John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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JfZ making a mess of the web
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Monday, August 16, 2004
24 Hurricane Charley pix

Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.
Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.
Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.
Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.
Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.
Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.Gawk at a larger pop-up image.

These photographs were taken by the intrepid staff photgraphers at the Naples Daily News.  If you wish to help the people in this area, there are many ways.

Go to the NDN How to Help page.

Sunday, August 15, 2004
Evangelical Christianity has been hijacked

Click for more info
Early this month, I asked, will U.S Christians overlook obvious Bush sins?  I pointed out that some Christians not so hardened in their hearts and myopicly focussed on Republican candidates' perrenial re-election promises on so-called 'family values' issues are taking a more critical look at the incumbent candidate for the top job -- George W. Bush -- evaluating his performance and subsequently concluding that he and his administration's policies leave much to be desired.  Specifically, U.K.-based Christian Aid reports that billions of dollars in Bush's Iraq Defense Fund has gone MIA.  Billions of dollars from the sale of the Iraqi people's own oil for which the Bush administration remains totally unaccountable.

I appreciate all the comments you cared to share on that topic.  While this topic is definitely related, it isn't about Bush or his oil buddies stealing $20 billion.  So, in order to give Dubya the benefit of the doubt in this one matter alone, given his dismal track record of running his own businesses in the past, I'll just assume that like the those stockpiles of Iraqi WMDs, the IDF billions of dollars are buried in some unlocateable sand dune in the vast desert of the growing Bush World government bueracracy.  Big oil, corporate thieves, and inept or corrupt politicians are such common place things to discuss in the Bush World culture, I publicly challenge any late night TV comic to find a humorous angle to drum up a chuckle over them.

Bush chewed the head off of one of his aborted but adopted fetus collection.  Blink.

Bush and his cronies stole $20 billion dollars from the Iraqi people!  Crickets.

Wait just a minute, Sparky.  Before you go firing off some vitriolic hate email to me that would rival the Satanic Verses for my fetus remark, I would just like to say that I haven't put my office workspace back together post-Hurricane Charley so I wasn't able to make an eye-catching image for you.  In this case, that's probably a good thing.  I do have the skillz to make that fetus remark a mere caption to a visual image.  You might be thankful that I'm limited to a linguistic two-by-four to get your bovine attention on this entry.

I recently read a Belief Net article entitled 'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked': An Interview with Tony Campolo and it was helpful to understand that not all Christians are in lock step with the idea of four more years of Bush World.
It's necessary to know Jesus in an intimate and personal way. That's what it means to be an evangelical. I don't think it means evangelicals are necessarily in favor of capital punishment. I'm one evangelical that is opposed to capital punishment. I do not believe being an evangelical means women should be debarred from pastoral ministry. I believe women do have a right to be in ministry. It doesn't mean evangelicals are supportive of the Republican party in all respects, because here's one evangelical who says "I think the Republican party has been the party of the rich, and has forgotten many ethnic groups and many poor people.

I am an evangelical who holds to those three positions [Creed, Bible, personal relationship with Jesus] and is a strong environmentalist. I am an evangelical who raises very specific questions about war in general, but specifically the war in Iraq. The evangelical community has been far too supportive of militarism.
Being a progressive libertarian myself, I always cringe when I think about the historical political enemy of the last few decades of individual liberty.  The nasty hair on my back stands up on end when I think of the self-labelled moral majority calling themselves conservative when in fact they continuously sell out our country's founding principles of civil liberty to the lowest bidding politician: like privacy, free expression and church-state seperation.  Campolo's Belief Net articles dispel the myth that BACs are a monolithic ideological and voting demographic.

While a large percentage of FOX News viewing BACs might forsake their deeply held beliefs, and leave them outside the polling place in November, and vote for Bush -- it makes me hopeful that there are some more credibily-thinking and progressive Christians who will also be voting.

I am John Furie Zacharias and I approve this message.

Blog the vote!

[Added 08/17] Related Plastic Com discussion:
The Vanishing Protestant Majority in the United States

Saturday, August 14, 2004
Hurricane Charley: After Action Report

Dodged this bullet like Neo, luckily!
First of all, I want to thank everyone who expressed their concern in email and on the little Thunderstorms live TAG board.

Believe it or not, when I was packing, moving and waterproofing the PCs hours before Charley was to hit land (about the time I snarfed up that radar image), it was comforting to know someone might be paying attention to the situation should my little world and I get utterly obliterated by tornadoes spawning off of the storm or by Charley himself.

Helleena had to go to work at the nursing home early on Friday afternoon about the time I was digging through the NWS radar loop pages, trying to dig out the raw image data they used for their java application.  It took me a few minutes to find the right server where they were storing their raw images, and even longer to actually copy any of them from their server to my hard drive through the dialup.  All NWS/NOAA servers were peaking out Friday afternoon.

Anyway, after converting the image file formats, compiling and optimizing them -- I was able to create those two GIF animations -- one from Key West radar imagery and the other one closer to where I live with Tampa radar imagery.  In the process of creating those animations, it seemed to me that Charley's path was turning more east and heading for Fort Meyers.  That just made me worry about Melicious y Mondo while I was unplugging the PC.  I told Helleena that if Charley cut across Florida far enough south of us, the potential for serious damage would be a lot less from the bands of severe storms that spiral out to the north and east of the hurricane.  At the time, though, the latest broadcasted prediction still had it making landfall around the Tampa area which would mean it would likely continue on to come straight at us.  Who are you going to believe -- a pixel monkey like me making GIF animations right before the world is supposed to end or the people on the TV?  ROFL.

Even if the eye wasn't to come straight over the house, I took the threat of total annihilation seriously enough to continue hobbling and bouncing around the house that afternoon waterproofing things in storage containers and garbage bags should one of the three crappy live oak trees hanging over the house decide to come down or should all of some of the windows blow out and spray the interior of the house with water like children dancing next to an opened fire hydrant.

It's not easy for me to walk, let alone carry stuff.  I started off toward the big green commercial trash dumpsters with several kitchen garbage bags full of trash on my little electric scooter to get that out of the house should the place get tumbled, but I didn't make it twenty feet out of the house when one of the hurricane bands instantly dumped a blinding rain seemingly out of nowhere.  I turned around and drove back inside the house.  I was already pretty beat from carrying things all over the house.  I actually packed most of it into the bedroom because it's the northern-most room. Then I half-assedly barricaded the one window, put a few things in a gym bag (local officials were talking about evacuations), turned on the TV, and plopped down on the bed.  I was tired and in pain.  I ended up falling asleep for two hours.

If you want to know my state of mind on Friday, you can listen to this MP3.  It is what was droning through my mind at the time.  It reminds me of Soft Cell a little. It's the melody I used to mindlessly practice on my Korg when I would get stressed out before it got stolen.  Get the MP3 while you can -- I'm not going to leave it on Hygelic's server space for very long.

I may add more to this entry over the next few days ...  especially if I hear anything from Melicious directly that she'd care to share with the class.

Friday, August 13, 2004
Must ... eat ... trailer parks

I kinda hacked the National Weather Service and snarfed up some images and made this last animation before I pack up and bail.  This is my 2pm animation from Tampa radar imagery.  I made one with the radar imagery from Keywest earlier, but my dialup is flaky (obviously) so I may not be able to upload it.

Helena had to go to the nursing home early.  I'm going to habble around the house and try to put things, like the PCs, in plastic bags since I don't think my little tinfoil house is going to be able to handle winds from a category 4 hurricane.  They've just declared a bunch of tornado warnings in and around my county, so I better go now.

The animated GIF I just made is 265Kb, so it might take a moment to load for you.  I'm going to finish packing, and moving, take a shower, and figure out where I may end up this evening and tonight.

See you soon (?)

[updated 8/14: Well, now.  Click on the link to see the 2pm animation.  I didn't want to leave that up to load everytime the main page loads up for the next week.  That would be almost as friggin' irritating as the Hypno Toad.  LOL.  Also, I uploaded my Key West radar imagery animation today.]

Thursday, August 12, 2004
Look at the purty colors ...

Sucks to be us
If you go to the Permalink, and then refresh the page in your browser, the radar image will update with the latest available image -- as long as the NOAA web site in Melbourne is doing its job, that is.

[updated 8/14: Click on the links for the current NWS radar imagery from Tampa, Melbourne or Key West.  The radar image shown above now is the one I snarfed up right before Charley made landfall on 8/13 and I unplugged and packed up the PC.]

You can also go here to see the radar imagery from Havana, Cuba to Mondo Melicious, FL.

Or, you could always follow this guy around Florida in real time.  He has a CCTV mounted on top of his truck and is wirelessly updating the images (several per minute) here.  It's sort of hypnotizing to watch him drive around.

Here are some Tampa area tower cams.  Facing West (gulf).  Facing East (city).
 Gulf  City

When you refresh this Permalinked page at Thunderstorms, these cams will also update, if there is a new image available.  Don't expect to see to much after dark, though.  Okay, Sparky?

It looks like the fun starts Friday.  They're talking about evacuations here.  With winds over 100 mph, it looks like we're all in for a real sloppy blow job from Charley.

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