Friday, September 30, 2005

Conference Thoughts

I spent all day today at a work conference. Here are some of the random thoughts I took down through the day:

- Why is this guy called "Hon." even though he is not nor has he been a judge?
- Is this woman really old enough to have been on the bench for more than 20 years?
- The guy on this panel is funny, but a little over the top.
- The firefighter chick on this panel is hot.
- The other chick on this panel is hot too. But then she's a victim of sexual harassment, so I suppose that would be wildly inappropriate to say out loud.
- I wish that big fat obnoxious guy in the front row would shut the fuck up already.
- This judge is awesome. I wish he was assigned the case I just filed.
- This defense lawyer chick looks like a total dyke. Sorry.
- This moderator sounds totally gay. Sorry. But he appears to be married. Go fig.
- There are no hot guys in this room, as far as I can tell. Perhaps by the end of the day I'll relax my standards.
- Clearly I ate too many danishes this morning. Damn those continental breakfasts!
- Just my luck that fat obnoxious guy sits at my table during lunch. Who over the age of 12 actually tucks his cloth napkin into his collar during a professional lunch?!?
- Also just my luck that I spy kinda cute guys ... sitting across the banquet hall from me. Wait, maybe the fact that they're far away is what makes them passably cute.
- Man, this lunchtime speaker is boring. But this dessert is damn good.
- Big fat obnoxious guy appears to have shoved parts of napkins into his ears during the post-lunch panels. Because we lawyers are just so loud like that. WTF?
- One of my opposing counsel is here. His picture on his web site doesn't do him justice. Not that he's hot. He just looks better than his web picture.
- This one guy here reminds me of this guy.
- OK, this judge his HOT. Tall skinny shaved-head guy. And smart as hell. Smart is soooo freakin' sexy.

In case you're wondering, yes, it was a pretty productive day.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Les Amis, Qui Sont-Ils?

Sometimes people can surprise you. Sometimes they don't.

I can't tell which is the case with my friend Dee.

Dee and I lost touch after the "shut up" incident. I heartily admit that it was my "fault" (to the extent fault can be allocated at all) – it was, in fact, a conscious decision on my part to cease communications with her, even to the point of resisting speaking to her at a mutual friend's party later. If we are to be honest about it, though, we had been drifting apart well before the precipitating event. I was no longer a part of her life; my segue out of her life was like flipping a light switch to "off" after the circuit has already been tripped. The only difference is that I decided to sever our ties more out of malice; prior to that, we were in the natural and time-honored process of drifting apart.

The more I reflected on it, the more I realized that, more often than not, she was more of an aggravation than a friend; that I was more annoyed by her company than I was happy for it; that I would be better served meeting new friends or concentrating on other friendships than in cultivating this one. The smirk, the sneer, the condescending undertones, the air of superiority – I decided I no longer cared to endure that anymore. So I bailed.

I won't say that the decision to sever a friendship is easy. No matter what the circumstances, it's never easy. And I won't say that I was deliriously happy deleting Dee off of my cell phone. But in the end, my mind won out over my heart and I convinced myself that I was better off without her in my life. It was all good.

From time to time, I did still think about Dee. I thought about whether she thinks about me and my failure to call her. I wondered whether she even notices that I've voluntarily absented myself from her life.

And I couldn't help reaching the conclusion that if she's noticed my absence at all, she either genuinely didn't care, or she convinced herself that she didn't. I imagined conversations she had with our mutual friends, wherein my name would be mentioned and she would just dismissively say, "Dennis!? Yeah, I dunno, he stopped calling. I think he's upset with me, but whatever. If he doesn't call, he doesn't call. Whatever."

But sometimes people still surprise me, even though I've led myself to believe all these years that I've managed to insulate myself from the vagaries of interpersonal relationships.

Dee continues to include me in group emails to her friends, including announcements about an excellent jury verdict her firm obtained, and another in which she is profiled in the Washington Post. (You didn't actually think I'd provide a link to the actual story about her, did you?) While I found the tidbits interesting, my cynical side continued to wonder why she was sharing this information with me, a person with whom she had lost touch. In point of fact, the email announcing the successful jury verdict assumed that we all knew about the trial, because (presumably) she had been telling anyone who would listen about how much of her life it was taking up for the weeks preceding it. I hadn't even heard that she was going to a jury.

Most recently, though, I received an email from her that defied all my expectations of her and our erstwhile relationship. Recognizing one of my life mottos (which I'm sure I'll share with you readers later), she sent me an e-postcard of a popular cartoon character uttering my mantra with a brief message: "I couldn’t resist."

Also on the e-card was a note to the effect that, "I think you hate me."

The cynical side of me says that she doesn't really care whether I do or not. (For the record, I don't hate her: I've simply decided that, on balance, I prefer to be without her company than with.) It tells me that she's just making a random comment intended to be snarky and show me just how little she cares about our dissolved relationship.

And the sappier, more sentimental side of me says that this is her way of reaching out to make some attempt to salvage what we once had, weak as that effort may be.

I'll probably send her an email tomorrow telling her I don't hate her.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Conversation With the Almighty

I recently blogged about right-wing fanaticos who take every opportunity they get to blame liberals and homofags for natural disasters like Katrina. At the time I wrote those words, I mentioned the lack of voices labelling it "God's Will" that two deep-south states -- including the home of Trent Lott -- were destroyed. Matt corrected me to note that, in fact, someone had taken to the airwaves to claim that New Orleans, cesspool of decadence that it is, was in fact destroyed because God decided He didn't like it.

This morning I awoke to headlines and radio reports that Houston is undergoing massive, mandatory evacuation which is not going well. A bus filled with elderly people caught fire, killing its occupants (number yet unknown). Cars are backed up on their way out of Houston, with people making maybe 10 miles per hour out of the city. Compound that with a shortage of gas, meaning some cars are running out of gas on the freeway, further exacerbating things. I heard on the radio that given the chaotic state of evacuation efforts, at this point it makes more sense to stay home than try to avoid Hurricane Rita.

I'm curious to see what kind of conversation the right-wing fanaticos ("RWFs") are having with God about this natural disaster:

RWF: Oh Lord, who are You angry with now?
God: No one. Geez Louise, would you get over that already? I love everyone, or did that message not come through clearly enough in that Bible book you love so much?
RWF: But You sent Hurricane Katrina to destroy the heathen town of New Orleans, and those of us righteous enough to heed Your actions have seen Your awesome wrath. Now You send Hurricane Rita toward Houston. Who can we say inspired Your wrath this time?
God: Bitch, don't make me come down there and bitchslap you personally. I'm not angry at anyone, foo'! Stuff happens sometimes, you know?
RWF: Are you sure it's not feminists or abortionists or ho-mo-sexuals that You're angry with?
God: In Houston? Bitch please.
RWF: There must be a reason!
God: You idiot! If you insist on attributing things to my "vengeance," let's clear up a thing or two. Remember when Pat Robertson said I'd be all P.O.'d by gay flags in Orlando, and that I'd send a hurricane to destroy that place? Remember what happened? Orlando was spared.
RWF: But Katrina....
God: Yeah, that was unfortunate.
RWF: "Unfortunate"? You smote the heathens!
God: Katrina also took out a big part of Biloxi, Mississippi, too, or hadn't you noticed? Are you saying Trent Lott also deserved my wrath?
RWF: Trent Lott is a God-fearing, religious man...
God: ... whose house was destroyed. Find my will in that one, genius.
RWF: But what should we make of Rita?
God: You know you're gonna make of Rita whatever you want to make of Rita, imposing whatever religious and political implications you frigging feel like.
RWF: ...
God: [sighs] Fer cryinoutloud, if you want a reason so bad, here, let me give you one: You mo-fos have invoked my name far too many times for your own hateful purposes. So I sent a hurricane to destroy one of the biggest cities in Texas, where this doofus U.S. President is from, because hopefully then you won't be able to blame my hatred of someone for it.
RWF: ...
God: Or heck, maybe I'm sending the hurricane to Houston to smite you Republicans down there. Ever think of that one, genius?
RWF: That's not something ... that's not something that'll sound good to the people who listen to me.
God: No shit, Sherlock.
RWF: How about illegal immigrants? Those Mex-i-cans. Maybe I can say You're smiting them....
God: Of course! Oh wow, you're right. Because I, who created the heavens and earth, care more about geopolitical boundaries than I do about the well-being of each individual person on the planet.
RWF: But Lord, I must say I don't understand.
God: You haven't understood in a very long time, dude.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Not-So-Purloined Book

The title of the post is based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Purloined Letter," wherein a detective is brought in to find a key piece of paper which no one else seems to be able to find.

I recently went off in search of Guns, Germs & Steel, by Jared Diamond. I'm seeing Mr. Diamond speak at a lecture tomorrow, and I thought I'd get the book signed for my friend Mark, who seems to love the book (which I personally haven't ever read). (After it's signed, I'll hold on to the book for a few months, until I can pass it along as a Christmas gift.)

There I was at Kramerbooks, staring at the shelves of books about American history and politics, and not seeing what I was looking for. I was tired and slightly cranky already, so if they didn't have it, I'd have to hit the Books-A-Million, and I'm not a big fan of the chain stores like that. The guy behind the counter didn't seem like he'd be all that helpful, because he seemed to be pretty engrossed in some kind of telephone call. Not wanting to interrupt him, I continued to stare at the shelf, which I had already determined did not carry the object of my desire.

Finally, another clerk appeared and rang up another customer. (Of course, at around the same time the first clerk got off the phone. Go fig.) Frustrated, I walked up to the available clerk. "Excuse me," I said, "Could you help me find a book?" Though I was tired and cranky, I didn't want to come across like a bitch, so I was trying to moderate my voice. Instead of tired and cranky, I probably came across sound like some meek little old white-haired lady.

"Sure," the clerk said. "Which book?"

"It's called Guns, Germs & Steel," I told him.

"Ah," he said, and, without even punching it into his computer, emerged from behind the counter. He proceeded directly over to the large nonfiction island which dominates most of the room and, almost without looking, reached out and grabbed a copy of the book.

Well before he got to the book, I knew exactly what I was in for: the sheer humiliation and embarrassment that comes from asking for help in locating a product that was, in fact, right in front of your eyes the entire time.

"Here you go," he said, handing it to me. Thankfully, he wasn't terribly pissy about the fact that I made him retrieve for me a book that wasn't more than 6 feet from where I was standing.

"Uh... thanks. Well, that was easy," I tried to make light of it.

Not that he responded, but now I was just on a roll of trying to make light of this ridonkulous situation I had created. "That was your fault," I joked. "I think you hid that book from me."

"Yeah... all, like 27 copies of them," he responded.

Not sensing any sarcasm or pissiness in his voice, I carried on. "Uh... yeah. Exactly. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya."

At which point I signed my credit card receipt and took off outta there.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I is Smart.

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Average

Okay, so it's not the real thing. But it's kinda fun.

Via Kirk.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Not to Speak Ill of the Stupid and the Dead....

Okay, far be it from me to ever laugh in the face of anyone's death, but if anyone profiled in this article end up dead in the next few days from the attack of Hurricane Ophelia, I'm not going to have any sympathy or pity for them what-so-fuckin'-ever.

So, let's get this chronology down right:

* Katrina approaches the Gulf Coast.
* As Katrina approaches the Gulf Coast, residents are urged to evacuate.
* Many on the Gulf Coast fail to evacuate.
* Pundits and armchair quarterbackers scream, "Too bad for them! Why didn't they get the hell out when they were told to?"
* Others respond to the aforementioned pundits and armchair quarterbackers: "Most of them were poor, didn't have transportation or money to pay for transportation out, and certainly didn't have anywhere to go to!"
* Accusations surface that the White House and this government simply didn't care about the hardest-hit residents of New Orleans because the those hardest hit (i.e., those who didn't successfully evacuate) were poor, or because they were black, or because they were both.

Now a hurricane is heading toward the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks, where rental houses can go for something like $4,000 a week (I think). The Outer Banks, which is pretty much inaccessible by airport. The Outer Banks, which seems overwhelmingly dominated by professionals of all ages to road trip down there for a week. Because they can afford to take a week off of work, hop into their cars, and plop down a few thousand bucks to live in a house near the water.

And people aren't leaving. There's someone in the article who frigging went for a swim in the six-foot surf. Cars are just sitting around, unused, because their owners are just sitting around, thinking, "Eh, this ain't a big deal."

Of course, if Ophelia hits harder than expected, I can't imagine what the federal response will be. It'll be a total Catch-22: React slowly, and they haven't learned a thing from Katrina; react quickly, and suddenly it's clear that New Orleans was neglected because of the race and/or class of its residents.

I certainly don't hope anyone dies from Ophelia at the shore. But if they do... well let's just say my heart won't break for them the same way it did for Katrina victims.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pleased to Meet You.... I Hope You Guess My Name.

I need to hone my skills in introducing myself to random people. Well, not quite "random." I'm referring to the blogosphere.

Obviously, it's quite easy to "introduce" yourself via blog. Either you just write your entries and somehow get people to read them, or you submit a comment on someone else's blog (hopefully not the type that says "I love your blog! Check out the discount Viagra at this web site!"). But twice in the past month now I've managed to look freakish -- thus making a complete ass of myself -- when encountering fellow bloggers in real life.

The collision of worlds throws me off. Because my picture is not posted on this site, it's unlikely that anyone will approach me to tell me they've read this blog. So really, it's fully incumbent on me to say something to people whose pictures I recognize.

Mike, whom I mentioned briefly before, was clearly thrown off by this conversation when I accosted him in a bowling alley:

Me: Are you Mike?
Mike: [looking nervous] Uh, yeah.
Me: Hi!... Uh, my name is Dennis!.
Mike: [still looking a bit befuddled] ....
Me: I read your blog.
Mike: Oh! Hi.

Thankfully, he recognized my name from a few of the comments I've posted on his site and he's actually come by to read this once in a while.

This past weekend, after my foray into philosophizing, I tried to duck into a 7-11 for a cold beverage as I headed home, when who should I see unchaining his bike outside the store than Jimbo. This guy clearly could never have any idea who I am. Although he’s blog-linked to the right, his blog appears to be quite popular, so I have no reason to believe he comes here. But I said hi anyway:

Me: You're Jimbo! [as if I needed to tell him his own name. Way to go there.]
Jimbo: [...] Hi?
Me: Heh. Sorry. You have no idea who I am. I read your blog.
Jimbo: Oh! Hi. And you are....?
Me: [suddenly realizing that, in fact, I have yet to actually introduce myself] Oh yeah. Hi. I'm Dennis!
Jimbo: Hi.
Me: Anyway, well, just thought I'd say hi. Yeah. Uh, hi.
Jimbo: Well, I need to head over to Adams Morgan... so, nice meeting you.
Me: Okay, take care.

I should point out also that sometime during this exchange we managed to shake hands, like, twice, because I have no freaking clue what I'm doing when it comes to randomly introducing myself. Awkward much? By the way, that conversation is probably a little longer than I've managed to recount, because I know there was a point in there when we talked about Adams Morgan Day too.

Is it possible I'm randomly starstruck by local bloggers?

In my defense (such as it is, though I don't think it's even a defense) I'm also completely clueless when it comes to hot guitar players in local bands. So have a massive crush on the guitar player in a certain local band (I shall spare him the indignity of naming him or the band here), and once actually bumped into him on the Metro. This conversation ensued:

Me: Hey, do you play the guitar?
Him: [looking vaguely frightened] Uh.... yeah?
Me: Ohmigod, you’re the guy from [band name]!
Him: [smiles - adorable smile, by the way]
Me: I just saw you guys a week ago. I love you guys! You guys are great!
Him: Thanks.

The conversation continued just a little bit more, about how they seldom perform in DC proper but instead play just over the river in the part of Virginia that doubles as suburban DC, and how they also tend to play at venues pretty far removed from even that (we’re talking like 30-40 minute drives here). Then we reached his stop and he bolted for the exit bid me a polite adieu.

Hey, at least I didn't try to hit on him. (For the record, I believe he's married, though he wasn't when I bumped into him.) I'll save that for the next time I see Jimbo, though I'm totally not his type.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Now I'm a Philosophizer.

This weekend, on a lark, I went to meet some people for a game of Dodgeball. I hadn't played since grade school, and I decided this would be a fun, social way of getting myself back into the groove of physical activity, since I am old, fat, and out of shape.

It was, of course, also Adams Morgan Day on Sunday, so not only was I psyched for a dodgeball game, I got to walk through a sea of cool vendors hawking their wares, including lots of cool food platters and stuff. (Of course, only then do I reach into my pocket to find that I have a grand total of $3 on me. Grrrr.)

Apparently the group usually plays on the tennis court on 18th Street at Wyoming Avenue. This is a good spot because the court itself is fenced off. The significance of this becomes apparent soon enough.

The tennis courts are, unfortunately taken up by some tennis devotees who weren't even playing tennis. Apparently the USTA wanted to set up shop on both tennis courts, and even though the second one wasn't being used for -- well, anything, they decided they didn't want to give it up for some dodgeball players.

So we migrated down off the street area and found an empty basketball court where we set up shop. Unfortunately, the courts don't have the advantage of being discretely fenced off, which means that wayward balls can result in ... "problems."

Even though people were lining the park with their little food products on their laps (no picnic tables to speak of), we went about our game. From time to time our balls would go flying out of bounds (get your minds out of the gutter!), from time to time resulting in some mishaps with these poor eaters. Part of me felt bad and wanted to offer to reimburse them the cost of their food, but I simply didn't have the money to do that for one person, let alone the number of people we affected (I counted three).

One woman -- who I swear was not there when we first started playing -- started fussing at us at some point. "Watch where you throw those balls!" she yelled at us, but at no one person in particular. She was pregnant, you see, so she didn't want to get hit by our balls (get your minds out of the gutter!). How she actually expected us to "watch" where the balls went in a game of Dodgeball? You aim at people on the opposite team. If your target gets out of the way, the ball will continue to move in the same general direction. You don't get some personal off-limits zone because you're pregnant and happened to walk into a dodgeball zone. Uh, I think it's called Get Out Of the Way.

Oh, and, friendly people that we are, we invited anyone who expressed an interest in playing to join us, including the neighborhood urchins. Cute little kids, though they cheated like no one's business. Eh, whatcha gonna do? Wait, just to amend that last sentence: The seven- to ten-year-olds were cute. The fourteen- to sixteen-year-olds were just as intimidating as the kids I had to play against when I was in school: they throw hard and have great aim. Yeah, that wasn't all that much fun to face down.

My post about Dodgeball wouldn't be complete without mentioning that my shoes suck! Of course, I didn't know this before I started the game, which lends itself to a rather embarrassing story which I shall, of course, share with the universe on this blog. I was making an attack at the center line -- you know, charging the line to get momentum to heave the ball at an opponent with the intent of stopping at or near the border line -- when, of course, I found that I couldn't just "stop" on the border line as I had planned. Oh, no, not me, with my several-years-old cross trainers which for some reason don't have skid protection. After what felt like minutes of flapping my arms like the "cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs" bird and looking, I'm sure, like Wile E. Coyote teetering near the edge of the cliff, I finally fell with full-force momentum, both out of bounds and out of breath (from all the flailing, you see). I skidded for about eight inches before I came to a complete stop. I skinned my right arm just above my elbow, and my left shin. (Yeah, I'm not quite sure how I accomplished that particular combination of skinning either.)

Part of me is terribly embarrassed by this. Another part of me is strangely excited to have a "battle scar." Maybe I'm trying to develop "jock creds" for myself. (Heck, I've even expressed an interest in playing flag football with my alumni league.) If "jock creds" is what I'm after, I'm pretty certain it's not going to work. (See the last sentence of the first paragraph of this post.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Heroism," again

My heart goes out to all those people whose lives were completely turned upside down, inside out, and every which way in the Gulf States. Really, it does. I feel for them.


This week on the news, I heard the announcer talk about a Katrina victim who was bused into the District and who spent the evening at a Washington Nationals game. He got to toss out the opening pitch.

The newscaster mentioned how he received "a well-deserved standing ovation."

Okay, I'm going to have to take exception here. A well-deserved standing ovation? What did he do to deserve a standing ovation?

Answer: He didn't die.

Is this something really worth giving a standing ovation for?

I'm sure all of us have survival instincts which kick in when the going gets tough. Faced with the devastation of Katrina, some people probably folded and let the waters rush over them. Many probably fought to the best of their ability to stay alive, but in the end Mother Nature won.

This guy, as did many others, fought successfully, and survived.

This makes him some kind of hero? Have we so lowered the bar for praising people that the mere act of staying alive is something worthy of accolade?

What if Katrina hadn't happened, and he survived another day in his otherwise mundane existence? Is he a hero for making it through another day? Why don't I get a standing ovation for making it to work today? Why don't you? We're still alive! We deserve some kudos!

The other day I was at the beach. The waves were stronger than I was expecting, and three times I was literally picked up and tossed into the sand. (I am a slow learner that way.) Each time, I felt like there was a chance I would die, either by drowning, or by getting slammed head first into a hard patch of sand which snapped my neck. But instead, I put my hands out in front of me and, after a few seconds, I found myself standing up again. I survived the waves! Give me a standing ovation!

Yes, yes, having a wave wash over you at a beach is nothing compared to Katrina. I'm trying to make a point here. You selflessly save someone else's life, you're a hero. You invent some medical cure that could save many lives, you're a hero. You survive a life-threatening experience -- you aren't really a hero. Sorry.

My friend Emily just had a malignant tumor removed from her thyroid, making her a cancer survivor. (She'll have to undergo additional chemo in a few months, but hey.) Is she lucky? Yes. Are we, her friends and family, happy that she survived? Absolutely. Is she a "hero" for battling cancer, undergoing surgery, and beating it? Much as I love Emily, I'm going to go with "no."

So for the newscaster guy who thinks the Katrina survivor received a "well-deserved" standing ovation, just for making it -- I expect you to give Emily some sort of "well-deserved" praise.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Maybe I Need to Think This One Over

Overheard at Homo Bowl, a gay and lesbian singles party hosted by the Washington City Paper at a local bowling alley:

Queer guy: Dude, so, like, all the cute boys here ... are girls.

Overheard by: Dennis!

Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit it. I'm the one who said it.

By the way, Homo Bowl is also where I met Mike -- the first fellow DC blogger I've met in real life. Well, with the exception of that guy at SOTG.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Not to Pile On....

But here are a few more things about this Administration's horrific response to Katrina that particularly bug me:

* In this conversation with a sobbing woman in Mississippi, the following exchange takes place:

Bush to women: "There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry . . . They'll help you. . . . "

Woman 1: "I came here looking for clothes. . . . "

Bush: "They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center. . . . "

Woman 1: "We don't have anything. . . . "

Bush: "I understand. . . . Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?"

Guy with shades: "There's no center there, sir, it's a truck."

Bush: "There's trucks?"

Guy: "There's a school, a school about two miles away. . . . "

Bush: "But isn't there a Salvation center down there?"

Guy: "No that's wiped out. . . . "

Bush: "A temporary center?"

Guy: "No sir they've got a truck there, for food."

Bush: "That's what I'm saying, for food and water."

Good job telling these women what they need when you had no idea what they could get. Apparently they just need what they can get. Sobbing hurricane victims need to re-priortize for the convenience of the sound bite, dammit!

* Bush elevated the nomination of John Roberts to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court within 36 hours after Rehnquist passed away. Thanks for moving swiftly on that, Mr. President. Because there weren't other, more pressing things you should have been doing with your time, like, oh, figuring out how to help a few thousand stranded homeless people.

* Barbara Bush, mother of the current President, talking about how some New Orleans transplants are livin' la vida loca in the plush environs known as the Houston Astrodome: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

* On September 4, Bush ordered that flags be lowered to half-mast as a sign of respect for the passing of Chief Justice Rehnquist, who died on September 3. Oh yeah, and a few hours later, he ordered the same half-mast status in respect for the victims of Katrina, most of whom have felt the pain and anguish since as early as a week before. Again, way to go, Priorities Man.

* Bush took a photo op with some hick and a guitar on the day the hurricane was plowing through the southern U.S.

* Bush's initial comments on the hurricane were, effectively, "We'll be all right. Everyone will re-build. Trent Lott's house will be re-built. I look forward to drinking on his porch." Oh, and let's not forget his comment about how he'll miss the drunken revelry in which he partook in New Orleans in days gone by.

My heart aches for the people who've have been so devastated by this disaster (with the exception of Trent Lott's house -- I could care less about how "badly" he's been affected by this)... and the Administration's response infuriates me.