And, although the month of May is practically over, I actually did take this photo during the first week of the month. Amazing how one month can transform a spot on this glorious earth.
My morning started today at about 3 a.m. when a seriously loud clap of thunder and seemingly close bolt of lightening illuminated my bedroom and scared the bejesus out of a soundly sleeping Bailey. She bolted out of bed. By the time I was finally getting back to REM sleep, the alarm went off at 5:15.
When I got home from the gym tonight, I noticed that water was seeping into my basement. ARRGGHH. Curses to the rain gods who dumped all that rain outside my house. As I was grousing about moving some stuff away from the wall, sopping up the water with some towels, and plugging in the dehumidifier and fan, I stopped and thought to myself, "stop whining -- this is nothing." All week, we have been amazed and horrified at the devastation suffered in Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and other countless cities and towns across the Midwest. The death toll is unthinkable, the devastation unimaginable. Equally as horrific was the devastation suffered in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia just one month ago. I heard on NPR that this year has been the deadliest for tornadoes in over 60 years.
As I thought about all the deaths from tornadoes, I recalled that the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March was over 15,000. The Mississippi River reached unprecedented flood levels in the lower half of the United States this spring. Even with all of our expertise in forecasting weather patterns; building stronger buildings; implementing advanced warning systems; constructing dams, berms, and levees; and calling for mandatory evacuations we still are unable to guarantee the safety of anyone who stands in the path of Mother Nature's fury. Is there any force that is more powerful or unpredictable than Mother Nature?
Well, maybe Oprah? I caught bits and pieces of her star-studded send-off show at the United Center and I caught most of her good-bye episode tonight while I was sweating on the treadmill. I don't know...I feel real conflicted about it all. I don't want to be a hater, but there is a part of me that is really bugged by Oprah. I used to like her quite a lot. But, in the past few years she seemed awfully full of herself. As if she alone has discovered the meaning of life and is here to bestow all of her wisdom upon us poor commoners. All hail to Oprah! Three particular instances of her super-sized ego jump out at me.
- A few years back, she had her father on the show and was telling a story how she had gone to visit him one summer over father's day weekend. She explained that he made an off-handed comment about one day wanting to get a new Cadillac. Oprah said she would buy him one for father's day. He said that she couldn't because it was Sunday and the dealership was closed. She was all proud when she told her father that she was pretty sure they would open for her. So, she looked up the owner of the dealership and called him at home, on a Sunday, on father's day, to come to the dealership so she could buy her father a car. Now, I'm sure the dealer got lots of mileage out of the fact that he was able to sell a car to Oprah, but it still bugs me that this man had to leave his family on his day off and on father's day to go "serve" Oprah.
- Similarly, there was a news story a few years ago about Oprah going to Harrods department store in London near closing time because she wanted to buy some gifts for people she was visiting in London. When the store personnel explained that they were closing and that she could return the following day, she pulled the "don't you know who I am?" card and further hinted that Harrods was racist! Really? How about maybe the people were tired from working all day and wanted to get home to their families? It's that sense of entitlement that got to me.
- Finally, I really had it when she beat up on James Frey about some of the untruths in his memoir "A Million Little Pieces." I had stopped regularly watching her show by then, but happened to catch that particular episode. I was stunned. To me, her attitude was like, "How dare you misrepresent yourself to me and my kingdom. I am the supreme Oprah. Off with your head." Honestly, she was downright rude to that man. To his credit, he sat there and took the abuse. I think I would have had a different reaction. The lyrics to Cee Lo Green's hit song come to mind.... I'm not saying he was right for making some shit up and calling it non-fiction, but really, in the grand scheme of things, who cared?
Who is more powerful - Oprah or Mother Nature?? Well, clearly, I'm going with Mother Nature. Remember, you can't fool Mother Nature but evidently James Frey can fool Oprah. SNAP!!