September 9th, 2005

Retroactive Irony

This comes from a CNN list -- it's in the sidebar on the right -- of the "Top 10 Deadliest" hurricanes. I read it while Katrina was strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico after crossing Florida. And now I just read it again:
9. New Orleans, Louisiana 1915
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 1915
Death toll: 275

This Category 4 storm caused Lake Pontchartrain to overflow its banks, killing 275 people. That scenario is one that hurricane experts don't like to ponder because if the city, surrounded on three sides by water, is hit by a major hurricane, the storm surge might inundate the city.
That phrase "don't like to ponder" resonates like a cracked bell today. This is one case where pessimism would have been preferable to hope.

A Cautionary Tail

Here's something you should avoid doing at your birthday party:
During a birthday party for her kid sister on Sept. 1, Caroline tied a pair of helium balloons to Mousie and began pushing her around the house, partly to give her rodent friend an aerial view of his lodgings and partly to find out how many balloons it takes to float a mouse.

But someone left her bedroom window open and, as Caroline watched in horror, a sudden gust carried the floating Mousie out the window, past the maple tree in the backyard, over the rooftop and gone.

Caroline and her mother began running down the street, trailing the floating mouse, until it drifted past the Claremont Hotel and over the East Bay hills.

"I don't think he wanted to see the world,'' Caroline said. "He wasn't that kind of mouse. But he's seeing it now, whether he wanted to or not.''
Thankfully, the literary possibilities are enticing. An enterprising children's author could update one of Skylar's favorite Golden Books, the one where Theodore Mouse embarks on an adventure using a sheet as a hot air balloon. Or someone with a love of Alexander Pope could write a sequel to "The Rape of the Lock."

Repetition Convulsion

When it happens the first time, you can write it off as inexperience. When it happens twice, you can ascribe it to cluelessness. When it happens three times, you can chalk it up to fool's confidence. But what do you call it when it's happening for the fifteenth time? I'm putting my money on extreme self-loathing.