Good lord, will you look at Nashville these days? I wonder if we should send the Bassets dry clothes, a blank check or a snorkel. If you didn’t see the comments late last night, here’s the dispatch from Chez Basset:
Cleanup continues in Nashville… haven’t been in position to hear much about the rest of the city, but on my street everyone seems to have friends, volunteers, whoever coming by to help dump the contents of the house out into the front yard.
My house and the one next door are only 35 yards from the Harpeth River, which is normally down a little hill, the other side of a treeline and down maybe a ten- or twelve-foot bank. Sunday morning, though, it was counter-top high through our place, and I just added a few pictures of the result to my stream here.
So… we lost lots of books, all the furniture, all electronics and major appliances, clothes, so on, so forth… but I have been amazed by the level of help and support we’re receiving. Friends are putting us up and feeding us, co-workers are coming by to help shovel out, a total stranger walked up to me as I was getting into my storage unit and gave me stacks of boxes, tape to stick them together, and a dolly, all the wet clothes out of our closets are piled in a friend of a friend’s garage and they’re letting us wash them, visitors came down our street handing out food and drinks… really helps make it a lot more bearable.
That said… our house will have to be stripped to the bare frame from about eye level down to the ground, doors, windows, and HVAC replaced, it’s gonna take awhile and be expensive. We have insurance, though, and an apartment, and a storage locker… we’ll get through it.
You always get through it. But nothing short of all-consuming fire destroys a house quite like a flood. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating if you’ve never been through one: In a fire, pfft, it’s gone, but after a flood you can actually recognize your wedding album or Christmas decorations. It’s just that they have a thin layer of brown slime covering them, and sometimes it smells like raw sewage, too.
In 1993, a photographer and I went to Iowa to cover the flooding of the Mississippi and its tributaries in Iowa. (Fort Wayne media loves a flood. If we can’t have one ourselves, we’ll go looking for others’. I bet they’re on their way to Nashville now.) A homeowner took me through his house, which had filled to the gutters with Raccoon River floodwaters. “Check this out,” he said, opening the washing machine. It was full of water the color of chocolate syrup, reeking of poo.
I think he was planning on taking the insurance money, tearing the house down and buying something on higher ground. Floods are pretty awful.
So Basset, we’re thinking about you. Anything you need, say the word.
While we’re on the subject of misfortune befalling the NN.C community, J.C. set up a page compiling all of Whitebeard’s comments on one page, just as he did for Ashley when he left us. The comments are separated from that which prompted them, but oddly enough, they make a certain kind of sense. I see he was one who joined us aprés-Goeglein — his first is March 1, 2008. It’s now on the right rail, whenever you want to check in.
I’m going to have to make this a short one today — my schedule for the rest of the week is insane, and tonight I’m taking Kate to a school-night concert, the second of the year, a treat because she gives me no problems (other than refusing green vegetables) and regularly brings home sterling report cards. We’re seeing a band called Cobra Starship, and I wish I could tell you more about them, but in the age of the iPod, I have never even heard a single note of their music. For all I know, they could perform hip-hop in the nude, and if they do, please, don’t spoil the surprise. I’m certainly grateful that my kid is into the indie bands, because that means I only have to drive to the Fillmore, which is downtown, and not to the bleedin’ Palace of Auburn Hills, the arena-size destination in Outer Mongolia, Oakland County.
So let’s skip right to the bloggage, eh? There’s some good stuff today:
Oh, look: The co-founder of the Family Research Council is caught red-handed arriving home from an extended vacation with a rentboy. No, really, an actual rentboy, hired from Rentboy.com. As lame excuses go, this one certainly takes the pink-frosted cupcake:
Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. “I had surgery,” Rekers said, “and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.”
It doesn’t trump “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” but “please, Lucien, come over here and help me lift this” is certainly a strong contender. The luggage-handler notes that he is uncircumcised. Strange qualification, mmm? I’d say something here, but honestly — what more needs to be said? How about this: The man with the heavy luggage is the author of a book entitled “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity.” Dan Savage’s blog entry on this is titled, “Is Every Right-Wing, Anti-Gay Christian Bigot Sucking Off Rent Boys?” I think the answer is clear and simple: Yes.
The New York Times had a recent blog entry about the theft of Facebook account data, which coincided with a weekend of hinky activity in friends’ Facebooks. FB is sort of on probation with me already; I really don’t want to give up my account, but if they can’t keep it more secure and respect my privacy, I might have to give it the heave-ho. Via LGM, the Rocket.ly blog on the Top 10 reasons you should quit.
Finally, you baseball fans probably know Ernie Harwell, the voice of the Detroit Tigers for decades, died yesterday. As local news goes, this is on a level with an al-Qaeda strike on the RenCen. But of course everyone knew this was coming — Harwell announced his terminal cancer diagnosis months ago — and so everyone had time to plan coverage. A loyal local correspondent looked at Mitch Albom’s column and made this incisive comment:
I was looking at the Freep this morning for the coverage of Ernie Harwell’s death. Of course I had to read Mitch to see how Mitchy he got. He didn’t disappoint, as I’m sure you saw. But it occurred to me that this passage is what is especially maddening about the guy:
“…simply by doing the same gentle thing over and over, simply by being there, by remaining consistent, pure, good and true, even as things around him became anything but. Ernie stood out because he stood still. He was reliable as a rock. A soul in a void. A heart in a sometimes heartless world.”
This takes an excellent observation, turns it into a wonderful turn of phrase – “simply by doing the same thing over and over again” – then over-writes it into oblivion. There it is, a glimpse of the old, great sportswriter, smothered by the sappy pap celebrity.
Yep. I’d also note the faux-meaningful phrases — what, pray tell, is “a soul in a void” — but as concise summations of What’s Wrong With Mitch go, this is pretty good.
And now I have to get to work. Have a good day, all. I’m off to search for earplugs.