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Waiting, Again

Another storm - it's hard to believe. I don't know what to expect. A lot of flattened buildings along the Texas Gulf Coast, and a lot of flooding. As in New Orleans, parts of Houston sit below sea level, owing to subsidence of the water table. Flooding is normal in Houston. I asked Miss G last night if she remembered the time I brought her home from day care on my shoulders, like St Christopher. She did indeed. Neither the day school nor her mother's apartment was flooded, but the streets were, and I seem to recall the water on Montrose Boulevard reaching my thighs. It was fun, sort of. Miss G also remembered the time on Nantucket - my only visit there, in 1983 - when I had to stride through the surf to pull her in through an extraordinary undertow that even gave me some trouble. These were my only waterborne heroics, and both involved my daughter.

Ms NOLA and Miss G are both firmly of the opinion that there is nothing that the President can do in dealing with Hurricane Rita that will rehabilitate him. I'm not so sure - but that's only because I won't let myself get set up for another disappointment. How the man has made it this far is beyond me. Now come revelations that top everything. I am not going to link to the National Enquirer's Web site, because it's easy enough for you to find if you're interested, but what do you think the most embarrassing (and not fantastically unlikely) allegation about the President would be?

Meanwhile, the weather here is all but glorious. How can there be meteorological terror in another corner of the country? The combination of fatigue - September 2005 ought to be remembered as "Katrina Month" - and cognitive dissonance - I'm sitting quietly in my room, sipping tea, thinking of reading On Beauty and having spaghetti alla carbonara for dinner at a time when two family members will be hit hard by Rita - makes it difficult to know what to take seriously. I wish Kathleen were home.

When Kathleen travels, she is under strict orders to contact someone in New York - preferably me, but I won't feel slighted if she checks in with the office - before noon. At 12:25 today, Kathleen's secretary noted that Kathleen hadn't opened any of her emails this morning. I took a Xanax. I spoke to Miss G, who still hadn't reached her mother. Finally, at 12:48, Kathleen called. The story is always a good one. Having rushed to the conference from another hotel, she moderated a panel and then left her backpack on the podium when it was over. So she couldn't call me during the following panel. She was just about to borrow someone else's phone (does she think I was born yesterday?) when the morning meeting finally broke up. I know perfectly well that what happened was that Kathleen just got lost in the bustle of the conference. Exactly the opposite, really: everything that wasn't the conference was lost to her. I can hear her looking down at her watch and, seeing that noon was history, muttering merde. So to speak.


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The Bush rumors are hilariously illustrated in cruelly doctored pictures by Bill Maher in this week's edition of "Real Time." The riffs are dead on and deadly funny. Catch it on one of the numerous rebroadcasts if you can. Watching Maher on Friday nights each week has become as de rigeur as reading Rich on Sundays.

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