Friday, September 30, 2005

To Be Frank, Times Have Changed. Let's Get That Straight.

My good friend Frank, who I've written about before, used to be married to a woman named Donna. Donna had a close friend, Jim, who was gay. I say that in the past tense because Jim is no longer amongst the living. Frank and I used to try to get him to go straight, with no luck, so we finally gave up and accepted the fact that he was never going to be into women. Jim was really a very good guy and I always enjoyed his company.

Whenever Frank and Donna had parties, Jim would be there. He really made the parties more fun. Frank would do his ostrich impersonation. He could do a fly, a frog and probably a couple more. They were fun times.

Early one evening, Frank & Donna had a dinner party. He was always a good cook and every time we went for dinner, he made some kind of gourmet meal. On this particular evening, later on after most of the guests left, Jim convinced the women, including my girlfriend, that we had to go out dancing. To a gay nightclub. We had to go. The women said so. Disco was the rage back then and Frank and I hated disco.

We hopped in cars and drove to this club called January's, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Boom, ba boom boom boom. We could hear the pulsating sounds of the intense music in the parking lot as we pulled in.

"Oh, boy. Can't wait," Frank and I said to ourselves.

In we went. I probably never held on to my girlfriend that tightly before. We noticed that to the left was a room that had a pool table or two and a few TVs probably playing a Bette Midler special. To the right, was the lighted dance floor. "Come on! Let's go into the dance club!" the girls exclaimed. So we did. I had never seen men in platform shoes dancing together before, gyrating their ugly rearends to the rhythm of heavy drum beats. Black lights. Strobe lights everywhere.

"Let's dance," the girls screamed.

Frank and I looked at each other and said in tandem, "There's no way I'm going out on that dance floor with a bunch of gay men!"

"You have to."

"No. You made us come here. You can't make us dance." Besides, those men would have made me look more spastic than Joe Cocker on his worst day.

"Fine, then." And off they went, disappearing into the bowels of Disco Heaven. Jim was already out there somewhere.

I asked Frank, "What happens if we need to use the men's room?" He freaked.

We decided to go into the other room to play pool. It was much quieter. Maybe it was a Donna Summer or Barbra Streisand concert on television instead. Back in those days, you could line quarters up all around the table, to keep it. We did. That pool table was going to be our security blanket for the rest of the evening. We started to play. Frank was always a better pool player than me. I was singing "Shoot, Frankie, Shoot, doo, doo, doodle-ee-yoo," to myself to the tune of "Fly, Robin, Fly."
He was winning most of the games up to that point, until...

Well, I was standing there as Frank was shooting, leaning against my pool stick in front of me. All of a sudden, I felt something brush against my arm. Some guy was nudging me with his. "Hey, I've been watching you. You're a really good pool player." Hmmm. I thought about it. Now, I was on his turf. I wasn't about to yell, "Get away from me, you faggot!" I had to think fast. Besides, I was never quite the homophobe Frank was.

"You see my "friend" Frankie shooting?"


Frank was going to be my squeeze that night whether he liked it or not. "He's got a pool table at home and he has a really big stick."

"Oh, OK," and off he went.

I went up to Frank and asked him if he saw that guy.

"Yes. What was he doing, trying to hit on you, Dave? You might have had a fun experience."

When I told him how I got rid of him, Frank yelled, "Ew, yuck. That's disgusting," and a few other choice expletives. He never won another game that night.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Government In Action?

Originally uploaded by Marinade Dave.
I was working for a company in south Orlando. I lived north of the city in another county. Late one morning, one of the sales reps came into my office to tell me my license plate was no longer on my vehicle. Well, what should I do, I thought. I decided to call the Florida Highway Patrol to report that my tag was stolen. The dispatcher asked me what county was it stolen from? I said, I would assume Orange since that was the county I was in. She said I needed to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department. I did. Of course I had to look up these phone numbers since this wasn't a 911 emergency call. No big deal, right?

"Yes, I'd like to report my tag stolen."

"Where was it stolen?"

"Orange County." At least, that was my story and I was sticking to it. I didn't think I could have driven all the way from home to work without being detected by an alert law enforcement official. She asked for my information.

"You live in Seminole County?"


"Then you have to report it stolen there."

"But I think it was stolen here."

"It doesn't matter where it was stolen. You have to report it to the county in which you reside." I didn't want to argue with her about that and she did give me the number of the Seminole County Sheriff's Department. So I called and told her of my predicament. This time, the dispatcher sounded like she didn't trust me. Like I was guilty of something.

"You need to have the vehicle towed to Seminole County and call us from there." She was not being friendly.

"What do you mean, towed? Why don't I just make one of those 'Stolen Tag' signs and affix it to the back of my car and drive it up?"

"That is illegal. You can have your car impounded for an improper tag if you are pulled over. You must have it towed."

"But that's going to cost me $80 for something I had no control over." I was already trying to figure out alternatives. "Anyway, after I call you back, then what happens?"

"Within 2 hours a deputy will arrive and take your statement and write a report about your tag being stolen. You will have to purchase a new tag, plus pay a $10 fee for writing up the report. Upon receival by the state, they will issue you a $10 refund through the mail."

I said, "That's not very fair. I have to pay $80 to have my car towed, some $10 fee, plus the cost of a new tag? Suppose my tag was stolen in Miami? I'd have to have my car towed here from all the way down there?"

"Yes, sir."

Again, I said that it wasn't fair.

"That's your problem."

"OK, then. Is this phone call being recorded?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Then I want to report that my license plate has been stolen. Thank you." Click.

There was a motor vehicle tag office right down the street from where I worked, so I called them and explained my situation and what I had just gone through. She laughed.

"Don't worry. Get yourself a ride down here. Bring in your registration and we'll issue you a new tag."

That's what I did. I saved $90 by not doing it the official "police" way. But, I was absolutely legal with the state, and to me, that was all that mattered. If someone used the tag and got into trouble, I would refer to my official government recorded conversation.

With all of the hurricane damage and response time, I wonder if it works the same way. One agency nails you to the wall and the other one unscrews you. And none the wiser to each other. Bureaucracy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Heaven Sent

Well, well, Three Angels Gourmet did it again. I got a package of their Heavenly Jam Bar Mix and promptly gave it to my mother. I'm one of those fortunate ones who, at my age, is lucky enough to have both of my parents around. And, I'm certainly blessed that my mother has always been an excellent cook, so it was no problem coaxing her into making something with it. She thought about making jam bars, but then she saw another recipe suggestion for Heavenly Apple Crumble. She just happened to have a few apples laying around, so no arm twisting was required. She sprinkled cinnamon over the sliced apples and added water. Then she melted a stick of butter and stirred that in the mix. After pouring that over the apples and baking, voila! A perfect dessert treat! By the time I got there, it was about half gone. It was only by divine intervention that I got the rest of it. I told my folks that at their age, they shouldn't be eating this kind of stuff. You see, I'm still young enough to eat it, and so I did. By the next day, it was gone. All of it. I had it for breakfast. I had it for lunch. I would have had it for dinner, but it was too late. Darn. If you've ever had apple crisp and you know how much you like that, you'll just love this stuff.

Trust me. It would be a real sin if you don't try Heavenly Jam Bar Mix.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What's Whiskey Got To Do With The Price Of Gas?

When I was in the Jaycees and sold advertising for a newspaper, the editor was very active in the YMCA. They wanted to build a world class center and the first part was an Olympic size pool. He asked me if we could man the phones and solicit donations. The local phone company was willing to give us an area to make calls. I said I would bring it up at the next meeting.

We ended up with about 9 members willing to participate. When we went to the phone company, we each got a stack of 3x5 file cards with names, addresses and phone numbers. I started off by asking people for $25-50 toward the building of this pool. They all said, "No, we can't afford it right now." After about 4 calls, I knew I had to change my spiel. I then told them that we needed $150,000.

"Well, how much do you want from me?" they asked.

"Oh, $1,000 or $2,000 would be nice."

"NO WAY!" they screamed.

I said, "OK, how about $50?"

"Oh, OK, I can handle that."

I ended up collecting the most money that night, and the editor told me he had given me all the deadbeats because I sold advertising for his newspaper. He wanted to see how good I was. That is not my point, though. My point is that if you aim really high, invariably, you will get some amount from people. Sometimes, more than you thought you would ever get.

In the mid-seventies, I had a roommate who worked for a family owned liquor store. He told me about a name-brand whiskey that played mind games with its consumer base. It might have been Jack Daniel's. I don't remember for sure. A few years earlier, I had gotten sick to the point of wanting to die from drinking way too much Wild Turkey. Ever since that time, I can't stand the smell of whiskey of any type, let alone drink it. It's kind of like lamb. You either like it or you don't even want to smell it cooking.

In any event, Pete, my roommate, told me how this whiskey outfit would charge about $8.00 (back then) for a quart or whatever for most of the year. That was before we went metric. Then they'd jack the price up to around $12.00 a bottle. It would remain that way for a couple of months, then go back down to $8.00. What this, in effect, created, was a false sense that you were getting a really good deal when the price was at $8.00. People would scoff it up in anticipation of the impending price hike. This made product sales skyrocket through the roof. People would horde the stuff like it was going to disappear forever. Of course, being the gluttons that most people who need to horde alcohol are, they soon ran out and the price was then back up to $12.00 and they'd buy it again anyway. Eventually, they'd leave the price at $12.00 and raise it to $16.00 and start the whole cycle over again. At that point, people would think they were getting a good deal at $12.00, because over time, they adjusted to and had become comfortable with the $12.00 price, since they had seen it time and time again.

I think there are similarities here between that whiskey deal and what's going on with gas. Gasoline prices have been hovering around $3.00 per gallon of late. All of a sudden, I saw a gas station selling it for $2.49. WOW! Such a deal. I know the whole thing works on supply and demand, but, I kind of think of those gas guzzling SUVs as the heavy duty gasoholics of the world. They just can't seem to get enough. So, will we get used to, let's say, $3.00 a gallon, then $3.50, then back to $3.00 a gallon for a while, until it finally goes to $3.50 and stays there until the next price hike? Just a thought, but, it's not like I've never seen it happen before.

Friday, September 16, 2005

You're a B&H!

My sister is a little over three years younger than me. When I was very young I used to tease her incessantly. I was pretty nasty at times. I'm not a bad guy. I don't know what prompted me to act the way I did, but I was really mean to her sometimes. Maybe that's the way young boys are to their baby sisters.

We used to live on a farm in Ringoes, New Jersey. There was a barn not far from the house. We used to climb up on the roof of the barn just because we could. One day, I took a bed sheet with me and told her to hold it and jump. "You'll float down. It will be just like a parachute," I told her. Fortunately, she didn't do it or I wouldn't have had a sister to harass after that day. I mean, it was probably three stories tall. And she's a blonde.

She was quite the avid doll collector. She had all kinds of them. What did I know about dolls? The only one I recognized was Barbie. She became the object of my desire. By that, I mean, she became my attack doll. Poor Barbie. I don't know how many Barbies and other dolls she had, but, back then, I was an army of one. I used to take them apart and leave them that way in her room, all scattered about. She'd come in from playing with the neighbor girls and find doll heads dangling from the ceiling, where I would tie a string around their necks and tack them up. Boy, would she freak. My mother would make me put them all back together again, but it was fun to see her reaction. Before I knew what a "mature" Barbie was supposed to look like, I would pencil in nipples and pubic hair. I wasn't even old enough to know what pubic hair was, but I drew it anyway. Maybe, I had stumbled upon some father's nudist colony magazines. Boys were good at finding that kind of stuff.

One time, my father sent my mother to a tire store. Back then, not many women worked. They were stay at home moms. Right next door, there was a business called B&H Welding. We were just sitting in the car patiently waiting for Mom to come out. All of a sudden, I blurted out, "You're a B&H." She wasn't quite old enough to read.

"What did you call me?"
At that age, you tend to get more out of the tone of a voice than what you are being called.

"I said, you are a B&H!" My voice got heavier and meaner. "B&H!" She started to get upset. The more upset she got, the more I called her that.



By this time, she was crying, but I was relentless. "You're nothing but a no good B&H, you B&H, you."

By the time our mother came out, she was bawling her guts out, screaming like a banshee, all red in the face. "Hey, what's going on out here? What's wrong, Sweetie?" my mother asked her.

"David called me a B&H!" She knew I was going to get into trouble.

"What is a B&H, David?" she asked sternly.

"I don't know, Mom. It's that welding shop next door. I don't know what came over her."

My mother calmed her down. "Don't worry, it's nothing. It's not a bad word. It doesn't mean anything," she said in a comforting voice while hugging her.

In the meantime, I was waiting for that all too familiar "You just wait for your father to get home" phrase I would often hear. That usually scared me into my senses for a couple of days, since I knew what the sound of a belt was like sliding out of a pair of pants.

I don't remember now if I did get in trouble that day, but, Maggie? I just want to apologize for doing all those rotten things to you back then.

And you know what? You're not a B&H and you never were one. You're a...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Men's Room Nervana

On a recent excursion, I found this rest room.
It was the most memorable moment of the trip.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Civil Way

I've always had an interest in the Civil War. I grew up in New Jersey and that part of history was all around me. So was the Revolutionary War, and I am fascinated by both. There's something about living in a house that George Washington slept in. Ol' Georgie, he slept around. We had more of that war's history there than the Civil War, but that is the one that intrigues me the most.

I guess it's part of man's inhumanity against man. Wars between countries are more easily justified and explained than wars against fathers and sons, brothers against brothers and so on. I could never quite figure that out. Since I grew up in the north, I had more knowledge of the Federal government's take than the Confederacy's. The Blue against the Gray. I know there were many issues that caused it, not just slavery. Trade, for example. I'm not going to write a history lesson here. If I could ever believe in reincarnation, then I died in that war. I don't know which side I fought for and I don't care, either, except that slavery would have helped me choose sides if I was that knowledgeable at the time and my mind wasn't persuaded by one's natural inclination to route for the hometown. Neither side actually won in a sense that, either way, we would have come back to one country, united. Slavery would have had to have been abolished because how much longer could a nation suffer through that form of intolerance? We as a nation lost an awful lot, but we grew infinitely stronger because of it.

I have lived in Florida for almost half of my life now. I know the sentiments lean heavily toward the south for obvious reasons. I have heard the old battle cry.

That's one of the reasons I was so impressed as I drove through the Gulf states on my way to Houston. To witness firsthand the elegance of the homes was impressive enough, but Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis's retirement home caught my attention. All my life growing up, I saw artifacts from the north, never from the south. Clearly, it's a regional thing. It all depends on what part of the country you grew up in. Although Gettysburg honors all war dead, it is still where the northern president made his most famous speech. Throughout history, Robert E. Lee is still the defeated general. Jefferson Davis is still the non-president, imprisoned for a short period of time.

We took these scenic routes along U.S. 90 enroute to Houston to pretty much just get a glimpse of the Gulf coast. I never knew what I was going to see and when I did, it totally fascinated me. I made myself a promise to return one day soon to explore the rich history so inherent there, but, alas, that is not to be for a long time. I want to sense the moments President Davis spent in that home, writing his memoirs, relaxing on his front porch and taking in the smells of fresh Gulf air. Watching the steamships drift into the night. A lot of the Davis artifacts are gone. The nearby war veterans hospital next to Beauvoir, which had been converted into a museum, was wiped out. The memorabilia is gone. There were so many things to see, so many pieces of history now washed away by that horrible storm.

Man will fight man. Hurricanes and other manifestations will come to destroy us, but nothing will take away the heart and spirit that drives us to continue each and every day. We will always rebuild what was lost. We need to keep history alive for future generations. It's just our nature to be this way because we are a nation united and because we care so much.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Taking the wind out of Rev. Al Sharpton's sales pitch

During "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," when Kanye West went off script during the live broadcast, he stated that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

As far as I'm concerned, everyone has a right to their opinions. This was not the proper forum to voice it, though. To risk alienating viewer donations defeats the whole purpose of the charity event. Imagine the millions of dollars that potentially were lost because of his blatant outcry.

This leads me to Rev. Al Sharpton's position of defending him. Wouldn't one think that the good reverend would have taken a different stance? One that might insightfully conclude that the possibility of risking a monetary loss in donations jeopardizes the very same people West and the rest were trying to benefit.

In my opinion, Rev. Sharpton is discriminating here. Keeping it within that political perspective, reverse the situation. Suppose a person of a different ethnic persuasion were to state, "Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. doesn't care about white people," and someone else of Sharpton's stature were to come along and defend that statement. How would he react? Would he still agree that the hurricane benefit concert was an appropriate place to make such a claim? I think his wind would be spinning in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Prickle Down Theory

The prickly pear cactus was imported from its native South America to use as natural fencing in Australia to keep herds of cattle in check. It spread quickly and soon got out of hand. In the 1920s, the cactus moth (cactoblastis cactorium) was used extensively to stop the prickly plant from overrunning the Australian Outback. As a biological plant control, the moth was hugely successful. It was later used in other regions, including the Caribbean, to quell growth of the prickly plant.

It was such a short jump from the Caribbean to the Florida Keys for the moth, that in the late eighties, it soon migrated to the North American mainland. Scientists became increasingly alarmed at the advances the moth had made. It was imperative to stop it at a designated line of demarcation in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama; to keep the moths from heading into the Gulf coast, the Southwest, and onward into Mexico, where the cactus is vital to agriculture, horticulture and the environment.

Hurricane Katrina could have set back the methods utilized in stopping the moth from advancing. Fears have arisen that the cactus pads and moths, which consume the cacti in its caterpillar stage, have broken off from their habitat in Dauphin Island in Alabama, near Mobile, and are now scattered all around the Gulf. Katrina devastated Dauphin Island. They may be floating aimlessly toward areas they were supposed to stay away from. Currents may wash the moths ashore, where new generations may reproduce this fall. They could then move inland.

Dauphin Island was crucial in stopping the moth. It is the last barrier island where you have good access by road. There, and Santa Rosa Island near Fort Walton Beach in the Panhandle, tests were being conducted to stop them. This was also a means by the USDA Agricultural Research Service to use natural methods instead of insecticides that have proven to be ineffective.

The USDA estimates that the prickly pear industry in this country is worth $70 million annually, mostly in the Southwest where it is used mainly for foraging and landscaping.

In Mexico the fruit is consumed and usually is pickled or boiled. There, the industry is valued at up to $100 million annually, not counting what people do on their own by picking it for themselves.

Now, I'm not going to call this a potentially life threatening event or something we should lose sleep over. The sky's not falling. It's not a proven fact that this is absolutely going to happen. But, Katrina was the most horrible natural catastrophe to occur in my lifetime and I'm just trying to point out that it is going to affect our lives in ways we are not even capable of comprehending yet. The prickly pear dilemma is just one of the many small things that might impact people in silent ways you just won't read about on a daily basis.
All of those small things add up.

Katrina will leave us in a pickle and I don't feel too Kosher about that.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Fate of Beauvoir and A State of Anarchy

UPDATE 9/8/05

New information on Beauvoir, from the Wednesday, September 7, 2005 Newark (NJ)
Star Ledger By Suleman Din, Star-Ledger Staff:
BILOXI, Miss. -- Beauvoir, the seaside retirement estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, stood for more than 150 years as a great example of Southern architecture and antebellum lifestyle.

With lawns shaded by tall oaks, cedars and magnolias, Davis' cottage was simple in design but elegant in detail. A tapered staircase led to the center of its extensive wrap-around porch. The front door was cut glass, the windows covered by louvred green shutters. The building was painted bright white with green trim.

Just nine months ago, the historical society that maintains the grounds finished repainting Beauvoir's numerous chimneys and shutters, reattaching the shutter frames, and installing a lift in the back for disabled visitors.

"It was looking its best in 50 years," said Patrick Hotard, the historical director of the house, a state and national landmark operated by the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "Now I feel like we are even before square one. I've been working here six years, and you get attached to a place. It's very trying on the emotions. It is one of the last great old houses of the South."

Early reports out of Biloxi said the cottage, which houses Davis family furniture, art, and archival items such as letters and artifacts, had been leveled, but Richard V. Forte, chairman of the Sons, was happy to paraphrase Mark Twain, noting such reports of Beauvoir's demise were greatly exaggerated.

"I am confident that it will be rebuilt," Forte said. "It's just a matter of cleanup and restoration."

The winds and storm surge of Hurricane Katrina did damage the home heavily: The porchline and front steps are entirely gone, part of the roof is torn away, windows are smashed, and the back portion is crumbling. Floodwaters water pushed many of its artifacts out into the mud, where some of them were stolen.

Other buildings on the 52-acre site fared worse. The war veterans hospital next to Beauvoir, which had been converted into a museum, was flattened, along with two matching pavilions that stood in front of it. A marble monument that framed the brick walkway to the home was broken. The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, built for $4.5 million in 1998, had its first floor washed out.

Davis holds the distinction of being the only president of the Confederacy, but the West Point graduate was also known as a hero in the Mexican War of 1847. He was a congressman and senator, and was secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce.

He was captured by Union soldiers in 1865 and jailed for two years. He moved to Beauvoir in 1877 and lived the last years of his life there, writing his memoirs. He died in 1889.

Beauvoir -- French for "beautiful view" -- had been built in 1851 and went through the Civil War unscathed. But Hurricane Camille damaged the home extensively in 1969. Forte said the cottage's raised design is what saved it from being washed away then, and now.

"They knew what they were doing back then," Forte said. "The way they built that cottage, it lets the water and air go right under it."

Still, the place is a wreck, and Forte and Hotard had no estimate on the cost of repairs.

"It's going to be very substantial," Hotard said.

Forte said that because Beauvoir is a historical landmark, there will be grants available for reconstruction. Private donations also will be solicited, he said. The Friends of Beauvoir have set up a fund for those wanting to help reconstruction efforts.

Architectural experts have been brought in to examine the building and see what can be recovered.

Many valuable pieces inside the home, such as portraits of Davis and his family, are still intact, Hotard said.

The hospital museum, now in rubble, housed a priceless collection of military artifacts from Confederate soldiers, including uniforms and weaponry, and much of that was stolen when the walls came down.

Forte said that the historical society has provided a list of missing items to eBay, so that if any appear for sale, they can be confiscated and returned.

"There is a market for these items," he said. "That's just an unfortunate human trait, and I don't understand that why someone would steal from a home, especially this one."

To prevent further theft, the grounds are now guarded by Beauvoir's own security people and the army.

Bertram Hayes Davis, the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis, said the family is relieved that enough of the structure remains for restoration efforts.

But right now, he said, the family is more concerned for the people in Biloxi and along the Gulf Coast who have lost their homes and their loved ones. It's what Jefferson Davis would have felt, he said.

"He would have put the needs of others first," Davis said. "The home can be reconstructed. Beauvoir will be a part of the Gulf Coast for hundreds of years to come."

Suleman Din may be reached at

This, according to a report published in the Baltimore (Md.) Sun, September 1: Regarding damage to Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library in Biloxi, Mississippi, John Hildreth of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, says: “It’s maybe 500 yards from the beach, Ground Zero in Biloxi. We’d heard at first that it had been destroyed, but I found out today that it’s still standing on its foundations. The galleries (porches) are gone, and there has been significant damage to the house. We don’t know yet how all the papers in Davis’s presidential library have fared.”

An illustration of Beauvoir is shown in my previous post.

There has been much news coverage of the wanton looting, rapings, muggings, shootings and other crimes being committed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Upon observation, most of these incidents have been allegedly perpetrated by a majority of blacks (or African Americans, if you prefer.) Upon investigation, I note that most of the people left in the city are not the well to do. They had no real way to escape. No car. No public transportation. No cabs. No money. They are stuck until some entity arrives to help them. The escape routes are limited. These "refugees" have been held captive in the wake of Katrina. I watched the news footage of all types of people looting stores and stealing everything not locked down. Food and water I can understand. Certain other items necessary to sustain life, of course. Medications, for example, if one suffers from diabetes or other maladies. For the life of me though, I can't understand someone stealing TV's. To watch what? You will not have electricity for a long time. Where would you take these items? Your house is no longer there or isn't livable and you certainly cannot walk out of the city with it, nor take it on the bus. The TV stations were knocked off the air. It sort of reminds me of an Eskimo stealing an air conditioner to take to the North Pole. There are always idiots out there who haven't got a clue.

Caches of guns and other weapons were stolen. There were reports of gunshots fired at helicopters. I think I can understand why this would happen. With little or no police protection, the thugs and gang leaders are attempting to control what's left of the city. The police and military are threats to them. They want control and will use whatever means they have available. The authorities must act fast and mobilize. In the meantime, how does America's society look at the rest of the populace stuck there? No one is going to be extremely rational when placed in this type of scenario. Look at what just happened. They lost about everything. Many of their loved ones could be missing. The sweltering heat is unbearable. There is no water and nothing to eat. Where can they make their next bathroom run? Next to the dead, floating or lying in the streets? They feel cornered, as if there is no way out. They are watching their relatives, friends and neighbors slowly drift away to an untimely death. Most are just fighting to stay alive. Faced with impending plagues, what would you do?

Not all people are born leaders. Many like to follow, not out of weakness, but it's just not their nature. You've witnessed now the strong who have risen up the ranks to bring about order. These are deserving souls and should be remembered. The hooligans trying to disrupt this broken down society should not be represented as the whole. They are losers of the world grasping at their last hurrahs in their own little world of freedom and they'll take down anyone who gets in their way. This has nothing to do with race. This is how the human race reacts when faced with catastrophes.

Just wait and see what happens when and if we ever start nuking each other.