Thursday, September 01, 2005

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02 September 2005

I know that I have been slacking on writing up any blogs lately. Things have been happening, but I've just been in kind of a summer slump; kind of blah. I have been keeping up with my running and until last week, was running around Lost Lake. Then we were told to refrain from running there due to sniper fire in that area. Those words only a couple days after I had my little brush with just that type of incident.

No big deal; I would just have to run around the big lake now. So the past couple of weeks, I've been doing about a five mile path around the big lake four or five times a week. Well, this old corpse I'm inhabiting just isn't quite compatible with the youthful energy of my soul. The old body has been exhausted since I upped the mileage. Instead of two days of running with one off, I think I'll have to run an every-other-day sched and maybe bike ride on the off days.

Today I took a leisurely ride up to Slayer PX to see what they had, then over to Liberty PX (formerly North Victory) to look and shop at the Bizarre. Found a couple nice things like a small hanging lamp-type thing with amber colored glass and a small hand-carved desktop dust-collector. I bought two other wall hangings by this same wood-carver of some two dimensional street scenes of Baghdad. Very detailed carvings and very unique.

I have to say that the highlight of my day today was the stop in the carpet store. (No Deb, I didn't buy any more orientals...although, I was very tempted!) For me, looking at Oriental carpets without buying any of them is kind of like eating and chewing a choice Filet Mignon at Morton's Steak House but not being allowed to swallow it! The Turkish sales guy that I've bought from before just started rolling out these fantasic carpets. He started with a phenomemal wool and silk, cream and blue 8'X11' Nain. Then he rolled out a 7'X 11' lamb's wool, burgandy, gold and olive colored Ishfahan; similar to the one I bought for the breakfast area back in February. (I sound like I'm talking about a seven-course meal, don't I?) This lamb's wool Ishfahan was soooo soft, you just want to strip all your clothes off right there and roll around on it!

As tempted as I was, I stopped short of buying anything. Under the circumstances, I will probably instead make a $1000 donation to the Red Cross for the hurricane victims. Seeing what is going on there in LA, MS and AL is just heartbreaking.

We were watching the first pictures of the aftermath on Fox and CNN on Monday night. Having spent almost six months down in Biloxi back when I was at Tech School in the Air Force, I did also get down to New Orleans as well. But honestly, the Biloxi/Gulfport area were where I mostly hung out during that time. We were getting word that Keesler Air Force Base is pretty much non-existant as I write this. The runway is intact, but all base housing, the PX/Commissary and all support facilities are in ruins. Not a building on the base is intact without some water damage from the 25 foot surge at this point, from what we've heard.

With all the scheduled base closures that have occured and are to occur, I can't see how any lawmakers will be able to justify any porkbarrel spending of millions of dollars that will be required to bring Keesler back to life. Tech schools may end up being moved to other bases that still have available facilities. Maybe some formerly closed bases can be reactivated for use like Scott, Williams or Chanute.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans have taken a heart-wrenching loss. Soon will come the task of rebuilding a city. I guess the biggest question everyone is asking is why rebuild a city like N'Orleans below sea-level again? Well, maybe we ought to ask the Dutch for suggestions. They have made a life for hundreds of years, living below sea level. Obviously N'Orleans didn't use the levy and spillway solutions the Dutch used when they recovered land from the Ijsselmeer/Zuidersee with their polters. Yes, the Dutch have had flooding in the past, but they have also developed new methods along the way to prevent against future flooding.

My greatest appreciation of the Dutch miracle of living below sea level came one day in 1986 when I was out driving through the Dutch countryside on a nice Springtime Sunday. Just as I'm about to drive under a viaduct, I look up to realize that there is a barge passing overhead. Imagine driving under a canal! The Dutch have perfected life below sea level; N'Orleans just has to borrow a few Dutch engineers and Dutch companies to rebuild properly. Until then, lots of donations are going to be needed to assist the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast until they can get on their feet again.
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