Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? My Experience With Hurricane Sandy

Survived Hurricane Sandy

And all I have to show for it is this blog post – no T-shirt yet.

That was one nasty trick without the treat. I guess the treat is still being here to write about it.

Was I scared? No, actually. Besides the difference in how it sounded, like a train rolling very close by the house, I’ve experienced more intense thunderstorms. Lots of wind, I could hear stuff flying about, but thankfully it didn’t shake the house or rattle the windows. It went by and over the properties – not directly at it.

And blissfully, I fell asleep because that constant droning noise sorta knocks you out.

This Jersey Thing and the Howling Outside Your Door

Let me tell you a bit about middle and southern NJ. I am located a couple of miles from Trenton and Princeton, that’s the neck / bend of this kidney-shaped state. I am 45 plus minutes west of the NJ shore. However, regardless of all these miles away from the shore, practically this entire area of the state is ZERO feet above sea level. We are right at the level of where the ocean meets the land. There’s barely a decent rise. And the soil out here IS sand.

So picture this on a dark night: a lull in the wind, a spittle of rain and you start to believe that the media has over-hyped another storm. Listening to the radio, waiting for the storm, reading the endless stories about this stuff online, you start to think: what was the hysteria all about?

She’s Coming For You

Then, Hurricane Sandy arrives. On the night of a FULL MOON. The tide is already high. From what I heard, 2 ft above normal. She comes. Her voice rising. Throwing things around. She’s getting stronger and stronger. Howling in a pitch so high it strains your nerves. Tides are rising in some places as high as 15 feet.

You remember that you live at sea level. No big swells. No massive hills. No mountains to break that rising tide.

You realize that 90 plus mile winds are bringing everything with the ocean (boats, pieces of boardwalk, cars, and other debris) up into and ripping off part of your home, or perhaps dragging it off its foundation onto a highway nearby.

Thinking About the Katrina Aftermath

A few years ago, I went down south to visit a friend who showed me the area after Hurricane Katrina hit Alabama, Louisiana and other states. She showed me a beach front, which was clean as a whistle. I started swearing involuntarily, after she told me it used to have amusement parks, hotels, food stands and everything you’d expect at the beach.

It was gone. All gone. Like looking at virgin territory. Like no one had build anything there before.

Hindsight

In the past, I wanted a house at the shore. I loved the beaches, the boardwalks, and driving aimlessly down the entire stretch. I probably could have gotten a cute little bungalow or maybe a multi-story property to rent during the Spring and Summer.

But I looked at the flatness of the area. I thought of stories my Mom told about what it’s like when the tide comes in to flood a small country and doesn’t stop. I chickened out. So, I picked an area that is NOT a flood zone. That’s information you see might when you sign the albatross (mortgage) papers (I think it depends on the state).

It’s hard to resist living near the water. I feel drawn to it. The sweet smell and salty taste of the ocean air. The soothing sound of the tide. The endless view, staring out at the entire world, and if you look hard enough to see the curve of the horizon.

The Governor and Interstate Assistance

Tuesday night, I listened to the car radio, ’cause I had no power. I heard my governor, big Chris Christie, mention the work being done to get the power back on. Almost right afterwards, the lights came on. Talk about a delightful and nice coincidence! Relief filled me: I wouldn’t be freezing my butt off that night. Although I had candles, flashlights and extra blankets ready.

Driving around today, I saw many out of state utility power trucks. So, thank you to the people from out of state who came to NJ to help.

I’m also thankful for coming out unscathed from the storm.

And my prayers are for those who were not as fortunate.

What’s On Your Mind?

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Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 1

Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 2

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Are Black Children Too Stupid To Learn?

Florida School System Gives Up on Black Children

Are black children really that hard to educate? Or are people who are supposed to be professionals, you know – experts at teaching, declaring that there’s an actual limit to black intelligence?

Are black children really too stupid to learn?

A nephew of mine believed he wasn’t as bright as Asians, and he was only in 2nd grade at the time. Who’s at fault for demotivating him from learning? If all black children hear is how stupid they are – why would they feel inclined to pay attention in school?

My mother pulled my brother out of a school system that declared him not-too-bright. She recognized B.S. and sent him somewhere else.

In high school, I was questioned as to who was writing my essays. Meanwhile, I was writing essays for my brother while he attended college. And he was studying to complete a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which is almost entirely nothing but complex mathematics.

Here’s the article source link: Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals

A few excerpts from the news article:

The Florida state Board of Education passed a controversial plan to set reading and math goals based upon race.

On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

JFK Middle has a black student population of about 88 percent.

… Florida Department of Education said the goals recognize that not every group is starting from the same point and are meant to be ambitious but realistic.

Robinson called the state board’s actions essentially “proclaiming racism” and said she wants Palm Beach County to continue to educate every child with the same expectations, regardless of race.

We all – especially mothers and fathers – should have the right to any and all learning alternatives. And these children should not be hostages to any group. The only pertinent issue is that they get an education which allows them to be self-sufficient and productive citizens.

This reminds me of the voter registration issue, where we are singled out as the only people too stupid to follow directions.

Frustrating, to say the least.

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Update: NY Times Article – Florida Defends Learning Goals

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November 4, 2012

Update: NY Times Article – How Do You Raise a Prodigy?

Money quotes:

There is no federal mandate for gifted education. But if we recognize the importance of special programs for students whose atypical brains encode less-accepted differences, we should extrapolate to create programs for those whose atypical brains encode remarkable abilities.

Once again, it falls to parents to advocate for their children’s needs, often in the face of a hostile or indifferent educational system.

Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, himself a conductor and a former wunderkind, remarked dryly, “If Beethoven were sent to nursery school today, they would medicate him, and he would be a postal clerk.

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Comic Con: The Nerd Economy Thrives

Went today. Never attended this particular one before. Although I’ve been to a few sci-fi or writer’s conventions. I thought Comic Con was only a west coast affair.

Rather nice and interesting event, I expected TV shows or something of that nature. But it was pure comics, video games, and the like.

I only regret not getting my hands on a T-shirt. It ended too soon, before I could see everything. And it was packed!

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Black Women: We all cannot be instant best friends

In my opinion, friendships grow in the same manner as other relationships. There is a courtship or getting to know you phase. There is the gradual “tell me more about yourself” or “I’m telling you more about myself” phases.

  • You share ideas.
  • You share mildly humorous short stories.
  • You share your food.
  • You share your time. You share your ambitions. And so on….

Overall, in whatever manner it occurs, trust must be earned. Respect must be earned.

For each and every person who decide to be friends, it takes time. One of the things I’ve noticed among SOME black women is that there is no in-between phase. In an environment such as school or work, from day one, I’ll be subjected to the most intimate – things that I really don’t care to know about – verbal dump.

The BFF Hotline

I’m thinking of starting a 900 number phone line so these chatterboxes can spend the $3-$5 per minute babbling on about their inconsequential lives.

Yes, I say inconsequential, because I don’t know them enough to care or consider whether their issues are worth being concerned about. So, they shouldn’t be offended when after backing up their verbal garbage truck and dumping on me, which I only allow after a couple of times, I get up and walk away to avoid their presence. Even if they follow me, I run away saying, “I’ve gotta do something right now, don’t have time.”

I really do have better things to do. In these environments, my time is money. I’m not one to provide a sympathetic ear until I know you. A relationship doesn’t begin unless you invite me to lunch and we use some of the off-time to talk. It doesn’t begin unless we share some hobbies and want to hang out somewhere at some time. But it doesn’t come with interrupting me at the job as often as a chatty pest may see fit. It doesn’t begin until these women show some consideration, a reasonable attitude, and address me in a proper manner.

Misdirection and Disaffection

I’m very polite, but some folks want to assume I’m a doormat. You know, everybody loves to bait a black woman to see her turn into a “She Hulk.” Not gonna happen with me.

And, I’m puzzled by the strange attitude I get from some black women.

They speak in such a odd way towards me. See, I’m not okay with that common tone of anger. I feel that if you have an issue with someone else, take it up with them.

A real friendship doesn’t begin with another woman doing all the talking, having a one-way “dialogue”.

Real conversations are about give and take. Some black women are too old to be told what’s common sense. If someone has a problem – yes, one can talk about it, but one has to listen to the other party speak too. It is give and take. Not take, take and take some more.

An Acquaintance Is The Door Leading to a Real Friendship, or Not

If a woman’s overall conduct isn’t ladylike, discrete or show some semblance of modesty, she shouldn’t be surprised when people refuse to listen to her. Dodge her company, or ignore her entirely….

When a black woman approaches another, assumptions should not be made.

  • All of our experiences are not the same.
  • All of our backgrounds are not the same.
  • Our culture isn’t just one.  There are multitudes of black culture.
  • All of us do not view political, religious and social issues about BLACK, WHITE or OTHER PEOPLE in the same way.
  • Not everybody is a hugging, kissing, and touchy-feeling kind of person.
  • Not everybody wants to hear the details of your intimate life. Ask if they want to hear it first.
  • Not everybody speaks in the loudest voice they have when speaking to other black women. And that belligerence, that “chip on the shoulder” is noticeable to everybody. That’s why you are having conflicts with people.
  • Not everybody wants to hear you complain about every other woman on the job. This isn’t junior high where you need to have “backup” in your “beef” with what’s-her-face.
  • Stop assuming. Ask first. Don’t assume that everybody “knows that.”
  • And don’t be friendly, only whenever you want something. People aren’t as stupid as you think.

If you cannot treat others with respect, don’t be surprised when that disrespect is returned in kind.

Life will go a lot smoother when you let go of the anger at other black women first. So, look in the mirror, smile at that black woman. Forgive her. Learn to like, love and respect that person in the mirror.

And that disposition towards other black women will change as well….

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