A brief update, y'all...
We might have tried to post whilst away, but our retro 1930's motel "cabin" (remember those?) had no internet connection. A humongous TV which turned out of be of some interest since the hurricane in the Gulf is looming toward New Orleans. I would say "shades of Katrina" but with Bobby Jindal in the governor's chair the state is in good hands. Not only that, but the corrupt Nagin is gone from New Orleans, which must give citizen morale a huge boost! Besides, (I think) the Army Corps of Engineers has been busy repairing and replacing in the years since Katrina showed the government's ineptitude with the levees.
New Orleans is a bowl - a sinking bowl at that. It's an open question how long before it sinks so low before it becomes uninhabitable. Visit while you can - after Isaac of course... by the way, folks who live in Hurricane Territory don't say, in this case, "Hurricane Isaac". It's just "Isaac" to them, or "Andrew", Katrina, or "Camille"...
So why would anyone in their right mind ever have founded this city? The answer is complicated by culture and commerce, but the simple answer is: the confluence of the mouth of the mighty Mississip and the Gulf of Mexico.
Many of us were raised on the stories of the river, the same one from which Samuel Clemens drew his pseudonym: "Mark Twain". Among his many jobs, he'd been a navigator on the Mississipi. Being able to discern the depth at any given spot on the river required dropping a piece of weighted twine inscribed with markings that allowed the person using it to see where the twine hit the mud - in other words, sounding the depth of the water. This permitted the captain to know if he was in any danger of getting caught on the ever-shifting mud bottom.
Once again, the country watches and waits to see what Isaac does. At least the bottom half of the country does. Over in California they're dealing with earthquakes. Hard to say which disaster I'd rather face.
Like we get a choice right?