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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Stephanie Abrams, Janis Joplin, and What's-His-Name

Earlier this A.M. the center of Hurricane Rita finally swept in over the beaches of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, and it is now doing the long-predicted damage, though, having had plenty of time and warning, the populace has fled to climes where they can get messed up and messed over far from home, as a storm like this has a long reach. They have abandoned their usual haunts to the policemen, the firemen, and the intrepid crews from the Weather Channel, and that includes the sexiest-looking meteorologist alive, Stephanie Abrams.

Rita's eye hit the beach near where the town of Port Arthur sits on the Texas coast, and here the Weather Channel has fallen down on the job badly. I don't know whether it is out of abysmal ignorance or what, but not once, not once during all the time when I have been watching and listening have they mentioned that Port Arthur's one and only claim to fame, as far as I know, is that it produced the greatest and most vibrant rock singer of them all, Janis Joplin. Of course, that was a long time ago, and having lived much more sensibly than she died, Janis Joplin got out of there just as soon as ever she could. Still you would think that the Weather Channel would find time to mention that circumstance, between the breathless and innumerable reports of wind speeds and wave heights. But no. This omission is inexcusable.

Maybe, however, it's all just as well to the Port Arthur authorities. They may still be chafing at the way that, during a high school reunion there, Janis, in her worldwide fame, lorded it over all those staid conservative classmates who most likely had treated her homely-looking self like dirt and saw her as the most likely to remain totally obscure. --That is so cool, those stark reversals of fate!

Rita's eye also whirled in close to Beaumont, where the Weather Channel's Mike Bettes had stationed himself, and now he is delighted. As I write this, at the dawn of the hurricane's first day over Texas, he is reporting that he and his crew are in "dire straits," because they now find themselves on a newly created "island" surrounded by flood waters "thigh-deep," and now they "can't get out." And this on top of the unquestioned ordeal having been stranded on the highway for nine hours getting there. Too bad. It couldn't have happened to a more insipid guy.

Meanwhile the Channel's acest storm tracker, Jim Cantore, made a tactical mistake and, having done all he could to put a great number of the city's five million citizens out on the road, he has chosen deserted downtown Houston to make his stand ...and not much is happening there, except a few fires -- not your typical hurricane spectacles. He and Bettes should've traded spots. But I guess Cantore can justifiably take great pride in being able to stand there and think how he possibly emptied out "America's fourth largest city" all by himself. Now he is telling people not to hurry back just yet, because of the chance of falling afoul of things on the highways. Their rescuers would be needed to fight the fires.

That marvel of womanhood, even if she does verge on silliness at times and also understandably doesn't suffer from a lack of ego, Stephanie Abrams, is also probably not doing what she had hoped to do, which is to report while the winds are trying to strip off her clothes and the driving rain is attacking her complexion. In previous days she had stayed fixed at one spot on the Galveston seawall, keeping us informed on the height of the wall and the height of the storm surges that would overwhelm it, along with shots of the buildings just beyond the seawall that would inevitably be flooded. I'm sure she hoped to be there at that very moment, for, to her credit, it appears that instead of being tied down to an anchor desk, where she would undoubtedly incur intense jealousy from all the other lady anchors, she seems to prefer being out on all the various storm-lashed shores where the action is.

That climactic moment for her has now passed, unphotograped, though she has been provided with a spectacular fire to show us, in the pre-dawn hours when flames show up to best advantage. The storm may yet produce enough wind to show her to best advantage, though for all the world it looks as if, while still out at sea, Rita weakened and paced herself precisely so as not to grant Ms Abrams the same sort of misplaced wish that seems to have been granted to the late, lamented Miss Janis.

The White House should have taken note, but no, they didn't like my earlier left-handed suggestion, which was to position their figurehead on one of the beaches and show him holding off the storm with merely a fist and some words. What a lack of imagination! What better place for any man than to be out there on the Galveston seawall with Stephanie, during Rita's approach! Instead they packed him off to Colorado. Colorado?

Originally he was supposed to take a sixth foray to Louisiana and Texas to "evaluate," before taking off for the Mountain State where storm surges cannot go. For a few seconds among their many hours of reportage the Weather Channel, as if to support the illusion that this man is the U.S. President, slips in a mention of what he's doing, and the latest is that he's delaying this latest visit, to go to Colorado at once, to "survey." "Survey?" "Evaluate?" Him? --Mysterious doings!


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9:36 AM  

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