Monday, September 22, 2008

The Ohio Hurricane

Thurber BookImage by SideLong via Flickr
"Columbus is a town in which almost anything is likely to happen, and in which almost everything has.”
-James Thurber

We all remember the funny James Thurber story, The Day The Dam Broke, about a panicked mob running east down Broad Street at the mere mention of the 1913 flood that devistated the capitol city of Columbus, OH. One can only imagine what Thurber would do with the tale of The Ohio Hurricane as Ike left over a million midwest residents without utilities for over a week.

Maybe the story would go a little something like this:

There are few alarms more terrifying than “The Hurricane’s about to hit!” yet that is exactly what Ohioans are up against, at least until the November elections are over. Right now, over one million Ohioans are frustrated by lack of power. We call them Democrats.

As the storm approached rumors flew up and down High Street with warnings from weathermen on the impending tropical depression sure to cause damage during the post convention period of September, 2008. People braced for the worst; the entire state abuzz with the hum of placid pundits; arguing, computing, wheedling, offering, refusing, and yet never, ever compromising or running for cover. Fears of long lines in supermarkets, gas stations and polling places prevailed.

As winds howled, lights went out and freezers thawed, people mobbed the stores for generators and Ice. (Without cable T.V for the Browns game, these items were mostly used to rig various contraptions of self electrocution.)
Those unable to find such necessities gathered on the streets and fired up their grills, cooking every rotting thing in their ice box, including Nutty Aunt Norma’s Fruit Cake from Christmas 1973. Instead of hunkering down inside the safety of their homes, Ohioans came outdoors for wild and windy tailgate parties with neighbors, strangers, and even strange neighbors. They came together as a team in community solidarity, with offerings of freezer burnt meat. Thus is the nature of the Buckeye, always honoring tradition; fighting for every three yards in a cloud of dust, armed with bad bratwurst and day old bread. Brave souls held their ground during the disaster, following in the footsteps of dear old Marc Dann who once told the Governor, in the language of Julius Caesar, they might as well try to move the Northern star as to move him. (Alas, the poor Danster was unaware he was heading south at the time.)

Other politicians were also busy braving the weather, and wondering what in the world to do in a statewide emergency, with no phone banks or robocall robots on line. They soon determined, in an unprecedented act of bipartisanship, the best course of action in such a crisis would be to harness wind energy and litter the city with a flurry of printed campaign debris.

As gusts reached up to 75 mph, siding ripped from houses, trees fell, stock prices plummeted, and some people began to run. (Actually everyone ran, except the conservatives, who thought it best to lay low in bad weather.) It may be they suddenly remembered, all of a moment, that women voters DO count, and this might just be the source of the seething storm. Whatever it was, the people began to stir. They ran up Broad St, clamoring for the Statehouse steps. Soon others joined in. News boys (and girls) were in high spirits. Portly old gents of public affairs broke into a trot, and inside of ten minutes, everybody on High street was running with the herd. “The Hurricane’s coming! Ohio is in the eye of the storm!” Reported CNN and FOX. Soon thousands upon thousands were running like wild. GO LEFT! GO RIGHT! GO GREEN! They cried.

Some unknown official grabbed a megaphone, giving official endorsement to the panicky rush. “Change! Change!” came the calls from both halls, as winds whipped down established lines of power as ground beef went bad. At first this tended only to add to the confusion and increase the panic, for many stampeders thought they heard soldiers bellowing “Man the Swiftboats!” -Thus increasing the calamity all the more.

Black streams of people braved the storm, flowing into campaigns and registering to vote in numbers like never before. Fickle housewives fed the political PMS of both parties with their shouts and screams from the HILL(ary) Top.

One visitor in an airplane, (a Presidential politician perhaps,) was hard put to divine a reason for the panic of the straggling, agitated masses below. No Ohio Hurricane could ever match the winds of the battered gulf cost, and yet the winds raged beyond any ever seen by any Buckeye alive, blowing down street signs, ripping up trees, and tearing approval ratings to minuscule shreds.
Meanwhile on the ground, Nutty Aunt Norma was in a real pickle. First she ran to the left, but then ran to the right, confused by the ever shifting winds. The beating gusts blew her right out of a gathered group of girls and into the middle of the road, lost and confused. We found her eventually on the porch of an OSU frat house, perched atop a wayward Inniswood Gardens statue, with a note from a Unicorn attached to her dress. She was as frazzled as a plucked chicken in a fox den, poor thing. The authorities arrested her of course, as statue abductions are a serious problem in the capitol city.
The people ran and ran as trees turned to toothpicks and vinyl siding took flight. I drew up alongside a woman as I fled with the others. “What in the world is going on?” I puffed.

“Don’t ask me, ask GOD!” she cried, invoking her new found Palin power.
“Holy Baked Alaska, our Moose is Cooked! ” came the reeling response. For a moment, I felt sure they were right and fell into a slump, waiting for the winds of un-change to overtake us all with a thundering WMD (whirlwind of mass destruction.)

Then, in a moment of calm, I noticed everyone was running on foot. Nobody fled the storm in their SUV’s or Hummers. Apparently they could not afford the gas. No matter which way the wind blows, that is one thing we can all agree on.

It will be four years or more before we know the extent of the damage from The Famous Ohio Hurricane, and I can only hope, by then the mess will finally be cleaned up, and we will all be able to look back through the windows of our solar paneled homes, and laugh.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Hot, Flat, and Crowded
Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America
By Thomas L. Friedman

Friedman's book proposes a national strategy of "Geo-Greenism" to "make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure."

He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street, as the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation, step up to lead as "the Greenest Generation."

He calls for Americans to redefine ourselves and lead the charge of energy technologies, with great hope for the future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

National DO NOT CALL list

Hello Moto!Image by bennylin0724 via Flickr
REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies tomorrow and you will start to receive sale calls.

Yes, you WILL be charged for these calls! Not counting waisting you minutes too! To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222 or go to the website below.

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number from solicitors. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked or sign up through the web site. You cannot call from a different phone number.

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS.. It takes about 20 seconds. Go to to register or get more information.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

My Huffington Post Debut

Dear Friends,

I'm excited to share the news, an essay I wrote just got picked up by The Huffington Post! This is a big break for any writer, so I hope you will all help me out and "Buzz it up" a bit by posting comments over at Huff Post, and tagging it as a favorite.

Many thanks to all for your friendship and support,

Here is the link:

Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick

Tonight is the parent meeting for sixth grade band students, and my son is contemplating study of the flute. To help him out, I pulled up a YOU TUBE video of my favorite flute player, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

Ahhh, the memories I have of that band….

Years ago, I worked security for a large outdoor amphitheater. The night Tull came to town, I was assigned the coveted backstage dressing room position. Normally, this involved checking passes and placating groupies, but that night was different.

Andrew Giddings, the Keyboard player pulled me aside moments before the show and said “Come with me.” He walked me out to the right wing of the stage, just behind the curtain and handed me a pack of Marlboro’s and a gold plated Zippo lighter. “Stand here. Keep a cigarette lit at all times. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Good girl. On with the show!” He cried in his classic high Brit accent.

The band paraded past me as I dutifully lit up. Ian Anderson was in a horrible state that night. He just had knee surgery, was wearing a brace, and complaining his prescription pain meds “weren’t at all working.” The man belonged in bed, and the entire crew knew it. But this was show business. With a sold out crowd of twenty thousand, a star just can’t call in sick. The show had to go on, and the grimacing Anderson hit the stage dancing about like an elf on fire.

All through the night, Giddings would lean back and puff on my stock of cigarettes. At times, Andy would have one hand on the keyboard, while reaching out to me with the other. My older brother was out in the audience with his friends. They were in the sixth row. I could see him, but he had no idea I was watching behind the wings.

The show was incredible. When it was over, I rolled out a cart with beer and beverages for the band. Andy looked at me while cracking open a Heineken and asked me to join the band for dinner.

Dinner? Oh baby! Dinner with Jethro Tull?!!!!!!

Dress me up in The Union Jack, and GOD Save The Queen!

It about killed me…but I turned him down. I knew the invitation was an offer for more than a meal.

I had a husband and kids waiting at home. I was not about to wake my honey up on a work night to tell him I was going out to party with the band. Andy understood. He touched my chin with his fingers, looked over at Ian Anderson and said with deep English flair, “Pity Ian, she’s a loyally married security lady.”
I flashed my wedding ring to Anderson, and he managed a smile through the throbbing pain in his leg.

My knees turned to rubber. But I kept my cool, bid the band good night, and headed home.

Everyone I know says I should have gone out with the band that night, but I’ve been around theater long enough to know, the magic is on the stage. Hanging out with a bunch of drunks at Denny’s would never compare to the spectacle of that show. It would just tarnish the memory. (Hey, even rock stars are just people when the spotlight goes out.)

The next day, I teased my husband, telling him I turned down a date with Jethro Tull to come home to him. I told him a one night stand with even the coolest rock star in the world could never compete with MY One True Love… Not ever.

Anyone who says otherwise is Thick---Thick as a Brick.