From the The Daily Growler Crack Newsroom--The Latest on Hurricane Irene, Acting on God's Behalf, and Headed Directly For Sodom on the Hudson:
8:12 am, Sunday the 28th: The National Weather Service (the government) says Irene is still a Category 1 hurricane and is 60 miles from New York City. I just tore down the shower curtain I'd rigged over my naked plate-glass window. I'm now enjoying the view out that window. It is not raining; it is perfectly calm. I am condemning myself. Why? The same old why. I got buffaloed and cowed by these Power Elitist bastards, these know-it-all businessmen playing cowboys and Indians with a city of 19 million people--this sniveling little piece of crap mayor taking the law in his own hands--forcing evacuations, scaring the hell out of 19 million people, predicting false disasters, and gloom. The man has no wit to him; no cleverness. All he is is rich and powerful. Able to buy an election. Oh I may be sorry for this but fuck Irene. Again, as with my hurricane babes, Carla, Betsy, Gloria, Irene has proven to be at worse a clammy, sort of cool, overcast, slightly rainy intrusion into two days of my life. In my favor, I kept my cynical beliefs--these assholes are all dumbass liars whose main game is power tripping. Imagine the nerve of this little prick shutting down the New York City public transportation system. Designating neighborhoods by zones--zones our little prick mayor thought were in danger--needing a father figure--forcing two days before this storm was anywhere near New York City the evacuation of 12,000 people from Battery Park City. Then announcing he was shutting down all city public transportation at noon Saturday. Then telling us, if we didn't get out on the last trains, our gooses were cooked, and we were on our own and nobody was going to be available to rescue us. The little prick.
Right this minute I'm sitting here, my belly full, I just watched two Bat Masterson teevee shows--you know, with Gene Barry playing the dapper and deadly William Barkley Masterson, a Old West legend who ended his life in New York City as a newspaper man, a sports writer, and who died here and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
I'm ashamed. They almost got me--at one point--when they announced Irene was no longer heading east northeast to land over the middle of Long Island but was rather now going slightly northwest, enough that they announced, the eye of Irene was heading directly like an arrow shot directly into the center of a bull's eye toward Manhattan Island. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, scary! And I almost fell for it--nailing up all this shit over my windows--though, I knew all along something was fishy. I mean right now folks when our National Weather Service (the US Government--the government hires second-rate mediocre controllable weather people.
This storm was suspicious all along. Yes, it was wildly big, 500 miles across at one point. But I first got suspicious when it supposedly slammed into the Bahamas and yet there was no report of any serious damage done there. I was also suspicious because when it "ripped" across the Bahamas there was no live coverage from there--you know, one of those teevee dumbasses standing wearing their latest L.L. Bean customized weather gear--standing so it looks like they're in pouring rain and heavy winds when there is no pouring rain or heavy winds--just a cohort with a huge fan and a water hose. From now until this afternoon around 3, Irene is supposedly slamming into Manhattan with 70-90 mph winds--instead, I'm sitting here on a perfectly pleasant, yes it's overcast, and it did rain a little, calm and quiet Sunday morning.
Of course, since I believe in irony, there suddenly could come a rushing ferocious wind slam-bamming crashingly into my anciently weak windows and blowing them and me away--though I vociferously doubt it. I think Irene turned out to be a fluke. Maybe parts of New Jersey are going to suffer bad flooding--but it floods most of New Jersey two or three times a year anyway regardless--a pissant little shower that washes quickly off the back of Manhattan, can cause major flooding in the lowlands of New Jersey.
I'm going back on my regular schedule. Once again I'm back to my normal cynical attitude toward these little pricks (both Mayor Bloomberg and his Police Commish, Shanty Irish Ray Kelly, are little-man pricks--and that fool Andrew Cuomo--oh the belittling things I could slander his parasitical ass with. But, I'm going back to my teevee and my half'a ham sandwich and I'm going to pop the top on a bottle of pomergranate/cherry juice--put on my Lionel Hampton CD, play "Flying Home," and I'll soon be flying wildly back into my pseudo-reality.
As Foghorn Leghorn used to say, "I say, it's a joke, son...can't you take a joke?"
Adios for now. Once again I have survived the wrath of a hurricane named after a woman.
6:54 am, Sunday the 28th: So far so good. Irene roaring up past Atlantic City. The tracking predictions have it skidding off northeast across Long Island. I just got another hour's sleep. I'm having breakfast, cold coffee, juice, half a ham sandwich. I ate a bag of sea salt Kettle potato chips before I slept this last time. It is daylight. It is raining but not hard. And wind. So far I have experienced no wind at all. My windows are holding boldly firm--they haven't even been rattled yet. I don't feel any wind when I stick my head out the one window I still have open with a fan running in it. It's rainy cool and low-ceiling-sky grey and damp blue. Looking out, the city seems small--the buildings are ghostly looking through the grey veils of rainwater. I'm sorry, I'm still half asleep. Body and soul doing fine. Seven hours to go and then...
4:18 am, Sunday the 28th: I slept a bit. Just stuck my head out the window and it is raining, but not hard--and there is wind--coming from the east, coming up the channel between my building and the buildings running east behind it. Wind from the west--I don't feel it.
1:32 am, Sunday the 28th: I'm--god, I hate cliches, but I'm snug as an earwig in a carpet. Did you ever have earwigs? They're evil looking but harmless little beast. All's quiet--yes, I know, the lull before the storm. Irene is several hours away, boogie-ing along now at 16 mph. I just heard a weatherbird say the winds were diminishing, but I can't take his word for it. According to the Nat'l Weather Service, the government, NYC is still dead in the sights of Irene's intent. I'm fixing to shut this computer down and store away in my getting chocked-full bathroom--two keyboards in their now, along with my CD burner and myself if the winds prove to be bastardly damaging. I nailed a shower curtain up over my naked window. You should see it; it's lopsided, halfass...I'm a procrastinater--what my mother decreed one day would be my downfall--and procrastinaters are lazy, putters-offers (I like that word). I'm gradually getting my surge bars and cords and cables up off the floor--but what a jungle of wires I've got--I've counted 31 plugs plugged into my 5 surge bars and I have to trace to where each one leads.
I'm intending now to shut this G4 down and go on line on my laptop up in my loft bed. My seat of operations--though if my naked window blows, I'll have my own loft-bed swimming pool. I'm eating my big salad--it has a lot of onions in it--red onions--and they're delicious, perfectly oniony and crisp, leaving that wild sort of sweet garlicky flavor in your mouth. Time, however, is against me--and I've got some more moving to do and then I'm giving up and going to bed to maybe sleep until five or so and then get up and rush to finish all I've still got to do.
This is the kind of adventure I wish I had a lover with me.
I just stuck my head out the window and it is slightly raining, not heavy, in fact nothing to write home to any mama about--it's still still--no wind at all that I can feel.
11:33 pm, Saturday the 27th: Check this out, from the Weather Underground.
10:57 pm, Saturday the 27th: Well, wouldn't you know it. Now the weatherbabes and dudes are warning us New Yorkers that there's been a change in Irene's direction--seems like Irene is being steered by some superbeing--I suppose, let's say, it's Jehovah...YHWH...no, I'm sorry, I can't believe the Christian job is out to bring my hometown down. There's been a change in Irene's direction...where once about an hour ago, this Amazon woman hurricane was said to be headed for the middle of Long Island--OK, I was saying, passing east of me is my salvation. But, WHOA! Suddenly this weather dude, all slicked down and serious, said that crack computerized tracking predictions were now amazingly changing their mind...NO, no longer was Irene headed out on an eastwardly direction taking her over the middle of Long Island, but now she was headed...GUESS WHERE? She was headed for the bull's eye on my cowering ass! She was headed right for the bull's eye middle of Manhattan Island. Coming, like Gloria back in '85, directly straight as an arrow up Broadway. Where am I? "Hey, Ma, I've made it to Broadway, the Great White Way." And now I concede, it is raining mammoths and sasquatches. I've endured worse rains...BUT, should a 80 mile-an-hour wind be pushing that rain ahead of it...coming right up the middle of Broadway...then HOLY KRYPTON, JIMMY OLSEN, I'm going to have a life-changing situation on my sinful hands--yes, I admit I've been a sinner--I'm due a huge chastisement, what my mother called her God's punishment--"Make sure, God will chastise you one day." Could my mother be captaining this hurricane?
Am I worried? The anticipation is the worst part of it. Just hurry up and get it over with. Bring it on. Right now they're saying the big show will start at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. So here we go. I'm still cynical enough to not believe what these teevee soothsayers are predicting. However, I have to depend on some form of information. The action is suddenly boiling. The end of this tale, at three o'clock in the afternoon could have either a WHEW-type hair-of-my-chinny-chin-cbin making it without harm or damage to my digs--my pad--I've got to keep a sense of humor during this OR, the next time you hear from me I'll be...WELL, how 'bout I don't get into trying to figure out the future--my evil eye is this huge 5-foot by 5-foot pane of old glass is gonna hold up should Irene kick up her heels with 80 mile-an-hour winds against them--gusts of wind are like hammers--one hammer blow and I'm a wet wolf. Irene's coming.
9:07 pm, Saturday the 27th: I'm itching all over. What the hell is that. So far no rain in Mid-town. It is raining pretty heavy down at Battery Park where Bloomberg has the cops running through the streets with bullhorns telling people to get the hell away from New York Harbor, which is now being taunted as a potential big bowl of overflowing, no-place-to-go 5-to-10-foot water-level rise--10 foot being enough to flood the lower end of Manhattan Island, a part of Staten Island, and perhaps flooding the Statue of Liberty.
I now do feel some specks of water flying in through my fan. Winds are supposed to be up to 33 mph coming from the east by 11. The big scare now is tornadoes. But my area is calm--sprinkling of waters. My digital camera has no batteries. I'm in the pitch dark if Con-Ed switches off the current. My digital movie camera's batteries are charged up sky high so I'm filming, in a rather crude and sloppy way, this whole occurrence. I just switched off my fan and it was total stillness outside my window. No rain. The sky however is a hurricane sky--just like I remember from Carla and Betsy and Gloria. My relatives in the Bronx just wrote me off as a fool. I passed up a chance to party, to drink expensive Scotch and smoke medicinal reefer and play the piano and eat steaks and listen to family tales and frustrations and regrets. There are no silly don't-give-a-shit attitudes in my family. I often wonder if we have fatalistic blood running through our veins.
9:19 and all is well in my little spot in New York City. It's quite. It's still. It's comin', they're saying. Oooooooooooooooh, I'm'a scared. And I was watching a PBS teevee program tonight where this lucky young dude got to follow Ernest Shackelford's famous journey where he was iced in on Elephant Island and he and a couple of mates rowed a life-boat type sail boat 800 miles to South Georgia Island, landing first on the barren side, and then traipsing across snow-capped peaks where no men had been before to several days later he made it to the whaling station where his bones still lay today in the whaling sailors cemetery.
Bring it on, Irene, saith thegrowlingwolf
5:06 pm, Saturday the 27th: I checked in on the Wolf Man. I live only a few stone's throws away from him so why not. I found he trying to drive a nail in some 150-year-old wood, almost petrified, and he was whamming away on that nail with his hammer, making an awful racket, then hit the nail wrong and cursing like a sailor as the nail flipped off into air and way down onto the floor under the chair the Wolf Man was standing on. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was remaining gloriously cynical. "If this motherf'er gets me, it'll be a glorious way for me to die. I die as all Wolfes die, tragically, with a whole story behind it--the man who survived three lady-named hurricanes but alas bought the farm at the hands of Irene. It's probably revenge for the way I treated my second wife, my real wife. I wrote a song about it. God-damn, Con-Ed, I just know they're going to kill the power, except my neighborhood is now high-class tourist-robbery hotels, like that ugly piece of crap hotel blocking my west view." I asked him did he think that big window pane we were looking would hold under 80 mile-an-hour winds [Irene is headed toward Norfolk, Virginia, now, still a Category 1 hurricane with winds around 80 miles-per-hour] "If the winds start raging, like Jesus X on the Sea of Galilee, I'll climb up and tape Xs on that window." With that postal tape you've got there?, I queried. He had a roll of that see-through plastic wrapping tape like they sell at the post office. "It's all I've got. It'll have to do--I mean I ship all over the world using that tape." You got food? I asked him. "Enough...unless it spoils over night...but I've got enough to pull me through till this shit's over Monday." Actually tommorow afternoon at two, I told him. "Who the hell knows, certainly not the National Weather Service and certainly not Billionaire Mikey Bloomberg, that little prick. Have you noticed how he's on teevee every five minutes with a photo-op advisory. And that dumbass Cuomo. Did you hear him bumbling out that stupid praising of our dumbass National Guard troops--I'm wondering what National Guard troops we have left in this state--aren't most of them in Iraq or Afghanistan? Cuomo, that parasitical piece of crap, bumble-mumbled a great long waving of the bloody shirt about how brave our troops are and how quickly they volunteered for this duty--at first 1,000--can you imagine what a little dab of 1,000 Nat Guarders would do in case this mother Irene is a true fucking hurricane? Hell, they'd be running back up the Hudson as fast as their Hummers could carry them. So then he announces he's bringing in another thousand of these raw-looking buggers. One I saw was a silly looking girl who look about as tough as Charo...did I tell you I saw Charo on Mexican teevee last night...." I couldn't take anymore. I told him I had to get home to my wife--that her mother was coming over to camp out with us. As I left him, he hollered, "Wife with a mother! You're a mother, that's who the mother is...and if you've got a wife, hey, I'm a monkey's dog-like uncle." I left him still trying to nail that nail in that 150-year-old mahogany wood. And yes, as I closed his door behind me, I heard him let forth one raw-as-sushi, Nixon-explicit, drunken-sailor-approved string of curses that would have made Unka Dick blush.
for The Daily Growler Crack News Team
1:45 pm, Saturday the 27th: Well our billionaire mayor is still running around town with his entourage lecturing us all on how serious a situation we're in. The subway system is now totally shut down--when asked when it will come back on line, the mayor stutters about and looks serious and then says, well that depends, blah, blah, blah, it could take 3 or 4 days. Three or four days!!! What a mayor; shutting down the USA's largest city's public transportation system and now saying it may take 3 or 4 days to get it up and running again. Our businessman billionaire mayor is protecting the equipment and fuck the people. He puts on his very serious look, furrowed brow, lifeless eyes, and warns we idiots that if we don't evacuate where he's mandated us to evacuate, then he prickily says, "We are not going to come and rescue you...you're on your own." Nobody asks, are you shutting down the fire department then? Are you taking all the EMS vehicles and ambulances off the streets? And then why are you proudly announcing that one thousand plus National Guardsmen are coming to town? What the hell are they coming here for, to guard property or rescue humans? Of course we know they're here to guard property, the mayor's biggest concern. We the Citizens of New York City, fools and low-life mortals we be, are left to our own devices when this now Category 1 and weakening Irene finally hits us--they are saying late tonight, some are saying tomorrow afternoon--they were saying it would rain 2-inches-an-hour all day today, so far it has showered once, but otherwise it's dry as a bone.
I just returned from 5th Avenue and loading up on food at one of my frequent spots over there--I got sandwiches, a big salad, chips, juices, that sort of thing, so I'm fixed for food. However, if Con-Ed shuts off the power late tonight then my goose is cooked in terms of light and my fans cooling me off--the mayor mentioned the great do-no-wrong Con-Ed might have to shut off power if say their underground live lines are flooded--and by now I'm shooting the mayor the bird, the little prissy wiseass. He hasn't shut down his transportation--his fleet of black and smoke-glass windowed SUVs driven by big tough Biggie-Munn-looking black guys are whizzing about town, sirens blasting. Plus all the commercial television stations are babbling on and on about how the mayor has done this and has ordered that and ooooooooooh, scary-scary, worry-worry--keep watching our up-to-the-minute reports--ratings they're after--ratings the only thing these moveable feast talking heads are under orders to bring in.
One guy who's stranded in his ocean-front apartment near Coney Island when asked if he was going to heed the mayor's order for him to evacuate or be left to survive by his own wits said, "Hell, I remember back in '85 when these guys were hooting about how Gloria was coming straight at New York City--tape your windows, go out and clean out the stores of water and batteries--and I don't know if you recall or not, but the day Gloria hit, was one of the gentlest days we'd had all year--I don't think it even rained that day. These birds keep their hold over us by scaring us--Muslims one day, terrorists one day, and now a hurricane."
This storm is still coming ashore down in North Carolina, now knocked down to a Category 1, packing winds of about 85 mph. This big clumsy storm is supposed to hit the tip of South Jersey late tonight or early tomorrow morning--rain and the tide coming in are the biggest threats to New York City now, though as one woman told Mayor Bloomberg, "I've survived floods way before you became mayor...and you're warning me." I said, shoot him the bird, lady, which I thought she was going to do. The trouble with the wealthy, they feel like they know it all.
Have I mentioned yet that Warren Buffett was personally bailing out going-bankrupt-again Bank of America, originally a California Sons of Italy bank, now a nationwide bank, since Slick Willie Clinton and his Clintonistas deregulated the banks and let them merge all over the US--at one time they were all moving their headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina--so that now over on Fifth Avenue there's a Valley National Bank (from Phoenix), and up the road is the brand new skyscraping Bank of America building--I suppose We the People's bail-out money paid for its construction--and also I noticed that the Bank of America was sponsoring some big sporting event--but here comes Robin Hood Buffett to the rescue. Life goes on in spite of the many storms.
9:08 am, Saturday the 27th: Once again it looks like a lady hurricane is going to peter out before bull's-eying Manhattan--Fox News is still trying to make it a disaster, but even their weather expert (a big ugly goofy-looking older dude who is surely a real weatherman) is saying the storm is withering--hitting North Carolina at the moment--hitting land, which should diminish it more, and then it will veer off north by northeast, one outlier track--a blue one--carries it way out into the North Atlantic--and the combined tracks at their red worst are missing Manhattan and brooming their way over Long Island--all those rich assholes who built their 20-million-dollar summer homes right on the beaches out there--Blow, baby, blow on their asses. Our billionaire mayor is still exerting his mighty power over us by still shutting down public transportation at noon today. In the meantime, there are tons of cabs on the streets, people out, one of my base cafe/delis open and cooking up tons of food. Right now it looks like we're gonna get hit by some heavy torrential rains at worse--maybe some 50 mph winds--starting a 5 tonight and continuing on all night and into tomorrow when the storm will pass and Monday will be 81 and sunny. I'm a wolf before I'm a human in this case--wolves can endure so much more in terms of coping with bad weather than stupid scared-to-near-death humans. We must be kept in fear. By the bye, did you see where Warren Buffett is personally gonna bail out the failing Bank of America. Are you asking what I'm asking, what did the Bank of America due with all those bail-out billions We the People gave them? Oh, that's right, executive bonuses. My old ancestor, the Witch of Wall Street, was right. Never trust a banker with your money.
6:36 am, Saturday the 27th: I sawed some Zs--now awake--wish I had some coffee but...I may journey down to the street and check out the feeling down there. Early morning local weatherbird is playing down the hurricane aspects of the storm by the time it makes up to Midtown Manhattan. He's talking Irene's winds are down to 90 mph and her track now is drifting gradually northeast to the point that, according to this slick-shined-up dude, Irene will just miss the city. Wait a minute, I'm thinking. Is this another "scare the hell out of us for nothing" bullshit or is Irene still hellbent-for-leather determined to clobber Manhattan Isle from stem to stern? As the speedy clock carries my time closer and closer to Billionaire Mayor MIke Bloomberg's unprecedented shutting down of our public transportation system--"Let 'em take cabs," is Little Mike's attitude as he's intent on making a mountain out of what may or may not be a mole hill. A billionaire who has to show his power constantly--he's more a despot than he is a mayor. I'm still waiting--now hungry as well as needing coffee. I think I'll take me down to the street and check things out.
1:10 am, Saturday the 27th: 1 am and the weather forecast hasn't changed, except on the tracking map the RED zone (within the cone) has gotten wider and redder--and Irene is headed like bull's-eye right straight at Manhattan. I mean Manhattan is covered with fiery red. I must admit I have a heavy feeling in my gut. If I leave my apartment, it may be a day or two before I can get back down here--dammit, I'm catching myself worrying--I can't worry--this is like war so I have to think "kill or be killed"--the tiger in my eyes, but then I look at the fragility of my bay window--I've boarded it up pathetically but it's fairly secure at the moment--I'm being positive--but, hell, who am I kidding, a 100 mph wind hitting my window full force!--and thinking that far into the "if" zone throws me back into the blue aspect of what I face in the morning. Finalizing as best I can my possessions--I've got thousands of items in my big room--no way I can move it all to a safe place--where's a safe place if the windows blow in--and you see I'm off the optimistic expressway and running down the rutty muddy road of worry. I'll be safe in the Bronx but it'll be no fun. Oh my folks will take good care of me--they'll feed me and booze me up and give me a nice comfortable basement bed to sleep in--and even if the power goes out, they'll make it fun--with candles and kids and frivolity--while I'll be cheery but down deep I'll be worrying like hell about my children, my treasures, my loves, my life--and time is running into the arms of Irene--and I can't sleep--and my shoulder hurts.
9:44 pm, Friday the 26th: I'm back in my apartment. We've boarded up the windows at the Growler headquarters--a shoddy job, but it is done. Now I have to secure my apartment--tape the windows--move all my piles of stuff away from the windows--plug up one hole in one window--otherwise they're pretty secure--but then, one never knows--like I post below, the two hurricanes I've survived were at the petered out end of one and at the nothing-happening middle of that second one. If I'm bailing off Manhattan Island tomorrow, I have to get out of here by noon when our billionaire mayor is shutting down the subways and buses (his prerogative, he told us. He's doing it to save the equipment, fuck the people--they can take cabs. It's not going to give me much time to secure this joint 'fore I head out to the Bronx to ride it out with my Bronx family--I'm leaving my home simply as a precaution and not by desire, that being to stay here and try and survive it. But then a hurricane hitting Manhattan is a rare but serious moment in history--another episode with a hurricane named after a woman in my life--I'm not quite ready to perish, so I'm probably going to chicken out and train out to the Bronx and at least avoid a possible devastation. I'll hate to leave my books and music and my possessions...of course, if the Weather Service changes the direction of this storm or reclassifies it as a tropical storm later tonight or in the morning I will stay--but it'll have to be a significant change before 10 or so in the morning when I'll trundle up on the D train to 59th St. and Columbus Circle and transfer to the 1 train. Time is waiting for no man, so I'm going to be up most of the night moving stuff into secure corners and up on shelves and in the bathroom, a very tight room--the waiting continues...
The latest (6:30 pm Friday) on Hurricane Irene and its honorable intentions of slamming the Sin Capital of the World, our hometown, New York City. Looking at the latest Nat'l Weather Service tracking map, Irene's sitting just off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, plugging its way towards us at 14 mph. It's supposed to truly manifest itself in New York City some time Saturday night, hitting us full force all that night until 2 Sunday afternoon when she turns into a tropical storm and slams into Southern Connecticut, at the mouth of the Merrimack River.
Are we prepared here in the shoddy, easily windswept offices of the Growler. Our situation is we're on a high floor facing south straight down Manhattan Island without much protection from wind and rain--our large bay window is around 100-years-old, framed by rotten woods, the glass already shaky and popping in mild winds. The boys have a big piece of signboard they were preparing to nail over the big window if Irene truly hits dead aim at us at least maybe it would hold if we nailed it shut tight enough, but then L.B.G. found out there were no nails--we had no nails with which to nail the signboard up with. "Hey, I think I'll get the hell out of here tonight...F you guys, I'm headin' for high ground," and out the door he who shall be left nameless went. Then someone asks where the office flashlight is in case the power goes out. Damn, we've got a flashlight here somewhere...but, wait a minute, we don't have any batteries...." Now it's beginning to dawn on us if this isn't a hoax, if it's a real hurricane, then your The Daily Growler, computers, staff, and all, including the horse, may be blown out to sea--"Oh, my God," Frannie & Zoey scream, "Mayor Bloomberg's closing down public transportation, the subways and the buses...shit, is he banning cabs, too...Jesus, we're leaving too. Fuck the Growler...fuck the office...fuck the Wolf Man...we're headin' for Riverdale."
And so it's only a handful of us left here. We're gonna keep on watching this Irene. We're hopeful late tonight she'll turn more northward and leave my hometown alone...but then the Wolf Man teaches us there is no such thing as hope...only faith. So in faith we're gonna stick this mother out...and we'll be reporting on it all night...and as long tomorrow as our computer stays on...or the water starts pourin' in.
Goodnight, from the Growlers, until we meet again. We are too high-class to parody the song with the name Irene in it into a hurricane song. The Wolf Man, in case you're interested, is eating a big steak up at his fav Irish Pub--a couple of the waitresses up there have invited him to come over to their place as long as he brings wine and beer. Who knows?
Hurricanes I Have Survived
1) Hurricane Carla was the first one I remember surviving. Carla devastated the Louisiana and Texas coastlines, whipping up waves and winds as far west as Galveston Island. But I was hundreds of miles north of Galveston Island in Dallas, Texas, the day I survived Hurricane Carla.
I had just gotten a job. It was a rather threateningly overcast day. I knew from the past night's news that Hurricane Carla's petering-out vamping self was heading our way. The weather forecast was for rain, possibly heavy at times, for the late afternoon. I was wearing one of my brother's suits, a silver sharkskin with a blazing fire-engine red lining. It was a good suit; my brother bought all his clothes at Neiman-Marcus. I also had to borrow a white shirt and a tie from him...also a belt...and a rain coat. No umbrella. In those days, you never saw umbrellas in Dallas when it rained. In fact, as far back as I can remember, I don't remember any umbrellas in my life. I never owned one until I moved to New York City.
I was filling out some forms for the job I had just accepted when I heard one of the staffers say it had just started to rain. It was just sprinkling, they added, but the sky looked very threatening.
Nothing bothered me in those days. I was kind of dumb in a certain awareness or preparedness way. I hadn't yet realized I had a very long walk from where my job was located back into downtown Dallas to the newspaper where my brother worked and with whom I was catching a ride back out to his house where I had been staying a rather exceptionally longer time than my sister-in-law ever imagined. One reason I had taken the job is because my sister-in-law had told me several days before she was sick and tired of my hanging around HER house for what seemed like forever. She stomped her foot and said, "Wolfie, you don't know how sick and tired I am of you lolling around here all day; in fact, I'm getting just flat sick and tired of you being here at all. You've got to get a job and a place of your own. I demand it." And that next morning she had me up and out of HER house by 9 and I climbed on a city bus and rode into downtown Dallas and began looking for a job.
So I filled out all these W2 forms and things and I signed papers and whatnot and after I shook hands with my new boss, I was out the door and heading toward downtown Dallas, with about a four-or-five-mile walk ahead of me.
The sky was boiling with clouds but it wasn't really raining yet. I walked briskly, happy as a pig in a new muddy paradise of a sty as I alas had a job and would soon be getting an apartment of my own and out of my brother's house when all of a sudden, BOOM, like that, it started pouring buckets of rain, drops that splatted hard down on me before I had much of a chance to defend myself against them. Hurricane Carla was directly on top of me. In a matter of minutes, I was soaked through to the bone. The raincoat was of absolutely no help. Carla slopped right on through that raincoat's material defense, to then gully wash on through the sharkskin of that Neiman-Marcus suit...I mean, soon I had little flooding riverlets waterfalling out of my wet-dog hair, over my brow, blinding me, pouring off my nose, my soaked eyebrows leaking into my already blinded eyes, rapids-like rumbling off my chin, down my neck, and flooding down onto my already saturated chest, with my raincoat and suit coat and shirt and tie glued to my chest and my pants so soaked I'm sure if I hadn't had the raincoat on I would have looked naked from the waist down. Those suitpants stuck to my legs like wet toilet paper sticks to things.
But I was young, totally irresponsible, with my first job in tow, and I made the rest of the walk swimming toward my goal. When I walked into the area of the newspaper where my brother's desk was, all the people that knew me there started asking me what the hell happened to me, one guy hooting, "You look like you were caught in a downpour! Is it raining that hard out there?"
Puddles followed me around that office. My brother advised me to get in the men's room and take the raincoat off and the suitcoat and dry myself down as best I could with the men's room's paper towel supply. When I finally took off the raincoat and the suitcoat, I was at first shocked. My shirt, my tie, my underwear, my soaked suitpants were a brilliant red. At first I assumed it was blood. Holy crap, I wondered, how the heck did that rain cut me or had I cut myself along the way and not realized it? And then I knew. The fire-engine-red lining of that sharkskin jacket--it had bled--that was the source of the blood--it had bled all its fire-engine-red out onto my undergarments--to actually stain my skin--yep, my skin was blood red from my neck down to my knees.
2) Hurricane Betsy--after Carla and the new job, yes, I moved out of my sister-in-law's house and into my own apartment. In the new job I succeeded quickly, starting off as the office receptionist--all the juvenile delinquents picked up by the Dallas cops overnight were brought to my office where I checked them in, so to speak, having to fill out a record on them using he police charge sheet and interviewing them--name, address, parents's names, the charges, to then assign them to a cell block--to either a private cell or in the dormitory, depending on how serious their crime or how seriously retarded or insane they were. Within a matter of a few weeks after taking the receptionist job, the office manager quit to join the Air Force and I was offered the job, which I eagerly took since it meant a huge boost in my wages--the office manager job paying $350-a-month, a terribly good salary for a man in his early twenties, just out of college; just out of the U.S. Army.
With such a good salary, first thing I did was change apartments, moving from a low-ceilinged perpetually dark hidden away apartment into a one of the newest California-apartment-look-alikes called Northhaven on the Park, in a fashionable part of Dallas, just across from a large park--the park in which I once hit golf balls with the great women's pro golfer Mickey Wright, my neighbor whose apartment was directly in front of mine just across the swimming pool.
Soon after renting this apartment and tired of having to bum rides to work from fellow workers who lived nearby, one day I spotted a baby blue Cadillac Sedan de Ville sitting in front of a neighborhood filling station with a for sale sign in its side window. The more I passed this beautiful Caddy going to work or coming home from work, the more I desired to own it. It was $1100, an enormous sum for a young man making only $350 a month. But when I have to have something I have to have it and soon I had that Cadillac.
So with a swell top-shelf apartment and a baby blue Sedan de Ville Cadillac, I became the man most likely to succeed in the hunt for a woman...a woman who might eventually decide I was too good a husband prospect...you know where I'm headed! As a result, I found that woman, and after a 2-year off-and-on relationship, alas, I tied the knot with a woman who was not only a knock-out beauty but was also a smart knock-out beauty, her brains being as gorgeous as her outward appearance. And so, on a rather hot January day in Dallas, Texas, in her brother's living room, I got married. My new wife and I had already decided we didn't want to start our life together in Dallas. She was a college junior still living at home with her parents and I was tired as hell of being the office manager of a juvenile detention home, so we started checking out places we'd like to live. As a kid, I had been to New Orleans on several family outings. My mother's sister, for instance, had married a Cajun gentleman whose second sister had married a prominent wholesale grocer of Italian descent who had a great home in the Garden District of New Orleans. Also, my parents had become close friends with a preacher and his family who took over a church in New Orleans, on Magazine and Camp. With these two New Orleans contacts, I got to enjoy frequent trips to New Orleans, a city I had loved the first time I visited it when the preacher in his new Chevy motored us at a brisk clip all around the city--you talk about a whirlwind tour! As a result I got to know New Orleans so well, I determined in my little boy brain I'd one day live there. I mean, everything about New Orleans intrigued me--the food, the music, the location, the Mississippi River, the wild smells of coffee and spices along the levee that kept the Father of Waters from flooding and drowning out the French Quarter, the original city that was called the Crescent City due to its location on a crescent-like bend in the Mississippi before it rumbled brownish-red-and-dirty out into its delta before it was met and sucked up by the Gulf of Mexico--a flood plane and marshland that had protected New Orleans from hurricanes for 100s of years until the Army Corps of Engineers went in and dredged a huge channel in that delta so that huge supertankers could carry their world oils or Gulf of Mexico offshore oils up the Mississippi to the refineries and chemical plants that littered the Mississippi up at Baton Rouge.
My wife and I lived in several places in the French Quarter (the Vieux Carre), finally settling in a split-level apartment created out of the once slave quarters of the alabaster white once Middle-Eastern decorated mansion that had degenerated over the years going from mansion to whorehouse and finally converted into apartments by a New Orleans real estate development company that everyone knew was owned and operated by the New Orleans Mafia, at that time led by a character named Carlos Marcellos.
Our apartment was a cool place. It faced north. All across the front of the apartment were four huge floor-to-ceiling windows, each with shudders on them, called hurricane shutters, sold wood panels which you could close from inside and lock them tight with the old wrought-iron bar latch.
We knew New Orleans was often approached by hurricanes during the end of August when the season began, so in preparation, we bought several big glass hurricane lamps and we stocked up on kerosene and coal oil to fuel them with, just in case. We also booked in a supply of candles and one big giant flashlight that held 6 Class D batteries. The first hurricane season we were there passed without incident, but a year later, one morning we awoke, turned on the radio as usual, to hear right off the bat that a hurricane was forming out in the Caribbean and its direction was heading directly toward the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coastal areas from Western Florida all the way over to South Texas. Since it was the second hurricane of the season, and hurricanes were named after women in those days--why, probably because of men relating women with stormy personalities to hurricane personalities. Being the second hurricane of the season, this one was quickly dubbed Hurricane Betsy.
As all people who live along the Gulf Coast shorelines become quite alert when a hurricane is evolving out in the Caribbean. So alert, they keep their radios on 24/7 just in case one of those evolving hurricanes get bigger and more fierce and start heading directly toward the US Gulf Coast area. And sure enough, Betsy proved to be one of those storms that soon was big and moving slowly across the Caribbean, missing the tip of Florida, but then angling around and soon headed directly for the Coastal areas from Mobile over to Galveston. Then after a long day or two, it was announced by the weather bureau that it looked to them like Betsy had an inkling to visit New Orleans. And one morning, the radio advised us New Orleanians that Betsy, getting bigger and more ferocious by the minute, not only had that inkling to visit New Orleans but by golly Betsy's eye was focused directly on the Greater New Orleans area...by golly, not just the metropolitan area, but making a beeline that projected appeared to be heading directly for the French Quarter.
The day Betsy was predicted to sweep across us, my wife and I were ready. We shut and barred the shutters. We filled up the hurricane lamps and tested the flashlight. My wife had gone to the grocery store and had stocked up on canned goods and bottles of water--bottled water came in big 5-gallon containers in those days and my wife had had the store delivery us a 5-gallon jug of Mountain Valley spring water from Arkansas. Plus, we already had a well-stock bar, with every known kind of whiskey, Scotch, rum, vodka, gin, Southern Comfort, and mixers--so we were ready--come on, Betsy, let the good times roll.
The day Betsy hit New Orleans my wife and I sat in our enclosed ex-slave quarter apartment waiting. We had the radio on and the television on and the weatherheads were predicting the worst. We were told that the eye would pass over us at a certain time--any minute now. I opened one of the shutters on our front door--yes, both our outside doors had wooden shutters on them, too--and looked outside. There were several tall banana trees in the compound just behind our apartment. They were being whipped around fairly violently though there was no rain; in fact, the sun was shining. Then I looked and saw some regular old birds still flying around through those banana trees. Except for the whipping about banana trees, it was a very pleasant day. It was so pleasant, soon, I took a folding chair and made myself a Planter's Punch and moved out on our apartment's balcony. Soon my wife joined me--before joining me, she put a stack of LPs on our stereo record player--and we had a hurricane party.
It turned out to be a most pleasant day. Soon there wasn't even any wind and, yes, the sun was still shining brightly, though there were some low-flying dark clouds scooting across the sky over us, quickly dissolving off over the levee and the river.
Betsy proved to be a most gentle hurricane. Later the news said New Orleans had been lucky--only a small edge of Betsy had hit the city--yes, there was some damage, trees down and such, but on the whole, it was like any other day--in fact, it was an exceptionally nice and cool and calm day for August, which in New Orleans is usually steamy and hot and muggy.
Today, I sit here typing this post out with the local weatherbabes and our billionaire mayor trying to scare the hell out of us by saying Irene, a category 3 hurricane that formed just off the Bahamas with winds up to 115 mph was headed on a path that would carry it eventually, by Sunday afternoon they were predicting, barrel-assing right down the middle of Broadway, which means Irene was headed directly toward my huge bay window that faces south directly out toward the Atlantic Ocean and the New York Harbor, supposedly one of the safest harbors in the world in terms of cosiness.
Our billionaire mayor, a very little man, is using his own personal television station, it used to be the NYC Public School Education channel, to look very serious, like he always tries to look, at us and telling us his administration is ready with rescue boats galore being readied along the low-level areas of the city (the Rockaways, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Battery Park City and Lower Manhattan, plus he had outsider workers coming to town to help bail us out in case the 10-t0-15-foot surge in the ocean's water levels devastated us, swamped us, you know, slammed into our poorly protected lowlands. Why, our little man billionaire mayor, as well as his cohort, big fat Chris Christy, the Teabagger governor of New Jersey, was even already ordering people to evacuate the low levels--mandatorily demanding that senior citizens living in lower Manhattan evacuate their premises immediately--or else, "If the storm hits and you're still in your apartments, don't expect any rescue help from the city or from big fat Chris Christy's New Jersey National Guard (most of whom are off fighting in one of our many wars against terrorism going on all over the world. Our little man mayor is even threatening to shut down the subways and buses over this whole coming weekend.
Scaring the shit out of us. This is typical of our commercial media who are using this storm to get us watching their television coverage of the storm and Mayor Bloomberg actually saying this city isn't prepared for a devastating hurricane, so all of us should bail out of the city, like he's going to do--you know his private jet is all fueled up with its motors running ready to frisk him off to the safety of one of his many mansion retreats in another state....
Check out this headline on the Yahoo News:
"Hurricane Irene began lashing the East Coast with rain Friday ahead of a weekend of violent weather that was almost certain to heap punishment on a vast stretch of shoreline from the Carolinas to Massachusetts."
Isn't that kind of a weird way to put it: "...rain Friday ahead of a weekend of violent weather that was almost certain to heap punishment on a vast stretch of shoreline from the Carolinas to Massachusetts." Violent weather heaping punishment on us. Punishment for what? The Teabagger True Believers are saying, "YES, God is punishing us for our recent allowing men to marry men and women to marry women, an abomination to whichever God this is the Teabaggers are praying to and getting these messages of punishment (chastisement) from this Big Daddy." When this Big Daddy punishes, he punishes us all whether we're good Christians or Gay and Lesbian Atheist. You would think he'd excuse his Christian followers and allow the hurricane to totally miss their possessions. The safest place for a Christian in one of these storms should be in a church building.So once again, I'm going to have to survive a hurricane, something I expected when living in Texas or New Orleans, but something I never expected to hit New York City. Like I've often said, you can live in New York City--in Manhattan especially--and never realize we are on the Atlantic Ocean.
The last hurricane to hit New York City was in 1944 and, yes, it did flood parts of town--but then, certain parts of New York City, like the FDR Drive, always flood when it rains hard.
So here I sit awaiting my punishment. I'm suspect of all this alarm being forced on us may be very premature; on the other hand, the National Weather Service is pretty reliable in terms of accurate-like warnings--currently it's coverage of Irene is mixed--one track has this storm petering out over South Jersey--going quickly down from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm--winds of 50 to 75 mphs and torrential rains. The latest projected track on the NWS Website has this storm banging into the most outer of Eastern shorelines, now whipping more toward the northeast than the northwesternly direction they were originally predicting. In this latest tracking, New York City is spared a harsh punishment, though it is still subject to those tropical downpours. Just like the ones I've already experienced via surviving Hurricane Carla.
Thus another woman, this one named Irene, is threatening my life, my comfort, my civilization. From Hudie Ledbetter's song, I recall the line, "Sometimes I live in the country/Sometimes I live in town/Sometimes I have a great notion/To jump in the river [ocean] and drown."
awaitingmypunishment, Iremain, thegrowlingwolf
for The Daily Growler "Hurricane Edition"
A The Daily Growler Sports Note:
The New York Yankees last night against the Angels, hit three grand-slam home runs--that has to be a record, doesn't it? Where's marvelousmarvbackbiter when we need him?