August in Florida, Part IV

After Part III

August 2005

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Tropical Storm Katrina takes aim at South Florida's shores

MIAMI — After emerging Wednesday a mere 230 miles from Miami, Tropical Storm Katrina threatens to blossom into a hurricane and take direct aim at South Florida, with landfall projected on Friday morning.

A hurricane watch has been posted from Vero Beach to Florida City, and weather officials urged residents to be on high alert. Around 2:24 p.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center issued a flood watch for Fort Lauderdale and all of South Florida. It will remain in effect from 8 a.m. Thursday until Saturday evening.


Beloit College Releases the Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2009

Beloit, Wis. – In the coming weeks, millions of students will be entering college for the first time. On average, these members of the Class of 2009 will be 18 years old, which means they were born in 1987. Starbucks, souped-up car stereos, telephone voicemail systems, and Bill Gates have always been a part of their lives.

Each August, as students start to arrive, Beloit College releases the Beloit College Mindset List, which offers a world view of today's entering college students. It is the creation of Beloit's Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Director of Public Affairs Ron Nief.

McBride, who directs Beloit's First Year Initiatives (FYI) program for entering students, notes that "This year's entering students have grown up in a country where the main business has become business, and where terrorism, from obscure beginnings, has built up slowly but surely to become the threat it is today. Cable channels have become as mainstream as the "Big 3" used to be, formality in dress has become more quaint than ever, and Aretha Franklin, Kermit the Frog and Jimmy Carter have become old-timers."

"Each year," according to Nief, " when Beloit releases the Mindset List, it is the birth year of the entering students that is the most disturbing fact for most readers. This year will come as no exception and, once again, the faculty will remain the same age as the students get younger."

The list is distributed to faculty on campus during the New Student Days orientation. According to McBride, "It is an important reminder, as faculty start to show signs of 'hardening of the references,' that we think about the touchstones and benchmarks of a generation that has grown up with CNN, home computers, AIDS awareness, digital cameras and the Bush political dynasty. We should also keep in mind that these students missed out on the pleasures of being tossed in the back of a station wagon with a bunch of friends and told to keep the noise down, walking in the woods without fearing Lyme Disease, or setting out to try all of the 28 ice cream flavors at Howard Johnson's."

According to Nief, "This is not serious in-depth research. It is meant to be thought- provoking and fun, yet accurate. It is as relevant as possible, given the broad social and geographic diversity of our students, who are drawn from every state and 50 countries. It is always open to challenge, which has an additional benefit in that it reminds us of students' varied backgrounds. It is still a good reflection of the attitudes and experiences of the young people that we must be aware of from the first day of their college experience."

Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2009

Most students entering college this fall were born in 1987.

  1. Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead.
  2. They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
  3. Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
  4. Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
  5. Boston has been working on "The Big Dig" all their lives.
  6. With little need to practice, most of them do not know how to tie a tie.
  7. Pay-Per-View television has always been an option.
  8. They never had the fun of being thrown into the back of a station wagon with six others.
  9. Iran and Iraq have never been at war with each other.
  10. They are more familiar with Greg Gumbel than with Bryant Gumbel.
  11. Philip Morris has always owned Kraft Foods.
  12. Al-Qaida has always existed with Osama bin Laden at its head.
  13. They learned to count with Lotus 1-2-3.
  14. Car stereos have always rivaled home component systems.
  15. Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker have never preached on television.
  16. Voice mail has always been available.
  17. "Whatever" is not part of a question but an expression of sullen rebuke.
  18. The federal budget has always been more than a trillion dollars.
  19. Condoms have always been advertised on television.
  20. They may have fallen asleep playing with their Gameboys in the crib.
  21. They have always had the right to burn the flag.
  22. For daily caffeine emergencies, Starbucks has always been around the corner.
  23. Ferdinand Marcos has never been in charge of the Philippines.
  24. Money put in their savings account the year they were born earned almost 7% interest.
  25. Bill Gates has always been worth at least a billion dollars.
  26. Dirty dancing has always been acceptable.
  27. Southern fried chicken, prepared with a blend of 11 herbs and spices, has always been available in China.
  28. Michael Jackson has always been bad, and greed has always been good.
  29. The Starship Enterprise has always looked dated.
  30. Pixar has always existed.
  31. There has never been a "fairness doctrine" at the FCC.
  32. Judicial appointments routinely have been "Borked."
  33. Aretha Franklin has always been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  34. There have always been zebra mussels in the Great Lakes.
  35. Police have always been able to search garbage without a search warrant.
  36. It has always been possible to walk from England to mainland Europe on dry land.
  37. They have grown up in a single superpower world.
  38. They missed the oat bran diet craze.
  39. American Motors has never existed.
  40. Scientists have always been able to see supernovas.
  41. Les Miserables has always been on stage.
  42. Halogen lights have always been available at home, with a warning.
  43. "Baby M" may be a classmate, and contracts with surrogate mothers have always been legal.
  44. RU486, the "morning after pill," has always been on the market.
  45. There has always been a pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris.
  46. British Airways has always been privately owned.
  47. Irradiated food has always been available but controversial.
  48. Snowboarding has always been a popular winter pastime.
  49. Libraries have always been the best centers for computer technology and access to good software.
  50. Biosphere 2 has always been trying to create a revolution in the life sciences.
  51. The Hubble Telescope has always been focused on new frontiers.
  52. Researchers have always been looking for stem cells.
  53. They do not remember "a kinder and gentler nation."
  54. They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly.
  55. The TV networks have always had cable partners.
  56. Airports have always had upscale shops and restaurants.
  57. Black Americans have always been known as African-Americans.
  58. They never saw Pat Sajak or Arsenio Hall host a late night television show.
  59. Matt Groening has always had a Life in Hell.
  60. Salman Rushdie has always been watching over his shoulder.
  61. Digital cameras have always existed.
  62. Tom Landry never coached the Cowboys.
  63. Time Life and Warner Communications have always been joined.
  64. CNBC has always been on the air.
  65. The Field of Dreams has always been drawing people to Iowa.
  66. They never saw a Howard Johnson's with 28 ice cream flavors.
  67. Reindeer at Christmas have always distinguished between secular and religious decorations.
  68. Entertainment Weekly has always been on the newsstand.
  69. Lyme Disease has always been a ticking concern in the woods.
  70. Jimmy Carter has always been an elder statesman.
  71. Miss Piggy and Kermit have always dwelt in Disneyland.
  72. Americas's Funniest Home Videos has always been on television.
  73. Their nervous new parents heard C. Everett Koop proclaim nicotine as addictive as heroin.
  74. Lever has always been looking for 2000 parts to clean.
  75. They have always been challenged to distinguish between news and entertainment on cable TV.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to close at 7 p.m.

By Herald staff reports

Due to the approach of Tropical Storm Katrina, the passenger terminals at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will close at 7 p.m. tonight, according to county officials.

All passenger flight activity will cease at that time. It is expected that throughout the day, more and more flights will be canceled. Passengers are advised to call their airline before coming to the airport.

The terminals are not hurricane shelters, county officials warn, and the public will not be allowed to remain in the buildings during the storm.

Motorists are also advised that the airport parking facilities are not suitable for vehicle storage during a hurricane.

A small group of essential airport employees will remain on site during the storm to allow the airport to reopen as quickly as possible. The airport will resume passenger flights as soon as conditions permit.

PS: The gathering storm!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Katrina Knocks Out Electricity for THOCBDC

Seven people were killed, a Broward deputy was critically injured, a family of five was rescued at sea and more than a million homes and businesses lost power before Hurricane Katrina moved west to emerge over the Gulf of Mexico. Work crews scrambled to clear roads and repair utility lines.

By noon, Katrina had weakened into a tropical storm over land, but strengthened over the warm waters of the gulf and became a hurricane again early Friday with top sustained winds of 80 mph. At 2 p.m. EDT, it was about 60 miles west-northwest of Key West. It was moving toward the west-southwest near 8 mph.

Forecasters said Katrina would likely get stronger and perhaps make a second landfall in the Florida Panhandle early next week. In a special advisory issued at late morning, the National Hurricane Center said the storm could reach near Category 4 strength by midday Monday.

"It's going to be a similar track to Dennis, potentially," meteorologist Chris Sisko said, referencing the hurricane that hit near Pensacola Beach on July 9.

The eye of Katrina made landfall about 6:30 p.m. Thursday near the county line between Broward and Miami-Dade, moving southwest across Miami-Dade and dumping up to 11½ inches of rain overnight.

The National Hurricane Center measured gusts up to 91 mph at the southeast eyewall, while early reports had gusts reaching 92 mph in Fort Lauderdale, 68 in Miami, 61 mph in Davie and 63 mph in Miami Beach.

Electricity was still knocked out Friday to 648,300 homes in Miami-Dade County, 468,900 in Broward and 17,700 in Palm Beach.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Editor's Note: As of this evening, power has still not been restored to THOCBDC's Florida offices. Alf and Watcharee are fine, sitting in the dark and dining on delivered Thai food. Depending on developments, and the outlook for power restoration — estimates range from today to next Tuesday — they will either wait out the resumption of voltage, or head to a hotel farther north (perhaps in Palm Beach).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

All we suffered was a little bit of inconvenience and a loss of some shrubbery. Sure, 50 hours without electricity is no fun: toss the contents of the freezer and the fridge, wash down room temperature canned soup with warm beer, hook up for the short term with an old AM radio (*), relearn things about candles and non-AC air and try to fully experience how people lived before electricity came along. It sucks.

But, that is pennies compared to what New Orleans is about to get ... from that same windy bitch: Katrina.

Florida has led the way in requiring buildings (save for the 'grandfathered' ones) to be 'beefy'. Our windows are made of "hurricane proof" glass ... and the garage door has to be willing to shoulder sustained 150 mph winds.

(*) Those talk shows are so weird! Who listens to this stuff when they have something other than a battery powered radio?1 And their niche commercials ... well, that tells you something about who is listening!2

1 It's especially bizarre at 2 or 3 in the morning when the wind is howling and it's pitch black both inside and outside.

2 Yep, a lot of Viagra pitches. But, that goes for the New York Times as well.

Monday, August 29, 2005

PS: Don Bull got ripped off by this chick:

"When you pull into a gas station to fill up, pay attention to the attendant a little more than I did yesterday. I pulled in and was approached by a person who said they would pump my gas and I did not need to get out of the vehicle. WELL, little did I know, when they were done and as I was driving home, it just struck me, they charged me 5 cents more a gallon, just because I didn't have to get out of the car. I think that is terrible. I am enclosing a picture of the uniform of the company; perhaps some of you can identify the gasoline manufacturer."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is an internal B&W version of the cover shot for Ruthless Rhymes. Apparently the publisher of the book chose Grandpas as the most appealing target for its target audience. "Gramps usually are grumps" ... so said the focus group.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 (Happy Birthday Patty)

Next: September

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