Monday, October 31, 2005

Only the best in trick-or-treating in our neighborhood...

Just got back from taking the kids on the rounds this evening. They scored full plastic pumpkins, but I scored even better. Some industrious young go-getter gave out the following:

This guy's my new hero...

Watch out for trial lawyers and other creepy characters this Halloween

Have those kiddos sign a Halloween Liability and Indemnification Agreement.

his indemnification includes an agreement not to haul treat-dispensers into court on the basis of:

  1. Failure to provide nutritional information;
  2. Failure to warn of potential for overeating because candy tastes too good and is provided at no cost;
  3. Failure to offer healthier alternatives including, but not limited to, soy-based or sugar-free treats;
  4. Failure to provide information about other venues serving alternative, healthier, Halloween treats; and
  5. Failure to warn that eating may lead to obesity.

Direct link to the printable form (PDF)

Classic... but not too far-fetched, unfortunately...

The Center for Consumer Freedom has a lot of great information related to frivilous lawsuits and the like. I particularily like the Girl Scout commercial and the games page. Worth a look, IMHO

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is it a lie, or simply a mistake? Depends on who the quote is by...

Stephen Spruiell at the NRO Media Blog reports on something I caught on TV that almost caused me to spittake my nice frosty Yazoo Onward Stout. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, trying to pitch impeachment related to the WMDs in Iraq, states that the President lied in his speech that was quoted by Sean Hannity. Only problem... the speech quoted by Hannity was by John F. Kerry. Back pedalling insued, with the quote conveyed by Hinchey as a "mistake" instead of a "lie" once it was Kerry's quote instead of Bush's. Hannity is the king of this set-up, but it makes me laugh every time.

Friday, October 21, 2005

"There will never be a picture that will be able to tell this story"

The devastation in Bay St. Louis is hard to articulate. I look back at the photos posted here, the others I have developed, and the hundreds of others online from our little relief group, and they are meaningless: out of context, too small, too limited in scope, too tidy. Take the picture of the house foundation from the previous posts. Now make 100 copies of it and set them side-by-side. Then you may get close to getting the picture.

That was a month ago. It's still like this now:

We drove thru debri laden roads and looked at what was left. It wasn't much of anything. Whole towns. Just gone. Blocks of NOTHING but boards and bizarre piles of mismatched items. Two months later.


Empty lots with perfect white picket fences still surrounding them. Flowers still in the flower beds. But, NO HOUSE. Bizarre. Just completely bizarre.

I realized that there will never be a picture that will be able to show this.
There will never be a picture that will be able to tell this story.

*I* will never be able to tell this story.

Read the rest of the post. Ali Greggs wrote a good piece here.

Scene from Picayune

The scene in Picayune (our home base) was a lot less total destruction and flooding, and a lot more massive trees to remove from the tops of houses and cars. here is a tree that we got off of the roof (where the blue tarp is) and had to have one worker climb and cut out so that it wouldn't swing back and hit the house. Note the people on the bottom left... the chainsaw operator is being held by rope by this group of people.

This massive tree rested on top of a retired New Orleans firefighter's home. It took our team an entire day to clear this tree and several others that had fallen on his cars in the back yard. Fortunately for us, a Bobcat operator happened by and helped us finish, or we would have been there for another 1/2 day. Surprisingly, the house only suffered very minor roof damage, even with this enormous tree resting on it.

Here's one of our chainsaw operators working high above to clear some large limbs that were threatening to come down on the home. We had several skilled operators, some skilled Bobcat operators (but no Bobcats for much of the weekend... they're hard to come by down there), and many manual laborers (like me!) clearing the limbs and debris, tarping, talking with the homeowners, etc.

Here's another look at the massive tree from this jobsite. Note the large root structure just totally ripped out of the earth. This was a common site over the weekend.

For our living accomodations, we set up at the First Presbyterian Church in Picayune. The men slept in the pews in the sanctuary, while the women slept in the Sunday school classrooms (with no A/C for much of the weekend). Many people set up tents outside. We had a makeshift shower running from the garden hose set up on a tarped-over swingset in back (90+ people, 3 showers each for men and women...). But even still, we had a great time...

More later...

(thanks to Aaron and Mary Beth for a few of the photos)

Scene from Bay St. Louis (continued)

Here's a another one we took along the shorefront. All of the houses along the stretch we drove were completely destroyed, leaving only foundations.

Many people left messages on their property, assuring that the city would rebuild. One said "Thank God and State Farm," while another stated "Pardon our dust while we remodel." How hard must it be to keep a sense of humor in these circumstances... Posted by Picasa

Scene from Bay St. Louis

Here are some of the homes that we saw in Bay St. Louis last month on our relief trip. These are actually some that were in better shape, as many (in fact, all of the houses along the coast) were totally destroyed. Posted by Picasa