Hurricane Irene, Book Review, Food Stamps Abuse, TV Reviews, Much More

We've got a book review for a book as much about the author as the murder victim of its name: "If I'm Missing or Dead" by Janine Latus.  Tempting links to my recent reviews on competitive reality TV show posts on my The Morton Report column, a pic of Barack Obama that says it all, a quick lesson on how your tax dollars are used for food stamps and a write up comparing Hurricane Irene to Hurricane Katrina.

Pic of the Day

Hurricane Irene Versus Hurricane Katrina

My plan was to make a big post about the recent Hurricane Irene, to rant about what a big nothing burger it turned out to be, how the east coast politicos didn't bite their fingernails and pray that the hurricane would go away, Indeed, as was my plan, I was going to launch into an invective as to the complete over-reaction of the east coast politicos over this Hurricane.

All with a moral, as I envisioned, that Hurricane Katrina, with all of its hype, didn't have to end up so tragic, with yet another assertion that the bulk of the Katrina damage was caused by the busted levees rather than the storm itself.

I've an entire Blog devoted to Hurricane Katrina, a move I was impelled to make as a way of documenting history for my granddaughter, that she would know the history of the storm, the truth behind it….all in direct contradiction with what would be the liberals' version of events.

I have kept up with my Hurricane Katrina blog, check it out My Katrina Blog

I even did a review of Brinkley's book on Hurricane Katrina and have kept up to the date on the fate of the clumsy players of that storm, including NO Mayor Ray Nagin, , LA Governor Kathleen Blanco, President Bush, who bore the brunt of it all as the locals allowed school buses to go under water and citizens to swelter on roof tops for their indecision.

Except, as it would turn out, Hurricane Irene did cause quite a bit of damage though little loss of life. I did, with chagrin, take note as to how deaths are tabulated during these events and I smile. Here in Delaware we had two young men who attended some kind of Hurricane party the night Irene came blowing into the First State. At some point they wanted to go home and, as the news outlets reported, could not find anyone to drive them home. So they took off walking, as the last to see them alive said.

Their bodies were found, dead, in a local canal.

These two accidental deaths, obviously, were attributed as deaths caused by Hurricane Irene. I mean, come on, this is really a stretch. In addition, a man suffered a heart attack as he was putting up plastic on his windows and his death too was charged as death caused by Irene.

The logic is, as I understand, that had the hurricane not come these people would still be alive.

If nothing else we should look with critical eye at deaths attributed to such natural events as this as bad hearts often choose these times to stop working and people make bad choices that the natural events cause to turn deadly.

Still we had Governors from North Carolina up through New Jersey on through to Connecticut all get out and sound all pious and holy. They did not want to bear the criticism that poured upon Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco. Here on the Delaware coast residents living within 3/4 of a mile near the water were told to evacuate. I asked why 3/4 of a mile, why that oddball number? No one had an answer. Why not a mile, a nice round number, for God's sake?

Still and so, Hurricane Irene won't go down in nefarious history as did Katrina.

Hurricanes are dangerous nasty things. Hurricanes that come upon a city stupidly built within a land bowl and surrounded by levees not kept strong though money was allocated, are the most dangerous and nasty of all.

And the President of the country has little to do with hurricanes. Obama paid not a whit of attention to Irene, nor should he have.


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Saturday morning we decided to remove the ceiling fan from the Green Room (after much grieving) and replace it with a couple of nice floor stand lights. Now that we're using the Wii pretty much every day, the ceiling fan was in the way. I'll miss it in the summer.

Harry said he could take it down, but we also wanted the wall switch to run an outlet that didn't exist yet, behind the loveseat. So I called our electrician. On a Saturday, I expected someone to take my information (maybe even a machine) and perhaps I'd be able to schedule an appointment in a week or two.

Well, the economy is good for some things, anyway; the electrician is hungry. Not only did I get a real person, she was the scheduler and she called the guy and poof! he was at our house within half an hour.

We explained what we wanted, trying to get through to him that it wasn't so much "do it this way" or "do it that way" as it was "this is what we want to end up with." Remove the ceiling fan. Cover the hole with this plate. Install two outlets, or a four-spot outlet in the wall behind the loveseat. Rewire the wall switch so it runs the floor lamps from the new outlet(s). He got the idea and after Harry helped him take the ceiling fan down (it was stubborn), Harry left for work.

The electrician (his name was Jim) removed the old wall switch and played with the wiring behind it for awhile. When he tried to insert a long thin pole to run the new wire down inside the wall, it wouldn't cooperate. He "fished" for a long time. No luck.

He and I and then Harry and I and then he and Harry discussed options, including some sort of remote switch, but Harry remembered the remote turn-on for the lights that we wanted with our alarm system didn't work. We didn't think this would work, either, so we gave Jim permission to cut a hole in the wall, just above the baseboard, so he could fish for his wire from closer to it.

That worked, of course, but left a hole in the wall.

The electrician then cut the hole for the new four-spot outlet. He put it way over to one side; not sure why. Once that was done, it was time to go under the house and connect the two.

Note to self: Don't cut holes in the wall until you've gone under the house to be sure you can get to where you want the hole to be.

You got it. Once underneath the house, he found his way blocked by air conditioning ducting. He was under there a long time. When he finally came out, he said he couldn't get to the wall and wanted to know if there was another way in? I think if he hadn't already cut the outlet hole, he would have wanted me to change what I wanted him to do.

I didn't think it would be much help, but there is a hole in the bedroom closet. The floor where we keep a bunch of crap has the second crawl space entrance. So I dug out the stuff from the closet (what a mess) and he went down that way. I had to sit next to the hole while he was underneath, as I didn't feel like chasing my cats out from under the house and God knows Hunter would fall in just walking by.

That did work, but I swear I heard the guy down there whispering "I need help," "Help me," and then his breathing (which yes I could hear in the bedroom sitting by the hole) got fainter and fainter. Was he hurt? Was he stuck? Was it a ruse of some kind to get me under the house? (I watch too much CSI.) Would the EMTs cut a bigger hole in my floor to get him out?

When I couldn't stand it anymore, I leaned over and stuck my head partway in the hole. "How you doing down there, Jim?" I held my breath; if he was stuck or claustrophobic he might not answer me very loudly . . . or at all. I really, really, really didn't want to call an ambulance to dig a man out from under my house.

"Pretty good," he said, loud and clear, "but I might need you to pull up on the wire I stuck through that room's wall."

Oh, good, he was okay. What was I hearing, then? Perhaps it was alaHouse's poltergeist?

Turns out he got the wire stuff done without my help. That was good because I would have had to close the closet door in order to leave the closet floor opening wide open like that, and closing it felt wrong somehow. Sorta like I would be cutting off his escape route, even though the door doesn't lock and the guy had a flashlight.

Finally, all done!

The Green Room looks very different. At first we were afraid we'd screwed up; the new floor stand lamps are behind the loveseat and you can see the light in the television screen. Oops!

But once the TV was on, the soft lighting from the lamps blends into whatever's on screen and it's easy to ignore it. If we need more light, we can turn the floor lamps down to face the loveseat, or turn on the fluorescent arm lamp on the little table (which is now plugged in behind the loveseat, too, not halfway across the room).

Harry has already patched the wall and ceiling and repainted them both. And isn't that romantic, too?

Now I have no more excuses why I can't "Just Dance," and I can no longer blame my lack of coordination on the ceiling fan.


The Desk Drawer writer's exercise list

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All American Handyman

HGTV's All American Handyman

America's Got Talent

Big Brother

Big Brother-Zombie Brendon evicted again

Big Brother-Tears Flood BB House

Big Brother-Brenchel Morphs Into Jochel

Bachelor Pad

Bachelor Pad Turns Into Couple Pad

Bachelor Pad 2011-Summary, Speculation and Snark

HGTV Design Star

Design Star Down to Top Two

Dancing With the Stars

The 2011 Emmy Awards

The Top 20 Emmy 2011 Fashions-Best Dress, Worst Dress, Fashion Categories I Made Up

Hell's Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen-The Final Four

What Not to Wear
What Not to Wear-The Poorly Dressed Can Rejoice

Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Extreme Home Makeover Comes to Backyard of Reality TV Columnist

Survivor: South Pacific

Survivor South Pacific-A Sinner Pervert Joins the Upolu Tribe

Survivor South Pacific-If Nothing Else the Men Are Very Handsome

X Factor

Project Runway

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"If I Am Missing or Dead", by Janine Latus

Here's a book as much about the author and the author's family as it is about the murdered woman.

Janine Latus, a provocatively good writer, an expert at the understatement, tell story of her family and her sister Amy, who went missing in the spring of 2002 and was found dead. Amy died at the hands of her lover at the time, a n'er-do-well she met on the Internet.

Amy was mistreated and abused by this man she dared to love. She often phoned her sister Janine with the problems with this man and Janine counseled her.

Only as the reader continues along the reader discovers that Janine has male issues of her own and they are very shocking. To all the world and to her troubled sister, Janine looked to have it all. She was married to a doctor, did not want for material things, had a beautiful home and a happening career as a journalist.

Latus doesn't shock the reader with the snippets of her life with a very weird and perverted man, no matter what the outside world saw. Instead the reader is guided through her young life in a rollicking family headed by a real nut case for a father. Janine, and Amy's, father was a bit of a pervert, spanking his daughters until they were well into their teens, talking trash and saying things that a father should never say to his daughters. The reader moves on to Janine's adulthood, her struggle to complete her education, obtain a college and extended degree, her life in a ghetto.

In fact so much of the book is about Janine Latus that I was left wondering when the murdered woman would merit a mention. Which is not to say Janine's story was not a compelling one but potential readers should know that Amy 's story is but a small part of the story.

Janine's husband, to my shock, was a genuine asshole of the highest order. He monitored everything Janine put in her mouth, he weighed her every day, he pressured her into having two breast augmentations. The most humiliating of all was how he demanded that she wear very short skirts, tight tops, very high heels and other provocative attire in public. In fact the more stares of shock his wife got the more Janine's husband was delighted, even if in front of his children.

It took a while for Janine to gather the courage she needed to leave her abusive spouse even as she constantly counseled her beloved sister Amy to ditch the creep she was living with. An affluent life is not worth the cost of a human soul even if Janine's husband didn't murder her as Amy's former lover did.

I found myself wondering what the Latus family thought of this book. There was no attempt to disguise the characters. Latus' ex-husband the pervert, once a respected doctor, and still a respected doctor for all I know, is depicted as a pervert for all the world, his medical colleagues and his children, to read at will. Janine's father is also a weirdo. Janine's siblings have all turned out well, even her murdered sister Amy was successful at her career.

But the rock over the creeps is definitely turned over and what's underneath is really ugly.

Here is Janine's Simon and Schuster web site.

The English language has some wonderful nouns for groups of animals.There is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), a School of fish, an Exaltation ofdoves and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls.

Now consider the baboon. The loudest, most dangerous and viciously aggressive of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons --- a Congress.

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves, don't they?



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