Ties That Bind

There’s a closet in the basement that contains some clothes dating back to just past the middle of the last century. (Sure sounds old when you put it that way.)

When you open the door, you see an assortment of neckties. I recognize some of those – and, no, I’m not going to tell you which ones – once adorned my neck. Most of them are fakes.

Cops wear “breakaway” ties so that the bad guys can’t grab them by the necktie and strangle them. Of course, it’s MY contention that strangulation is the primary goal of the necktie.

Knots known to sailors and serial killers

I was a Boy Scout who earned the Pioneering Merit Badge. Not only could I tie every required knot, I enjoyed playing around with ones known only to sailors and serial killers. The only knot that I’ve never been able to master is a necktie.

Even though I got to cover Queen Elizabeth because I was the only guy on the staff with a suit, I’ve had to depend on fakes and Wife Lila to drape respectability around my neck.

Two instructions

My family has two instructions for the day when there will be “two at my head, two at my feet and two to carry me when I die:”

  1. Not in a necktie.
  2. Not in Florida.

Obligatory Isaac report

We came through Tropical Storm Isaac in pretty good shape. The rains pretty much moved on by early evening, but Son Adam, who lives west of town in a rural area got between 10 and 15 inches of rain. His house is on a high pad about three feet above the water, but he has huge Koi (“ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp”) swimming in his front yard. I warned him that alligators have been know to use those as bait, so I wouldn’t get close to them.

Our Comcast Internet connection is still down, so this is going to be a short post tonight.

Isaac Visits West Palm Beach

Shooting hurricanes is tough. Not only do you have to deal with being wet and miserable (not to mention worrying about a piece of flying tin roof taking your head off), but still photos don’t capture the sounds and movement of the storm. TV guys can make a nothing storm look scary by shooting water gushing out of a drain spout or stop signs going whipity-whipity-whipity.

Hurricane Kate in 1987

I shot these two national guardsmen being told they should abandon their checkpoint and seek shelter because the winds of Hurricane Kate were getting dangerous. About 30 minutes later, a reporter and I were on the second floor of a motel talking to some folks we had spotted watching the storm from their window.

“How long have you been hearing that sound?” I asked one of them.

“Quite awhile,” he answered. “What is it?”

“That’s the sound of nails pulling out of wood.” Just then, the suspended ceiling collapsed, drenching us with water. A couple of heartbeats after that, we were looking at sky because the roof of the motel had peeled off and been deposited in the parking lot behind us.

We went down to the first floor where a bunch of utility workers were waiting to hit the streets. The reporter asked if she could use their phone to check in with the office. One of the workers offered a bottle of Jack Daniels and a glass while she was talking to the city desk. She waved off the glass, snatched up the bottle of Jack and upended it. I think it was her first hurricane.

Tropical Storm Isaac a wimp

I guess I should withhold judgement. We’ve had some power flickers (some folks have been dark for hours) and our cable TV service is out, along with our Internet connection. A UPS has smoothed out the flickers and I’m using a Verizon wireless card to file this post.

Except for rain bands that have been coming in waves all day, it hasn’t been too bad, not much worse than a strong summer thunderstorm.

Video of the wind and rain

Wife Lila took all but the opening shot of this video. I’m going to have to confess to napping through most of the heavier stuff in the late afternoon. I figure if I don’t hear the sound of nails pulling out of wood, then there’s nothing to get excited about.

By the way, it’s a well-known fact that preparing for hurricanes causes them to go somewhere else.