!

In the meantime, I shall lurk deep beneath the surface of the earth - like Sauron, or some other bad guy nursing his resentment - gathering my dark and unwholesome powers, plotting the fall of my adversaries, and, yea, even this very day, shall I write up this set of Russian remakes and, yea, shall I finish the proofreading of the stirring adventure tale "Fortune and the Devil", and truly shall I then set my mighty hand to the commencement of my new awesome and awe-inspiring new motion picture screenplay - which is a romantic comedy set in a pet store.

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Today is Not Monday

Usually I avoid working on Sundays, because when you work on Sundays, you often get lots of stuff done, then on Monday you're left with nothing to do but sit around and relax and praise the Lord. And the last thing I want to do is have a relaxed, praise-a-riffic Monday. No, I prefer a stressed, unpleasant, end-of-the-world-is-nigh kind of Monday. That is why I have so far ignored the two projects I have due tomorrow (i.e., Monday). Yes, I want to wake bright and early with that feeling of dread pounding in my chest. I can already taste the lump of terror climbing up my throat and through my tongue to find a permanent home in my tightly clenched scalp. Oh, yes, I can feel the regret, the terrible regret that I agreed to take on these projects in the first place. And I can hear the series of possible excuses leaking into the mind, the half-plausible alibis that may buy me just one more day. Ah, so lovely.

Nope, no work for me today. Tomorrow, yes. But today, I relax.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005


crow, n.

[OE. cráwe f., corresp. to OS. kráia, MLG. kráge, kráe, krá, LG krae, kreie. MDu. kraeye, Du. kraai, OHG. chráwa, chrája, chrá, crawa, cra, MHG. krae, kráwe, krá, Ger. krähe; a WG. deriv. of the vb. cráwan, cráian to Crow, q.v.]

1. A bird of the genus Corvus; in England commonly applied to the Carrion Crow (Corvus Corone), "a large black bird that feeds upon the carcasses of beasts" (Johnson); in the north of England, Scotland, and Ireland to the Rook, C. frugilegus; in U.S. to a closely allied gregarious species. C. americanus.

700 "Epinal. Gloss." 2 i, Cornacula, crauuae.
800 "Erfurt Gl." 308, Cornix, crauua.
a. 800 "Corpus Gl." 401, Carula, crauue.
c.1000 "Psalms" cxlvi, 10, Se selth nytenum mete heora, and briddum craan cigendum hine.
1250 "Owl & Night", Pinnuc goldfinch rock ne crowe Ne dar thar never cumen.
c.1290 "S. Eng. Leg.", Black foule...Ase it crowene and rokes weren.
1382 Wycliff, "Gen." viii. 7, Noe...sente out a crow.
1485 "Bk. St. Albans", A Roke or a Crow or a Reuyn.
1553 Eden "Treat. Newe Ind.", The Priestes take the meete that is left, and geue it to the crowes to eate.
1575 Churchyard "Chippes", They wysht at home they had bene keping crooes.
1605 Shakespeare "Macbeth", Light thickens, and the Crow Makes Wing toth' Rookie Wood.
1766 Pennant "Zool.", Rooks are socialble birds, living in vast flocks: crows go only in pairs.
1817-18 Cobbett "Resid. U.S.", They keep in flocks, like rooks (called crows in America).
1842 Tennyson "locksley Hall", As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.
1882 Swainson "Prov. Names Birds", 'Crow' is common to rook and carrion crow alike.

2. With qualifications, as Hooded, Kentish, or Royston Crow, Corvus Cornix; Red-legged Crow, C. Graculus; Fish Crow of America, C. ossifragus or C. caurinus; Carrion-crow, etc. Also applied to birds outside the genus or family, as Mire Crow, Sea Crow, names for Larus ridibundus; Scare Crow, the Black Tern (Hydrochelidon nigra); Blue Crow, a crow-like jay of N. America, Gymnocitta cyanocephala; Piping Crows, the birds of the sub-family Gymnorhininae or Streperinae; and others

1875 W. McIlwraith "Guide Wigtownshire", These cliffs are frequented by the Cornish chough or red-legged crow.

3. In phrases and proverbial sayings as: "A black as a crow", "The crow thinks its own bird fairest (or white)", etc. A "white crow", ie. a rara avis. To "eat crow": to be forced to do something extremely disagreeable and humiliating.

4. The southern constellation Corvus, the Raven.

5. A bar of iron usually with one end slightly bent and sharpened to a beak, used as a lever or prise: a crow-bar.

1458 Turner "Dom. Archit." III, Than crafti men for the querry made crowes of yre.
1555 Eden "Decades", Longe crowes of iren to lyfte great burdens.
1590 Shakespeare "Comedy of Errors", Well, I'll breake in: go borrow me a crow.
1676 "Phil. Trans. ", The Mine-men do often strike such forcible strokes with a great Iron-crow.
1888 Rider Haggard "Col. Quaritch" xl, Driving the sharp point of the heavy crow into the rubble work.

6. A grappling hook, a grapnel. Obs.

1727-51 Chambers "Cycl.", Crow: in the sea-language, a machine with an iron hook, for fastening hold, and grappling with the enemies vessel.

7. An ancient kind of door-knocker. Obs.

1637 N. Whiting "Albino & Bell", Who...Knockt at the wicket with the iron crow / To whose small neck white phillets here were tyede / Which in more ancient dayes did child-bed show"

8. Thieves' slang. One who keeps watch while another steals.

1862 "Cornh. Mag.", Occasionally they (women) assist at a burglary - remaining outside and keeping watch; they are then called crows.

9. In Alchemy, a color of ore, or of substances in a certain state. Obs.

10. Mining. Used attrib. to denote a poor or impure bed of coal, limestone, etc.

1852 "Jrnal R. Agric. Soc.", Small beds of the kind called crow coal (only useful for burning lime).

11. Crowing (of a cock)

1386 Chaucer "Miller's Tale", I shall at cokkes crow Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe.

12. The mesentery of an animal.

1804 Farley "Lond. Art of Cookery", The harslet, which consists of the liver, crow, kidneys, and skirts.
1818 "Yng. Woman's Companion", The liver and crow are much admired fried with bacon.

crow, v. intr.

[OE. cráwan strong vb. (créow, cráwen), which in other WGerm. languages is weak: OS. craian (MDu. kraeijen, Du. kraaijen, MLG. kreien, LG. kraien, kreien), OHG. chráian, cráwan, cráen, (MHG. crájen, cráen, krájen, kráen, mod. G. krähen) Originally an echoic word, and prob. of WG. origin. The strong pa. t. is still prevalent in sense bu1 but in 2, 3, the weak for m is used, the strong pa. pple. is only dialectal]

1. To utter the loud cry of a cock; also rarely of other cries, as that of the raven.
1592 Shakespeare, "Rom. & Jul." IV iv, The second Cocke hath crow'd
1874 Dasent "Tales fr. Field", He stood on one leg and crew.

2. Of persons: To utter a loud inarticulate sound of joy of exultation; said esp. of the joyful cry of an infant.
1863 Thackeray "D. Duval", The baby...would...crow with delight.

3. fig. To speak in exultation; to exult loudly, boast , swagger. "To crow over": to triumph over
1588 J. Udall "Demonstr. Discip.", They crow over them as if they were their slaves.
1776 Johnson "Lett. To Mrs. Thrale", Nay, He crows and triumphs.
1841 J. H. Newman "Letters", We must not crow till we are out of the wood.

--per "The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary", Oxford University Press 1971

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 2

Today, we feature more excerpts from "The Edo Cat Haikus" by the 17th century master, Hanatō Fukui:

You are a vampire!
Folks tell lies, say you're a cat.
Pelt you with garlic.


Last night I was drunk.
But you, cat, stayed home with me.
You're my only friend.


Kyoto cats yowl,
Terrifying shrieks from Hell.
I have wet the bed.

Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 1 | Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 3

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Thursday, September 15, 2005


I'm feeling a little depressed lately, you know. Can't say exactly why. Or how. Or what. Or who. Or why. One of the features of my particular type of depression (if we call it a "type") is that I seldom know when I am in a depression. I notice that I have no energy, ambition, desire, or feelings of happiness, but it would never occur to me that I was depressed. Slowly but surely I am learning to identify it, thus allowing me to go from "What a hideous existence! All is toys!!" to "Hm, depressive symptoms. Trippy. Maybe I'll go eat breakfast."

It has been an eventful month or two. I'm guessing that I'm probably feeling a little raw from all The Recent Ruckus. What is The Recent Ruckus, you ask?

- I finished the newest screenplay, executed some rewrites for my manager, not crazy about the rewrites, still something sticking in my craw about it - it could be better, it's not everything I hoped it would be, I have failed, etc.

- My brother was in the thick of one of the worst American disasters ever, and for days we had no idea whether he was alive or dead - he's safe now with Mum & Dad. Despite my gratitude, I am experiencing a post-adrenaline crash - like how you might feel in the late afternoon after eating a breakfast of Froot Loops, chocolate cake, and Hawaiian Punch.

- All the uses of this world seem to me weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.

- I restarted therapy after an 8 month break. A sort of six-months-on, six-months-off pattern seems to work well for me. 'This may be a significant factor, because nothing is more depressing than talking about yourself for an hour each week. Of course, it's possible that I'm now facing up to how I really feel about things rather than keeping my head buried in the sand of manically grinning, busy-body energeticisms.

- Our Iomega external hard drive crashed way hard - without backup (I know! I know! Get off my back already!). Iomega is charging an arm and a leg to retrieve the data. I have no arms or legs to spare. I would bad-mouth Iomega and urge all readers to avoid buying their hard drives, but I'm afraid that if I do they will ask for even more arms and legs.

- Dickens the Cat - the adorable, black, sleek, rambuctious kitten we have fostered - has left us for a new home and we are forlorn and sere.

- I haven't been drinking or using drugs lately - and when I say lately, I mean 10 years last month - and this will certainly get a body down in the dumps.

- And finally, Things Are Going Well: I'm in a bit of a work resurgence - what with the finishing of a new script, development of my web presence, regular t-shirt design, writing poems about ichthyosaurs and haikus about cats, and brewing up a series of half a dozen other projects. My wife and I laugh and laugh and seem to really be enjoying ourselves. Tonight I'm going to see Meryl Streep, David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh read a stage piece written by Charlie Kaufman and scored by Carter Burwell. And when Things Are Going Well, I begin to worry and dread the inevitable Day That Things Stop Going Well.
I'm looking forward to reading y'all's therapeutic suggestions. I've already received some very helpful ones:
  • "Cheer up!"
  • "You think you have problems?"
  • "Poor babeeeee!!"

As well as:

  • "Perhaps you might accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior."
  • "Your problem is you think about yourself too much. Why don't you try thinking about ME for a change?"
  • "Patroclus! O, Patroclus!" (still don't know what this one is about)

And so, in conclusion, we can see that depression has many causes, and can be a source of much amusement in our modern American lifestyles.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hanatō's Cat Haikus

Many people the world over revere the Japanese poet Bashō (1644 - 1694), master of the Haiku. Bashō was to the Haiku what Shake-speare was to the sonnet - in some sense simultaneously creating the form and perfecting it.

Not as many are familiar with Bashō's contemporary, Hanatō Fukui (1650 - 1713).

Among Hanatō's most famous works are his "Ode To Milk", "Rumination On An Infection", and, of course, his "Argument Against Mildness". He is most renowned however for his sequence of cat Haikus, written throughout his life and finally collected and published posthumously in 1733 in a volume entitled simply "The Edo Cat Haikus". The original work featured illustrations that Hanatō himself had executed over many years.

We feature today a sampling of three of Hanatō's magnificent pieces, from the new translation by Trini Savitch:

So many cats around,
So many goddamn cats.
They're freaking me out.


I wake in the ditch,
Face-down in fishy vomit.
Mine? The alley cat's?


Cat licks his behind.
Full moon makes all pure and white.
Cat licks his behind.

(look for the published "The Edo Cat Haikus" at your local bookstore in Spring 2006)

Hanatō's Cat Haikus, Pt. 2

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Spell with Flickr

Letter RAredBdsc05248iT


lopes_cOne Letter / RO 0W

Thanks to Erik Kastner for breaking the Text/Image barrier. Some of us (more than you would think!) can see only words and are unable to comprehend the meaning of pictures and images. Erik's useful tool will finally make it possible for those so handicapped to take advantage of the Flickr photo service in ways that until now only those able to see pictures have been able to.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

National Weather Service Katrina Forecast

National Weather Service message from Sunday, Sept. August 28, 10:11 Central Time, prior to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina:

"Devastating damage expected. Hurricane Katrina. A most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength rivaling the intensity of hurricane Camille of 1969. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fall, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. The majority of industrial buildings will become non-functional, partial to complete wall and roof failures expected, all wood-frame low-rising apartment buildings will be destroyed, concrete block low-rise apartments will sustain major damage including some wall and roof failure. High-rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously, a few to the point of total collapse. All windows will blow out."

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Francis Bacon Quotes

3 Quotes from Artist FRANCIS BACON from David Sylvester's "Interviews with Francis Bacon":

"I think I'm one of those people who have a gift for always getting by somehow. Even if it's a case of stealing or something like that. I don't feel any moral thing against it. I suppose that's an extremely egocentric attitude. It would be a nuisance to be caught and put in prison, but I don't have any feeling about stealing. Now that I earn money, it would be a kind of a stupid luxury to go out and steal. But when I had no money, I think I often used to take what I could get."

"I think I even might make a film; I might make a film of all the images which have crowded into my brain, which I remember and haven't used. After all, most of my paintings are to do with images. I never look at a painting, hardly. If I go to the National Gallery and I look at one of the great paintings that excite me there, it's not so much the painting that excites me as that the painting unlocks all kinds of valves of sensation within me which return me to life more violently. I might make a film, but that would be even more complicated because I wouldn't be able ever to find the image which I can make with my painting."

"...If you are going to decide to be a painter, you have got to decide that you are not going to be afraid of making a fool of yourself. I think another thing is to be able to find subjects which really absorb you to try and do. I feel that without a subject you automatically go back into decoration because you haven't got the subject which is always eating into you to bring it back - and the greatest art always returns you to the vulnerability of the human situation. "

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Sunday, September 11, 2005


Last night I watched Roman Polanski's "Macbeth" (1971). I had checked it out from Netflix months ago and never watched it, sent it back, then checked it out again weeks ago, and only last night sat down to see it.

Zounds, what a fool's part was this, my ill-conceived delay! For the film is a work most artful and in all ways excellent! O, I do lament my late reluctance!

It is surely one of the best Shake-speare to film adaptations, and one of the best visions of the Middle Ages put on screen. And it features fight scenes brilliantly choreographed by The Master, William Hobbs. How ridiculous - embarrassing really - that I haven't seen the film until now, since I do love the Middle Ages, Shake-speare, and William Hobbs choreography all - not to mention that my most recent screenplay was set in the Middle Ages and I, supposedly, was researching it thoroughly.

Talking with a friend today about Roman Polanski and his films, I reflected on how relatively few of them I have seen - only the highlights really:

Repulsion (1965) - my favorite Polanski so far
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Macbeth (1971)
Chinatown (1974)
The Pianist (2002)

What a fine director Roman Polanski is! How his sensibilities do coincide with my own! By the gods, I hereby commit publically to watching ALL THE POLANSKI FILMS AVAILABLE!

Now to my word...I have sworn't....

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Cutting Hare - Reprise

For those of you who missed the ruckus over my 8/5/2005 post about the Cutting Hare (the only venomous member of the rabbit family), I here re-post in full the terrible pack of lies that besmirched not only my name, but the name of the poor innocent Cutting Hare its own self.

You may also enjoy the continuing series of disgusting falsehoods which followed the original Cutting Hare post:

Brush Hare (Lepus saurensis) - 8/6/2005


Lepus californicus - 8/7/2005


Oh, and be sure to SAVE THE CUTTING HARE by buying a t-shirt or poster at the Rabbit + Crow Shop!


Readers know that I am fascinated by the natural world. My wife and I can hardly be asked to dinner without steering the conversation toward the brilliance of David Attenborough's various nature series. So here's post #1, of who knows how many, about the world's coolest animals.

The Cutting Hare of South Asia - which was named the "Wolf Hare" by Europeans (a designation expressed in its taxonomic name Lepus lupus) - is one of only a handful of venomous mammals in the world, and the only venomous member of the order Lagomorpha (which include rabbits, hares and pikas). The male Platypus, also the only egg-laying mammal, has a sharp, hollow spur on the inside of each ankles, which is connected to a gland which produces a very strong toxin. The primitive Solenodon of Haiti and Cuba has grooves in its front teeth which channel venom. Short-tailed Shrews too have venom that is used to paralyze their prey for later eating.

(false-color electron microscope image of envenomation spurs on tongue of Lepus lupus - courtesy PsiTec Images)

The Cutting Hare has thousands of microscopic "spines" on its tongue, making its texture a little like a cat's tongue - but you don't want the Cutting Hare licking you for too long. The spines in the tongue help to retain an envenomed saliva, which is secreted when the Cutting Hare feels threatened. Anyone who was nipped as a child by a pet hamster knows that a pair of well-exercised incisors can deliver a nasty bite. The Cutting Hare when cornered by predatory animals such as Eagles or Owls, or even snakes like the Indian Cobra or Python, becomes, for a moment, the most unrabbit-like of the rabbit family.

A Cutting Hare will dig in with its powerful incisors, sometimes clinging for three or four seconds, and with tongue thrusts it will "scrub" its toxic saliva into the bite wound. Only then does it fall back into line with the behavior of its relatives and dash like mad for safety. At least one Cutting Hare was seen to cling to its would-be Eagle predator even as the fleeing Eagle was taking to the air.

The toxin is not strong enough to seriously threaten a predator. But there is enough irritation caused by the combination of bite and venom that predators are unlikely to stick around for a second try and will be occupied in soothing the burning wound rather than hunting, and will probably move along to look for easier pickings. This may explain why birds of prey are seldom seen attacking fully grown adult Cutting Hares. In fact, birds of prey and Cutting Hares have occasionally been seen sharing the same patch of ground, apparently observing an uneasy truce.

It has been suggested that the Cutting Hare's own toxin helps give it a limited immunity from the venom of some of its predators, such as the Indian Cobra. Cutting Hares have been reported to survive Cobra bites that would likely have killed other mammals of similar size.

The Cutting Hare is listed as Endangered. Much of its natural habitat has been lost due to human cultivation and settlement, forestry, grazing; also predation by dogs.


Range: Eastern Asian subcontinent from Eastern India to Bangladesh to southern Nepal.

Habitat: Prefers tall grass-scrub savanna, in flat, thinly forested country.

Social Organization: Not gregarious, sometimes lives in male-female pairs.
Venomous: Symptoms include itching and burning sensation; only one fatality known due to rare allergic reaction.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

SAVE THE CUTTING HARE! (new t-shirt)

As promised, the new Rabbit + Crow t-shirt design is available today!

This month's design calls attention to the plight of the CUTTING HARE, the WORLD'S ONLY VENOMOUS LAGOMORPH!

Remember: the Cutting Hare is not a real animal.

It is entirely fictitious.

But if it were real animal, it would be

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dr. Phil?

Does Dr. Phil have Down Syndrome?

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Orleans "Horror"

I was spending a lot of my weekend blaming human selfishness and arrogance for the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

But then, I started doing some research and I realize now that New Orleans had it coming all along. New Orleans brought this disaster upon itself, on account of the great EVILS that have been committed therein.

Now I feel a lot better about everything.

I want you to have the benefit of my research, because I want you to feel better about everything too. So, here are:

10 Horror Movies Set In /Around New Orleans
  1. Angel Heart (1987)
  2. The Black Cat (1966)
  3. Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh (1995)
  4. Cat People (1982)
  5. Dracula 2000 (2000)
  6. Interview With The Vampire (1994)
  7. The Monster and the Stripper (1969)
  8. The Mummy's Curse (1944)
  9. The Skeleton Key (2005)
  10. The Unholy (1988)


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Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

Today is the anniversary of my wife and I, well, you know..."hooking up" in 1998.

Today is also LABOR DAY.

Today is also the first day in a week that my brother woke up in a bed.

Today we celebrate.

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sean Romanek - Escape From New Orleans

News, finally, from my brother, Sean:

The last we heard from him, Thursday, he was in New Orleans, about to board a bus for Houston. But - as we had feared - he never got on that bus. It may have been around the time that the Houston Astrodome had reached capacity and the evacuation had to be rethought, or possibly he was just standing in a very, very, very, very long line that he only reached the end of last night.

My parents got a call from Sean this afternoon. They then called me to say that he had been at the New Orleans Convention Center, until late last night, when he was finally evacuated to Texas, arriving there around 4am this morning. Having told authorities that he had family who would fly him out of the area, my brother was shuttled to Fort Smith, Arkansas. He called my parents from there, and a flight was arranged immediately.

Sean is scheduled to get on a flight this afternoon, from Fort Smith to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, then another flight from Dallas/Forth Worth to Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, where my family will meet him (they are buying a big "welcome cake" as we speak).

No one in my family is likely to be sad today, though I imagine there will be plenty of tears.

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New Orleans - Mayor Nagin Interview

Below is the transcript of the radio interview given by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Thurs., Sept. 2, 2005, on WWL-AM. The transcript begins with Nagin's answer to a question about his meeting with President Bush:

Nagin: I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we're outmanned in just about every respect. You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. ... You pull off the doggone ventilator vent and you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their freaking necks. And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed.

WWL: Did you say to the president of the United States, "I need the military in here"?

Nagin: I said, "I need everything." Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is [Lt.] Gen. [Russel] Honore. And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done. They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

WWL: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

Nagin: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans." That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy. I've got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It's bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. ... We don't have anything, and we're sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish. It's awful down here, man.

WWL: Do you believe that the president is seeing this, holding a news conference on it but can't do anything until [Louisiana Gov.] Kathleen Blanco requested him to do it? And do you know whether or not she has made that request?

Nagin: I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this, and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you. We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak. You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

WWL: Who'd you say that to?

Nagin: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it. And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people ... stayed there and endangered their lives. And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city, and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people. In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there. So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of action.

WWL: Why couldn't they drop the 3,000-pound sandbags or the containers that they were talking about earlier? Was it an engineering feat that just couldn't be done?

Nagin: They said it was some pulleys that they had to manufacture. But, you know, in a state of emergency, man, you are creative, you figure out ways to get stuff done. Then they told me that they went overnight, and they built 17 concrete structures and they had the pulleys on them and they were going to drop them. I flew over that thing yesterday, and it's in the same shape that it was after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here.

WWL: If some of the public called and they're right, that there's a law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

Nagin: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We did that a few days ago.

WWL: Did the governor do that, too?

Nagin: I don't know. I don't think so. But we called for martial law when we realized that the looting was getting out of control. And we redirected all of our police officers back to patrolling the streets. They were dead-tired from saving people, but they worked all night because we thought this thing was going to blow wide open last night. And so we redirected all of our resources, and we hold it under check. I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources. And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them. Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it. You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's the reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drugstores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will. And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.

WWL: Well, you and I must be in the minority. Because apparently there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done as good as it can possibly be.

Nagin: Really?

WWL: I know you don't feel that way.

Nagin: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request? You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important? And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

Nagin: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places. Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man. You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly. And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

WWL: What can we do here?

Nagin: Keep talking about it.

WWL: We'll do that. What else can we do?

Nagin: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something. This is ridiculous. I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count. Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

WWL: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that the people listening to you are on your side.

Nagin: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

WWL: We're both pretty speechless here.

Nagin:Yeah, I don't know what to say. I got to go.

WWL: OK. Keep in touch. Keep in touch.

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Innovative Emergency Incorporated

Innovative Emergency Management company was paid last year to provide a plan for managing a hurricane disaster. This was described in a press release on their site, now removed:

IEM, Inc., the Baton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

I would be very interested to know what emergency management plans they helped to develop

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sean Romanek - Still Trying To Locate

(photo taken July, 2005)

Dear Texans,

As of this writing, my family has not heard from my older brother, Sean, since a brief phone exchange on Thursday in which he conveyed that he was about to board a bus departing from New Orleans to Texas.

We assume he got on that bus, but whether he arrived in Houston or was diverted to another city somewhere, we have no idea.

I got a brief hang-up call this morning, from a phone which Caller ID revealed to have a Florida Keys area code. When I called the number back, I got only a brief "operator-style" recording in Spanish. Phone services in the Southeast are not what they were - as you may have seen on television - so there's no telling who that might have been, though it certainly is possible it was a person with a Florida Keys area code cellphone calling from somewhere in Texas with heaps of good news about my brother's safety and healthy condition. I hope so.

I and my family are concerned because Sean would not have voluntarily been out of touch this long. And there is something of a ticking clock at work. Sean needs daily medication, in strict dosages, to stay healthy. Skipping even one of those dosages could precipitate a relapse and real disaster.

If y'all have any information about my brother, Sean Alan Romanek - 6' 6" slim, white 45-year-old white male with a tattoo on his right forearm - reply to this blog immediately or contact me personally at:




If it's any help - not that I'm asking for special treatment - you may choose to consider the fact that I myself am a Texan, born in Abilene, so...REMEMBER THE ALAMO! And FIND MY BROTHER!

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New Orleans - Photo

Woman with elderly patient outside New Orleans Convention Center.

- from an article in The Guardian.co.uk.

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Houston - Viva Halliburton!

Have not heard from my brother Sean since yesterday when he was getting on a bus at the New Orleans Veterans Center, bound for Houston, the largest city in Texas.

We assume Sean is at the Houston Astrodome and that, being one of thousands who are trying to use the phone, is not able to contact us yet. By last account he had a change of clothes and was doing alright. We assume he has essential medication. My parents and I will be staying by our phones all weekend.

The Halliburton Company is based in Houston. Halliburton and its numerous subsidiaries have been some of the principle suppliers of services to the U.S. Armed Services in Iraq. I wonder if Halliburton execs are excited about the tremendous opportunity to show off their expertise and efficiency by providing facilities and food for the thousands of hurricane refugees showing up in their home town.

In other Halliburton news: Halliburton Co. signed a contract earlier this week to clean up and repair hurricane damage at three Gulf Coast navy bases.

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Friday, September 02, 2005


From www.whitehouse.gov:

President Arrives in Alabama, Briefed on Hurricane Katrina

Mobile Regional Airport
Mobile, Alabama

10:35 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first I want to say a few things. I am incredibly proud of our Coast Guard. We have got courageous people risking their lives to save life. And I want to thank the commanders and I want to thank the troops over there for representing the best of America.

I want to congratulate the governors for being leaders. You didn't ask for this, when you swore in, but you're doing a heck of a job. And the federal government's job is big, and it's massive, and we're going to do it. Where it's not working right, we're going to make it right. Where it is working right, we're going to duplicate it elsewhere. We have a responsibility, at the federal level, to help save life, and that's the primary focus right now. Every life is precious, and so we're going to spend a lot of time saving lives, whether it be in New Orleans or on the coast of Mississippi.

We have a responsibility to help clean up this mess, and I want to thank the Congress for acting as quickly as you did. Step one is to appropriate $10.5 billion. But I've got to warn everybody, that's just the beginning. That's a small down payment for the cost of this effort. But to help the good folks here, we need to do it.

We are going to restore order in the city of New Orleans, and we're going to help supplement the efforts of the Mississippi Guard and others to restore order in parts of Mississippi. And I want to thank you for your strong statement of zero tolerance. The people of this country expect there to be law and order, and we're going to work hard to get it. In order to make sure there's less violence, we've got to get food to people. And that's a primary mission, is to get food to people. And there's a lot of food moving. And now the -- it's one thing to get it moving to a station, it's the next thing to get it in the hands of the people, and that's where we're going to spend a lot of time focusing.

We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)

GOVERNOR RILEY: He'll be glad to have you.

THE PRESIDENT: Out of New Orleans is going to come that great city again. That's what's going to happen. But now we're in the darkest days, and so we got a lot of work to do. And I'm down here to thank people. I'm down here to comfort people. I'm down here to let people know that we're going to work with the states and the local folks with a strategy to get this thing solved.

Now, I also want to say something about the compassion of the people of Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana and surrounding states. I want to thank you for your compassion. Now is the time to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourselves.

Governor Riley announced the fact that they're going to open up homes in military bases for stranded folks. And that's going to be very important and helpful.

My dad and Bill Clinton are going to raise money for governors' funds. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will have monies available to them to help deal with the long-term consequences of this storm.

The faith-based groups and the community-based groups throughout this part of the world, and the country for that matter, are responding. If you want to help, give cash money to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. That's where the first help will come. There's going to be plenty of opportunities to help later on, but right now the immediate concern is to save lives and get food and medicine to people so we can stabilize the situation.

Again, I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day.

Again, my attitude is, if it's not going exactly right, we're going to make it go exactly right. If there's problems, we're going to address the problems. And that's what I've come down to assure people of. And again, I want to thank everybody.

And I'm not looking forward to this trip. I got a feel for it when I flew over before. It -- for those who have not -- trying to conceive what we're talking about, it's as if the entire Gulf Coast were obliterated by a -- the worst kind of weapon you can imagine. And now we're going to go try to comfort people in that part of the world.

Thank you. (Applause.)

END 10:39 A.M. CDT

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New Orleans - FUN QUIZ!

I was impressed by the massive, highly sophisticated police and security presence at the two political conventions last year, but the response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina has been really been staggering. Don't you think?

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE of "U.S. Might & Readiness" by taking this TRUE OR FALSE FUN-QUIZ:

1.) New Orleans is one of the poorest urban centers in the U.S. and has one of the country's lowest percentages of car ownership. A higher percentage of people own cars in New York City than in New Orleans.

- True.

2.) Armed with this knowledge, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) was ready to bus thousands of those people to safety when orders were given to evacuate New Orleans, well before the Hurricane Katrina hit.

- False.

3.) The director of FEMA, Michael Brown, said today: "Unfortunately, (the death toll) is going to be attributable to a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings...I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans."

- False. Michael Brown did not say that today, he said it yesterday.

4.) Michael Brown also said that the situation in New Orleans was "going badly".

- False. Michael Brown said the situation in New Orleans was going "relatively well".

5.) White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said at a press conference this week: "Flood control has been a priority of this administration since day one."

- Yep. He sure did.

6.) President Bush was photographed playing the guitar while people in New Orleans were suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

- False. President Bush was photographed holding a guitar he was presented by country singer, Mark Wills , after giving a speech about Medicare. I do not know for certain whether or not the President can play the guitar.

7.) Within minutes of sunrise on Tuesday morning, even as the Hurricane Katrina was passing, FEMA authorities established bases all along the coast. You could hardly see the sky for helicopters. Millions of dollars in aid was ready to be spent immediately. Supermarkets were turned into government-subsidized supply stations and their contents distributed as quickly as possible. And the Louisiana National Guard was deployed in full.

- Not true.

8.) More food, water and survival supplies were dropped in the Mississippi Delta over the past week than were dropped over Afghanistan in the first month of "Operation Infinite Justice" (aka "Operation Enduring Freedom").

- I don't know the answer to this question. Do you? (score yourself ONE FREE POINT)

9.) Most of the looting in New Orleans has been of jewelry shops, electronics stores, car dealerships, gun shops, appliance centers and banks.

- Have no hard data on which to formulate an answer to this. Do you? (score yourself ANOTHER FREE POINT)

10.) Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said: "Man has again triumphed over nature. Our domestic response coordination systems, already in place to respond to terrorist attack, have worked even better than we had hoped. We had foreknowledge of this disaster and that gave us an edge, but I want the American people to be assured that we will respond with the same efficiency, quick response and overwhelming technical and human resources support in any sudden surprise terrorist attack."

- False. No one in the government is known to have said anything like this.


Study the two pictures below. One is a picture of an abiding symbol of American wealth and prosperity. One is a symbol of the cultural legacy of the Mississippi Delta. Which is which?

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