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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some Lessons Learned From Sandy

We are the fortunate ones, that is for sure.

We "suffered" a mere two nights without power.  We did have heat thanks to a gas fireplace insert.  The stove top worked too so hot beverages and some meals were salvaged.  Another day or two and we may have started eating one another.  More likely we would have probably eaten the weaker folks in the neighborhood.   Ling story short, it was getting grim.

It still is for some other neighbors, friends, and countless others along the coast line and surrounding NYC area.

And say what you will about the Jersey Shore (and beaches in Long Island, Queens, etc...) they have suffered the tortures of the damned.  The tortures of the damned!!  There is a hardscrabble, blue collar mentality that defines those spots.  Spray tans, gold chains and Snooki are but a small demographic in the rich tapestry that is Shore living.  I'm not big into the thoughts and prayers, but seriously, thoughts and prayers folks.  This is all out mayhem.

Since moving back to NJ about 10 years ago we have been witness to 9/11, the NYC blackout, banking collapse, auto bailout, recession, housing bubble bursting, wars (quagmires?!), and now (2!!!) Halloweens lost to violent storms.

This is a not so subtle hint.

But where else to move?  It is still the greatest City in the World.  California will be an island in the Pacific soon.  The midwest can be wiped away by tornadoes at any minute.  The South is too hot.  Chicago?  Too cold.  Canada might be an option.  But they don't have Stoli O so it would be a tough sell to the Mrs.  Plus the universal health care is so creepy and efficient.  

There has been lots of time to think since our NYC office is without power.  Our colleagues in Connecticut and other parts of the region are also suffering.  The trains are down indefinitely so even if we wanted to work we could not.  Sure we could drive in (3 hours one way and we would need another human in the car.)

Truth is there are forces at work that are making things very difficult these days.

It is pretty clear the Earth's climate is whacked out.  Clear too, that is going to get worse before it gets better.

With that in mind a few things to remember when the Aliens come to eat our brains.  Or is it as the Mayans suggest, total darkness?

1.  Have Verizon, not AT&T.  A side by side comparison of phones in this household was all the evidence I needed.  Verizon provided internet, email and a phone signal when all hell was breaking loose.  AT&T was good for your downloaded apps.  It is probably a good idea to have a backup phone battery or two.

2.  There are certain to be conspiracy theories abound the next few weeks...  but the Obama/Chris Christie love fest was pretty good stuff.  Bipartisan politics and Presidential campaigning has NO place in disaster relief.  These two foes put the gloves down and went about the business of helping people.  That is their role, correct?  You could argue the merits of FEMA, and the Government as a whole, but not right now.  With so many people in such peril it was encouraging to see cooperation and dare I say compassion.  Sure Fox and Friends and Hannity will start blaming Obama for creating Sandy in a lab somewhere.  Especially if he wins next week!  Can you see the headlines?  Hurricane Obama storms Romney.

3.  Enough with "The Storm of the Century" rhetoric folks.  "Storm du jour" is way more appropriate.  Snow ruined Halloween last year and winds did it this year.  Will locusts or frogs be the reason trick or treating is postponed next year?  And how many Halloweens in November will it take before we change the date permanently.

4.  It has been said before, and will be said again (in fact, right here), we are waaayyyy to reliant on oil. We made a huge miscalculation in failing to fuel both of our vehicles the evening before the storm.  Mainly we could not charge our devices, or better, get the hell out of here and too a place with power!   Several days later many folks are still unable to source fuel for a myriad of reasons.  Fueling stations cannot fire up their pumps.  Once they are powered up long lines of consumers devour their product (gouging the prices along the way.)  This is the boom we need folks.  Call it hippie nonsense or cock eyed optismism but if we can safely develop alternate means of energy we should be able to get out of our collective funk.  Is it wind?  Solar?  Can we bury all the wires underground?  All of it?  Oil, and to a lesser extent electric, are our country's (read:economies) lifeblood.  New York City is virtually closed this week.  We can watch videos on phones but have watch passively as weather patterns make a mockery of our inferior infrastructure.  If our culture of complacency stays the same how can we expect a different outcome?

5.  Trees suck.  Ok, not quite.  But after surveying the damage in my town their street cred is off the charts.  They are an amazing force of nature. They are easy to love when providing shade.  But when time, wind and rain take their toll and they end up on your roof their grandeur is sorely lacking.  Screw you trees!  If you can't stay upright can you give a brother a heads up.

I could go on and on but a warm bed awaits.  First, a moment of thanks to all those who work, mostly uncredited, to get things moving again.  The utility workers and local government (police, fire, ems, et all) have done a phenomenal job this past week.

Much love to all those who have suffered and are still suffering.  The irony is not lost on me as I write this on a computer, listening to music, in a heated home.   There are too many out there who would, no, SHOULD, be able to enjoy such a privilege.  Here is hoping a full recovery and rebuilding to you and yours.

There is a nearly completed 100 or so story building almost complete where two planes took out the World Trade Center.

We gonna let some bitch named Sandy knock us out?


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