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The MonT-SteR has to apologize to all tMR readers for my recent lack of postage. Approaching hurricanes have a way of gripping the mind, and so I have been distracted by the awesome fury of nature as of late. This was particularly true yesterday, when Isabel paid The MonT-SteR a visit. She was a most unwelcome guest.

For the most part, we passed our time with Isabel by marveling at the wind, playing cards and Scrabble by the light of flashlights and candles. Every so often, The MonT-SteR braved Isabel’s bad temper to run out to the parking lot and check on the MonT-Ster-MoBiLE, which managed to dodge falling tree branches and other airborne debris.

We lost power for about 24 hours, and with all the outages here in the area (over 1 million!) we figured we’d be sans electricity for at least 3 or 4 days. Early this morning, The MonT-SteR family ventured out in search of some extra canned goods and another bag of ice. We surveyed the damage along the way — trees were broken or fallen everywhere we looked. Although we found a grocery store that was open (and not a mob scene), our attempt to procure ice was decidedly a failed endeavor. My mind was racing with plans to find some way to save the contents of our freezer from spoiling. I did not relish the thought of searching all day for the one 7-11 in Hampton Roads that hadn’t sold out of ice. You can imagine my surprised delight to find that our electricity had been restored while we were out running our errands. Go Dominion-Virginia Power!

All things considered, my friends, we dodged a bullet on this one. The destruction Isabel wrought here in Tidewater was extensive. At least 9 people in the area lost their lives to the storm. Many homes have been wrecked by winds, falling trees, flooding, or all of the above. The clean-up effort is going to take weeks, if not months. I shudder to think what would have happened if Isabel had maintained her category 5 strength all the way until landfall. Thank God (and I mean that literally — not as a turn of phrase) that didn’t happen.

I have one bit of advice for people who live in areas that are commonly threatened by hurricanes. Go buy some D batteries. Now. Do not wait. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Because once it becomes clear that a hurricane is headed your way, panicky shoppers will fill their shopping carts to the brim with them, and woe to those who fail to beat them to the cash registers. Every store around here was completely sold out of D batteries by midday on Monday, and it was absolutely maddening. So save yourself the aggravation by either switching to flashlights that take AA or C cells, or stock up on D’s now while you have the chance.

In other, less pertinent news, The MonT-SteR has stumbled upon one of the more troubling displays of shallow pettiness and self-absorption that he has encountered in recent days. Kristin Leigh, blogosphere resident and one half of the dynamic duo that authors, has an obvious beef with President Bush and the recent (ongoing?) war in Iraq. Now, it’s one thing for her to express her disagreement with current U.S. foreign policy in a thoughtful, serious essay. I can respect that. It’s quite another, however, to pout and whine about how the war in Iraq ruined her trips to shopping malls and tourist destinations when she was on vacation in Europe. Check out the “Dear George” link on the gallery.

WARNING: The MonT-SteR is about to engage in sarcastic derision:

Aww, Kwisten, I’m so sowwy. Did mean ol’ Pwesident Bush-y ruin your pwecious wittle twip to the mall? How inconsiderate of him to enhance national security and oust a cruel despot who killed his “constituents” for fun — all while you were trying to do some power shopping and sight-seeing! What nerve! Have you looked into legal recourse of any kind? I mean, anyone who would dare to distract you from French pastries and historical landmarks needs to be put in his place. Do you have a legal fund? Can I contribute?

Ho-kay. I think I feel a little better. Kristin’s kvetching about how the Bush administration kept her from sight-seeing hardly seems credible, especially when:

  1. she herself admits to yawning at the sight of the Mona Lisa, and
  2. it was actually war protesters, not the President himself, who got in the way of her precious fun.

Her coup de maitre, however, comes when she blames Bush for an American flag that was defiled by war protesters with a spraypainted swastika. Hey, Kristin, have you considered the utter foolishness of comparing the United States and President Bush to Nazi Germany and Hitler? Maybe, just maybe, it was the protester who was misguided rather than the President.

Moral equivalency shows its ugly mug once more.

With furrowed brow,

aka The MonT-SteR