Tuesday, July 12, 2005

on hurricane thinking...

the beach bum

Background: I grew up in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, & Ma beach bum still lives there. Bro beach bum is in the process of trying to find employment such that he moves back there.

With that said, I have heard some strange things in the past few days related to hurricanes:

--"I'd give anything to fly in a hurricane hunter through a storm" (I agree...well, maybe not anything...but it would be very cool!)

--"What's the big deal about a hurricane, anyway?"

--(relatedly) "Why so much obsessive new coverage during Dennis?"

--"It was only a minor storm"

and then this from several folks here in S. MS, about 70 miles inland & 90 miles northwest of Mobile, AL (drum roll):

"Dang...I'm sooo disappointed that Dennis missed us" or "I'd love to be on the coast during a hurricane"

Basically, the previous thought is only uttered by those who have never lived on the coast when a hurricane struck. FYI, the beach bum has ridden out 2 storms on the coast, one in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, & one in Miami. I won't ride out another if I can help it! I'm struck by the randomness of it all. One house has virtually no damage; next door is a total disaster. One area of town has very little storm surge, another area of the same town is buried under water. One tree falls harmlessly in the back yard; another cuts a house in half. You get the idea.

I'm glad I've ridden out a hurricane, but I do not recommend it. One time was sheer stupidity & belligerence on my part (Miami). The other was bad luck. Ma beach bum & I got caught when one turned about 90 degrees & raced ashore. The turn caught a bunch of folks by surprise.

So I've been lucky twice.

As to "minor storm", here's an analogy for you. There's a humorous saying that goes like this: "Minor surgery is defined as surgery performed on someone else." I apply that same reasoning to hurricanes. A minor hurricane is one that strikes somewhere neither you nor any of your loved ones live. Ask residents of Navarre if they thought it was "minor". Ask residents of St. Marks--about 100 miles away from landfall--if they thought it was minor. You get the idea.

Now that ride on the hurricane hunter, on the other hand,...I'd love to make that one happen...

OK, I'm out.
the beach bum

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live 8

the beach bum
A brief note on the Live 8 concert...

First, the Pink Floyd set was absolutely awesome! (That's the only set I saw...and one of the few I cared to see) Those boys still have it, after all the years & miles & age & arguments. Hard to believe they haven't played together in 24 years...

Now the idea behind it all...
Noble-minded. Compassionate. But fixing a shark bite with a band aid. Much is said in this country about "root cause." Until the root cause of famine in Africa is addressed, all the Live 8s & debt forgivenesses in the world won't solve the problem. The issue is corruption at the highest levels of government in the famine-torn regions of Africa. I read that one of the former dictatorial leaders of a small-ish country in Western Africa looted the oil fields of an amount approximately equal to their entire output over a several-year period. Which, of course, renders oil money useless to solve problems.

Also, I disagree with the anti-corporation, anti-money sentiment prevalent @ Live 8 & @ the G8 protests. Um, hello? With no money, how exactly are we in the affluent parts of the world going to help those in the less affluent regions? That darn logic rears its ugly head.

Finally, the self-importance of some of the artists involved. Cold Play's singer gushing that "this is the greatest event in the history of the world." Hmmm...the Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the Rise & Fall of communism in Russia, the discovery of penicillen, the defeat of Hitler, the publication of the works of Shakespear, the work of Beethoven, Bach & Mozart,...not to mention the invention of written language,...and, of course, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ...

Surely those are contenders...*sighs a heavy sigh*

I appreciate Bob Geldoff's heart and passion. I enjoyed the clips I did see, of U2, Sir Paul McCartney, and of course, Pink Floyd.

But let us not raise our hopes too high. And I say this with a heavy heart that is burdened for the peoples of Africa. A concert will not solve the problem. Neither will debt forgiveness.

Two words: root cause...