When I got up this morning, Rita was pointed at Galveston. Now, at nearly noon, it’s pointed at Beaumont. Well, both of those were actually pretty good news for me, since they both put my forty acres and a mule on the “clean” side of the storm, and if it continues its current drift, impact will be minimal around here. Sadly, this is, of course, at the expense of others. Equally, of course, these damned things are unpredictable, and it could conceivably hit the coast, yell “PSYCHE!” and turn toward me. Specifically, me. Cuz that’s the way my luck seems to run.

Nonetheless, seeing endless video footage of cars inching (if moving at all) on local highways just seems to support my decision to stay put. My neighbor across the street, who’s lived there for thirty years, cut out this morning, and told us his son left at 9PM last night to travel a couple of hundred miles inland. Twelve hours later, he still had not arrived.

I may be without power this weekend (if a sparrow farts in my neighborhood, power goes out) – and during my last encounter with a hurricane hit, Alicia, power was out for over a week – but I can imagine the sinking feeling of those people stuck in that gridlock – the sure, helpless feeling that they are going to be riding out a hurricane in their car. The horror of that gas tank slowly being drained.

It’s like the opening twenty minutes of The Day After out there.

Speaking of TV sci-fi, let’s go over this quickly:

Lost continues to be the show that surprises me over and over again. one of the few times each week I can say “Well… I didn’t see that coming.”

Threshold premiered last Friday on CBS, and holds the most promise for me, with some solid concepts (three-dimensional distortions of four-dimensional objects is one of my favorites) and more than a little mystery about exactly what is going on. If there is a flaw, it’s that our cast of main characters seems a little too willfully eccentric. But I will be tuning in again.

Surface had the standard hour debut instead of the doubled-up two-hour slot Threshold enjoyed, so it hasn’t laid all its cards on the table. Its main problem, as pointed out by the Time magazine critic, is the fact that it’s strip-mining Spielberg movies for its characters and set-ups. Kid hiding an extraterrestial in his home? Check. Working class guy who has extraordinary experience but no one will believe him? Check. Annoying moppet? Check. Something scary in the water? Check. Disturbingly, our government-sponsored bad guys are either expressly foreign or just look foreign, so a lot of bet-hedging is going on here. I’ll watch another episode just to see where they’re going with this, but they’re on probation.

Invasion had a tougher row to hoe for me, since it opens in a bloody hurricane and frankly, right now, I’m hurricaned out. But I knew that going in (and they even announced it before running the first episode), still… Damn it, I want to like this show, I’ve liked Shaun Cassidy’s other shows, and this one is equally well-done…

But I’ve seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’ve seen it done three separate ways. I don’t need to see it again. I likely won’t be following this one.

It’s the cost-effective “the aliens are us” approach that has likely ensured these shows’ production and will equally likely kill them for me (Surface’s preview seemed to indicate it might be headed that way). Threshold is handling it a little more expansively than Invasion, but so far none of them is compelling me to tune in again and again every week for the foreseeable future.

Now, back to preparations. Stay safe, everyone.


  1. Are all hurricanes named after women? If so, why should that be?

  2. Isn’t it obvious?Ha ha, just kidding. Until the 1990s, I think, all storms had female names, until someone pointed out that was really stupid and made it more than a little obvious that there weren’t too many female meteorologists. Since then the storms are named boy-girl. Last year, for example, Florida was hit by Charlie, Francis, and Ivan, and probably six others I’m forgetting due to being hit by Charlie, Francis, and Ivan.

  3. Yeah, it seems to be part and parcel with the old tradition of giving female names to inanimate objects, like boats, guns, etc. <>Those<> I can actually understand, as sea dogs and frontiersmen depended on these things for their lives, which engendered an incredibly intimate relationship. Why storms were so named? I’ll go with Scott’s theory.What’s scary, though, is they’re likely to run the gamut of the alphabet this season – and exhaust the list of chosen names!

  4. If you lose power and get ancy, come on up to Austin. We have dvd players, Tivo, and wireless internet. Bring the wife, kids, and animals. Seriously, stay safe.

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