Thursday, May 31, 2007

1485.4 Miles - Part I - Abduction Intervention

She's been working too hard stressed out and obsessing over work. She needed a break.

Because of prior travel arrangements She was scheduled to stay in Atlanta until Saturday morning before returning New Orleans.

I decided to give her a surprise. She loves surprises. I decided to try to do something from Atlanta. We could start sooner. I couldn't figure out what to do so I Googled "Closest Beaches to Atlanta". She loves the beach, it's so relaxing for her. The results were surprising. The closest beaches were Tybee Island which was expected but just slightly further were Florida Gulf Coast Beaches, like Mexico Beach, Panama City and others I had never heard of like Alligator Point.

A Google orgy ensued. I searched many of these locations. I decided an Abduction Intervention was in order. I located a house in Alligator Point FL and arranged to rent it for the weekend. Because it was so late I was very limited on availability.

Oceans Roar

Memorial Weekend 2007

Since She left for Atlanta on Tuesday evening I had a few days to make final arrangements.

I decided to drive to Atlanta Thursday night, surprise her then take her to the beach. By force if necessary.

The Plan.
  • Prior to Her Departure
    • Rent a House (secretly)
    • List everything needed for the weekend
      • Clothing
      • Groceries
      • Linens
        • Sheets and towels were not supplied with the rental.

  • Tuesday, May 22, 2007
    • Drop her off at the Airport.
    • Layout all of our clothes.

  • Wednesday, May 23, 2007
    • Make Groceries.
    • Pack Suitcases.

  • Thursday, Thursday May24, 2007
    • Pack the Car
    • Take a nap.

  • Friday, May 28, 2007
    • Wake up at 12.01 AM
    • Shower
    • Drink a big cup of coffee
    • Drive to Atlanta
    • Arrive Atlanta around 8:00 AM EDT
    • Noon depart for Florida
All of this worked out just fine, except that I was late getting to Atlanta. I had hoped to arrive before She left for work. I was running late, largely because the Yahoo Maps driving time was accurate. I expected that it would be shorter than reported as it always had been before. I also got off slightly later than expected and took a short rest stop nap along the way and a small detour looking for gas.

Kenner to Atlanta
Total Distance: 485.8 miles, Total Time: 7 hours 12 mins (approx.)

In any event I was later than I expected. I pulled into the Apartment parking lot and called, to see if She was still there. No one answered. I didn't see her car. She must have gone to work already. I decided to go in and regroup then surprise her at the office later.

I let myself in. I was surprised to hear water running. At first I thought She had left the washing machine running. I was wrong. She was in the bathroom, taking a bath.

I didn't quite know what to do. She wasn't expecting me and I had been apprehensive all along about her reaction.

I called her name through the bathroom door, no response. I called again, and again no response. Eventually She, shocked, stunned and dumbfounded opened the door and emerged.

She seemed relieved it was really me.

After a hug and a calm down period she seemed excited by the Impending Abduction.

We went to work for a half day prior to departing for the beach.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Would you buy a Used Trailer From These Guys?

We recently got a letter from -

The Disaster Assistance Directorate, entitled "Notice of Interest in Purchasing Temporary Housing Unit."

They want to know if we want to buy our trailer, however they aren't willing to tell us how much they want for it, in spite of monthly inspections every three months.

"Notice Returning the Notice of Intent does not obligate you to purchase a temporary housing unit nor does it guarantee your eligibility to purchase the unit."

The News media has been all over it.
March 8, 2007 (AP) To dispose of the used trailers, FEMA is operating an auction through a government Web site. Wednesday evening, the agency had 47 trailers on sale from its Hope depot. Bids ranged from $5,191 for a 2006 Coachmen Spirit of America trailer with possible water damage and a missing stove grate, battery and other items, to $12,600 for a 2006 Sunnybrook RV Sunset Creek trailer with "no obvious exterior damage."
Thursday, March 8, 2007 By Washington Post Staff Spencer S. Hsu "FEMA cannot sell unused mobile homes directly to the public because of legislation passed by Congress in October at the industry's urging. Instead, the agency must now go through a time-consuming process of trying to donate them first to federal, state and local agencies and public service groups, according to the Manufactured Housing Institutes's Web site."
FEMA Trailers up for Sale The Times Picayune May 15, 2007 In the case of housing units that were new when delivered, and used for 12 months since delivery, typical sales prices would be $650 for a travel trailer, $13,000 for a mobile home and $2,500 for a "park model" small mobile home, officials said.
GSA runs an auction web site where you can buy as many travel trailers as you want. individually or in lots of up to 100. They have pictures and everything.

A Thor Kodiak 29qbh, similar to mine.

Although the pictures may not be the trailer actually up for sale.

Current bids for trailers from the same company as ours run a wide range;
2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370023$2600

2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370052$3600

2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370077$3950

2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370001$6000

2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370060$3433

2006 THOR KODIAK TRAILER 71FMPI07370056$6001

2006 THOR TRAVEL TRAILER 31FBPI07097104$5010

2006 THOR TRAVEL TRAILER 31FBPI07097107$4454

2006 THOR TRAVEL TRAILER 31FBPI07097112$4985

Most trailers up for sale seem to be located in Hope Arkansas. Hmmm I wonder if Hundred Dollar Bill is trolling for girl friends as James Carville infamously remarked about Paula Jones.

The aesthetic is in keeping with the Clinton Presidential Libary Presidential Center and Trailer Park which has also been repeatedly compared to a FEMA Emergency Living Unit.

We sent the form in so we'll see what they offer us.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hurricane Hysteria

I was just listening to the TV report of hurricane preparations. Its still a joke. If you are a critical person you can apply for a permit to reenter Orleans Parish, although how you might be entitled is not clear.

I wonder why the ACLU hasn't chosen to contest this abuse of civil liberty?

How I might be necessary is easily proved. How many other business owners might be necessary is equally assumed.

But the bigger question is;
" Why does any person reentering New Orleans need to prove any thing other than residence?"

I, as small "l" libertarian, I have difficulty understanding what legal authority any governmental entity has to exclude any legal resident from their residence.

This exclusion has, in my humble opinion. caused irreparable harm to many many residents who needed to rebuild their lives after the Katrina induced levee failure.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Road Home Shenanigans?

I have no evidence I trust.

Recently several people have told me that they believe the Road Home grants were being steered toward Democratic Party faithful. I don't believe it. Or at least I can't figure out how to verify it.

I can tell you my application has been in process for 4 months (more that double the time I was told it would take). All we can find out is that our award was recalculated last on April 10. Why an award needs to be recalculated at all is somewhat beyond me. Perhaps they want to give us more money but I can't imagine why we can't be asked for (OR GIVEN) more information to clarify any discrepancies. Or even informed of reason the award was being recalculated.

As of today May 20, 2007 The Road Home reports that,

Average benefit calculation: $75,550
Closings held:

This extends to $1,274,830,700.00 grants closed (and I hope paid without further modifications).

This is only about 25% of the amount in the bucket already approved.

War of the Worlds - 2005

Does anyone but me wonder why in 2005 there were three movies released based on War of the Worlds by H. G Wells published in 1898
?First H. G Wells' War of the Worlds by David Michael Latt.

The most advertised was the Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.

Then finally there was the period piece War of the Worlds by Timothy Hines, it at least attempted to maintain the period of the original, novel which attempted to challenge the arrogance of the Victorian era. That arrogance is much more apparent in hindsight, as if we needed any reminders.

The the famous 1938 Orson Wells radio play

and the classic 1953 George Pal movie version should have been enough.

Unless someone had a much much better idea.

It's still a mystery to me why in 2005 this all came together.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I knew this would happen.

After 9/11 when there was an imperative to do something, Congress and especially the Democrats did what they knew how, hire more government employees. Never mind that the existing security screeners had not failed and any weapons that might have been used were within the rules established by government employees.

I distrusted this original assertion. I was certain that eventually TSA employees would try to organize union when political climate was prospicious. All of this in spite of the civil service protection these employees enjoy including the generous benefits. I was sure that eventually TSA employees would strike.

As soon as the Democrats took over Congress there started to appear stories that TSA employees were beginning to organize, something Congress specifically disavowed when TSA was established, due to the importance of the duties of the TSA.

None of this matters.

The transition of TSA from a security service to a Government Agency has already begun. Over the last several months during my frequent travels through Atlanta I have noticed that TSA employees are no longer attempting to serve the traveling public. They are beginning to see the public as a product to be processed like cattle in the stockyards.

As I go through an airport I am seldom addressed as "Sir" (not that I deserve it) but common courtesy is diminishing. For example TSA employees are no longer promptly returning the plastic tubs to the beginning of the waiting line, requiring passengers to retrieve their own tubs. Often many security screening stations are closed while passengers wait 45 minutes to clear security. I also see more "supervisors" standing around doing nothing apparent. Passengers are increasingly bombarded by announcements from seated functionaries directing the cattle toward the stocks and defining appropriate behavior.

I think my freedom is far more threatened by the Government Employee than by the government contractor.

At times I feel like I'm in Neworleanistan

How is it nearly all political candidates black and white are related by marriage at least to other current or former elected officials.

The plain truth is the the majority of African Americans in New Orleans are relatively recent (in New Orleans terms ) immigrants from outside. There has been, as far as I can tell, no one elected from these immigrants unless you count Pat Swilling (a celebrity and football star). Now I have met Pat and he seems a completely honest and competent person. He is however only one person I can think of..

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Road Home Milestone

According to the latest Statistics the Louisiana Road Home has now held more closing than the Mississippi Home Owner Assistance Program -Phase One. This is a milestone of sorts, of course the Louisiana program has 130,828 applicants and the Mississippi Program has only 18,753. Still it's something and it only took twenty months to achieve.

Latest Statistics as of April 30, 2007

Total applications received and recorded to date: 130,828
Appointments held:

Initial Appointments Held:

Advisory Services Appointments Held:


Benefits calculated: 70,053
Total Benefit Options Selected:

Option 1:

Option 2:

Option 3:



Amount of benefits calculated: $5.31 billion
Average benefit calculation: $75,858
Closings scheduled:
Closings held:

According to the Mississippi Web Site as of April 25, 2007 May 2, 2007, Mississippi had closed 13,546 13,597 grants. Of course Mississippi has fewer than 2500 grants left to process, while Louisiana has well over a 100,000.