This week, WTF invited her favourite leaver of comments on the blog, Andrew Purcell, to write about his experience when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. He accepted and the result is exceptional.
“I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”
-Marcus Cole/Babylon 5
This isn’t really a rant as much as it is a series of observations of things that stood out. It is hard to be angry at a natural disaster. They happen. Something about living on a planet that isn’t just a barren chunk of solid rock. A hurricane is not a villain, just a fact of life in my part of the world.
The leadership exhibited by our elected officials came as a pleasant surprise considering the candidates Texans often vote for. It has been a bipartisan and successful endeavor. Even the visits by Ubiquitous Orange Presence came off without making things worse.
There are heroes. People towed their boats from one flooded neighborhood to another and pulled flood victims from their houses. I’ve never seen so many monster trucks. Several local mosques built on higher ground opened their doors as shelters the day the storm hit. A furniture salesman pulled every mattress from his warehouse and turned his 160,000 square foot showroom into a shelter. The Cajun Navy showed up with their iconic (and incredibly loud) air boats. There were civilian and military rescue crews from across the country (I passed a convoy of a dozen vehicles marked “San Diego Fire and Rescue”).
There are the not-quite-so-heroic. The local pastor of a mega-church with a national following could have become the conscience of the city. Instead, he had to be embarrassed into opening his 16,000 seat facility as a shelter four days after the storm hit. He explained that no one had asked him but no one had asked the furniture salesman or the imams either, they just did it. The next day, he led a thanksgiving service and promptly passed the collection plate among the refugees.
There are villains. The vermin that normally hide under rocks saw the disaster as a way to profit financially or politically. The schemers and scammers and rumor-mongers and run-of-the-mill looters. If there is a Hell, these folks have priority reservations.
For those of you who know hurricanes only through movies and television, one hundred mile an hour winds can be incredibly unpleasant but the main cause of damage are the rains and floods that they bring. The eye of Hurricane Harvey actually hit the Texas coast about two hundred miles south of Houston. Under normal circumstances, it would have continued inland until it cleared the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that fed it and quickly died out, we would have cleaned up our yards and gone back to work. Unfortunately its voyage across Texas was stalled for several days as a second weather front held it in a stationary position over the Gulf, causing it to dump record amounts of rain over a large piece of the state. From central Texas to the Gulf coast, the topography is largely downhill. Water travels downhill. All that water went downhill and it all followed the rivers and bayous to Houston, adding to the fifty inches of rain that had already been deposited directly on us.
Eighty years ago, the City of Houston built a pair of dams to protect itself from flooding just like this. Two big dirt walls, several miles long. One runs from east to the west where it meets its mate that continues to the south. Simple. Elegant. Practical. Inexpensive. Nobody questioned this arrangement until now because it worked. The area around the dams was all farm land. In the unlikely case of water coming over the top, some rancher would lose a few cows, the cost of doing business. This system of flood control is likely to be reconsidered once we dry out. That farm land has been replaced by about 10,000 homes that are now under water. And there aren’t 10,000 spare homes to replace them.
I was back in Houston briefly to rip out soggy carpets and retrieve stuff from the house. A couple of signs in front of one of the unflooded houses offered helpful contact information, free cleaning supplies, free water and beer and a barbecue later in the afternoon.
Yeah. It’s still Texas.
The rest of the blog is by WTF, hence the lowered tone. We start our review of the week’s clothing cock-ups with actor John Malkovich in the South of France.
It’s Colonel Sanders in sandals. But this is not finger-lickin’ good. It leaves the same bad taste in the mouth as a bucket of the Colonel’s revolting offerings.
To London where strumpet Jemma Lucy emerged from the Celebrity Big Brother wearing House of CB.
Jemma, whose USP is climbing into bed with people on reality TV shows, is wearing something handy for such activities, the sartorial equivalent of an emergency entrance.
To the TV Choice Awards and “celebrity” Jessica Shears from TV shagfest Love Island, also wearing House of CB.
This is a pink condom with cups. The cups need to be bigger. Much bigger. Like the poet in Psalm 23, her cups runneth over.
And now a trio of awful men’s looks from the GQ Awards. First, actor Jared Leto (who has the honour of appearing three weeks in a row) wearing Gucci.
There is exuberance and there is ridiculous. This went past ridiculous several miles back and is currently parked at “Christ, that’s bad”, the lovechild of a picnic cloth and a tapestry cushion with too-short trousers displaying white logo socks. What the blue tie has to do anything, WTF cannot say.
Next, Arsenal footballer Hector Bellerin, wearing Alexander McQueen.
The suit is like a giant pocket handkerchief and the trousers are not only too short, flashing an abundance of ankle, but are also seriously snug over the unmentionables.
And third, Blur‘s Alex James, wearing who knows what.
This is like the scene in Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall where Paul Pennyfeather gets debagged at an Oxford college and sent down. Alex seems too have lost his razor and his iron as well as his trousers ….
This is actress Whoopi Goldberg at the Couture Council Awards wearing Thom Browne.
Whoopi is clad in what looks like a partially deflated kiddies’ paddling pool and a deconstructed mitre. This is insane. People have been locked up for less than this.
Finally we pop into the Venice Film Festival and Italian TV personality Sonia Lorenzini wearing Musani Couture.
WARNING – THIS IS BAD. AND BY BAD, WTF MEANS BAD!!!!!!
This is the rancid crème de la crème of Minge Moments. WTF has no intention of giving you a close-up. Suffice it to say Sonia’s minge is more visible than the recent solar eclipse on a clear day in Columbus, South Carolina. You should not look directly at either – and for good reason.
This week’s It’s Got To Go comes from WTF aficionado Ruth from Canonbury who is rightly appalled by Glenda and Alan Baker of Crewe, whose story appeared in The Sunday Sport. Under the headline “He shagged the Sunday dinner chicken…but I still love him”, Glenda recounted how she discovered her spouse “doing the sex” to the (uncooked) bird intended for their lunch. In order to demonstrate her displeasure, Glenda “twatted him with a spoon” and has since forbidden him from “doing the sex” to her because she does not want to catch salmonella. Readers will be relieved to hear that the bird went into the bin without any further human contact. WTF is all for culinary experimentation but stuffing a chicken with real sausage-meat is just not on. It’s Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Please keep those comments coming in as they make WTF very happy. And don’t forget your excellent suggestions for It’s Got To Go. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x