getting worse

Things have gone from bad to worse. I have not heard from anyone about my grandfather. I phoned the company that runs the hospital he went to, and they have no information either. Supposedly they evacuated that hospital to another one, but the second hospital too is flooding, and according to reports on, running out of food and water. There are 350 people there at last count.

They say that the flooding is so bad in St. Bernard Parish that the water is flowing back over the levee into the Industrial Canal.

Perhaps the worst is that the St. Bernard Parish president, Henry “Junior” Rodriguez, isn’t getting any attention. He can’t even get through to FEMA and local employees to help coordinate rescue activities and focus efforts on the worst areas: the Civic Center, the Domino Sugar Refinery, the High School, the Medical Center, and so on.

For anyone who is listening in who has loved ones in the area, here are the best resources I have found for information:

St. Bernard Forum @ This has the most up to date info. Go up to just for other parishes.

Secondary forum @ (registration is offline so this forum doesn’t get as much activity as the one)

Best news coverage:

Streaming video of WWL-TV: here
Worst news that I’ve gotten so far:

Letter from Junior: (scroll to bottom)

Photos: My cache which I’m building right now. I will update this as I get more photos of the affected area. Many cached from (thank you!)

More photos: taken from KHOU-TV in Houston that’s covering St. Bernard. The general consensus is that CNN isn’t covering St. Bernard because there are too many floating dead bodies, and that’s “unsuitable” for the nation.

Official St. Bernard Parish website has a few pictures. Quote from the gentleman who runs the site:

“If I can interpret “gone” by someone, the reference is probably to a “current way of life”, or inundated with Noah’s new flood, or perhaps a “future” way of life. Looking at either interpretation, it’s a depressed feeling. I believe that St. Bernard is not alone and so many of us who have lost so much will band together at some point (as here) and hopefully give a total effort towards complete recovery with a memory that will last a lifetime. It’s a statement, sad but somehow is sprinkled with truth. “Alas, poor parish. I knew it well.” –Rebuilding as a Phoenix from its ashes. –Jerry”

Rebuilding St. Bernard Parish blog

More photos, downtown: from directNIC operator 2

“Checkin site”: seems to go down often…

LiveJournal blog of an operator at directNIC.
Missing Persons
Raging Redfish forum
Photos of lower Plaquemine Parish are at this site
Red Cross: 866-438-4636 or 1-800-HELP-NOW
Number to call to see if people have been rescued: 1-225-925-6626
Company that runs Chalmette Medical Center: 800-347-7750 ask for Heather, you can get on a list and they’ll call you when they have an update
Pet rescue:

General Info:

Kenner pets:

Jefferson pets (some of the links provided are showing up blank…I don’t know why though):

The two cats I gave my grandfather are surely dead now. poor aRTie and Baskin…

accounted for

My grandfather made it to the local hospital in his area. I can’t get through on the lines, but I’m told he’s in the safest place he can be right now.

Let’s hope that the small subdivision survived without too much flooding or damage.

new orleans

My grandfather, last heard from valiantly waiting for the Red Cross to whisk him away to safety, is unaccounted for. The only house I’ve ever truly called home is about to be submerged under 24 feet of water. People, countless childhood photos, valued cultural treasures, all wait to be washed away in a torrent of destruction. I won’t even begin to try and list all of the people, places and things I personally would mourn. Entire cultures may vanish instantly. Sadly, you can’t honestly believe that they’d rebuild the city the way it exists today (save the Cabildo, Jackson Square, and a few other obvious landmarks). But, like the Ursuline nuns of yore, the people of Southeastern Louisiana will remain strong.

If my grandfather does not make it, will I remain as strong?

Before she died, my grandmother used to speak all the time of “the next Betsy,” and how it would destroy the city. She spoke with bile and hatred of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and their blowing of the levee to “save” New Orleans, when all it did was submerge her house under 5 feet of water needlessly. She gave me a copy of Rising Tide, and forced me to read it cover to cover. I, too, now become ill when I think of the Industrial Canal, that stinking man-made river I used to cross twice daily to and from school. I remember hunkering down for hurricanes, taping windows, stockpiling resources, sitting with family and praying for the storm to pass uneventfully, occasionally escaping northward to safety, but never was I faced with a threat so terrible as this one. I empathise with the survivors of Betsy who remain today, people who know full well what Katrina may mean to the Mississippi Delta.

And I have to give training to call centre staff here in Malaysia this week.

Lord, grant me the strength…

last for today

From mendel, this SciAm article about how children perceive is worth reading through, even if it gets a bit dry. My favourite quote:

By 18 months, babies have come to appreciate that a picture merely represents a real thing. Instead of manipulating the paper, they point to pictures and name objects or ask someone else for the name. Melissa A. Preissler of Yale University and Susan Carey of Harvard University recently provided a good example of this development. The two researchers used a simple line drawing of a whisk to teach 18- and 24-month-olds the word for this object that they had not seen before. Most of the children assumed the word referred to the object itself, not just to the picture of it. In other words, they interpreted the picture symbolically–as standing for, not just being similar to, its referent.

In other words, children are call-by-value, adults are call-by-reference. No wonder I preferred BASIC to C when I was 10…

Edit One last addition: Jonathan Coulton‘s Mandelbrot Set rules. Listen and buy his music! And ignore his misspelled name on Metafilter.

gi joan

It’s confirmed; I have both GERD and an ulcer. Seems that modern research points to Helicobacter pylori (hee-lih-co-bac-ter pie-lor-ee) being the root cause of most ulcers, and that stress does not cause them – but it can aggravate them.

As a teen, I used to have fierce, fierce heartburn. My mother used to think I was just making fun of her cooking, and sweep me aside. My father thought I was being melodramatic, but at least acknowledged that there are times you just need some Tums or Rolaids. Since then, I’ve had recurring issues with my gastrointestinal system, but have either ignored them, or been told to ignore them by medical professionals (including my parents).

When, recently, the pain became so bad that I couldn’t eat normal foods without being in pain, and not eating was causing its own problems, I finally switched doctors and had a bunch of tests done. They’ve finally found a cause, and while I’m hopeful this is all that’s going on, I won’t yet rule out the possibility that something more is going on. Really, I just want to go back to a normal lifestyle of decent, well-seasoned meals, the occasional glass of red wine, beer, or a martini, all without farting uncontrollably or having to lie down for hours on end. It’ll be nice to stand up for more than 30 minutes without keeling over.

details on electric company dvd

From undisclosed, reliable sources @ Sesame Workshop: “The upcoming 4-disc Best Of Electric Company DVD set will contain 6 episodes from each of the 4 seasons of the show. It is aimed at the adult nostalgia market. Episodes have not yet been chosen, but they are likely to be a subset of the shows previously selected for Noggin TV, and will be selected to minimize duplication of material on the DVD.”

Sadly, there will be no framing of this material for its original educational purpose. While I presume the release is targeted at my generation…how many of those parents would love to show these programs to their children? And, how can this be accomplished in a positive manner without framing 30+ year old programming within modern educational contexts?

More punditry later; film at 11. Also: anyone in New York who can pick up a copy of this Sunday’s Newsday for me?


Anyone out there been to Malaysia? If so, got any tips on places to see, things to do, people to meet? I won’t have a lot of time, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what sites I can hit!

…and a teacher too

Oh – one other thing that y’all might find interesting: I start my part-time M.Ed. degree at U of T‘s OISE in about 4 weeks. I’m in the Curriculum, Teaching & Learning program.

That, and I’m off to Malaysia and Tokyo in a couple of weeks’ time, for work and pleasure. Now, let’s hope my health stabilizes in time for the trip.