If celebrating Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street is one of those things you have to do once in your life, here's hoping you already got around to that one. And if you live on the Louisiana or Mississippi Gulf coast, here's hoping you're far, far away by now. Earlier today, the order was given to evacuate the city of New Orleans (and everything nearby). Read what the local officials are saying -- and I'm sure this comes through on TV as well -- they're terrified that New Orleans won't be there in the morning. The trouble being that the city is below sea level, so if the storm surge is high enough or the waves violent enough to breach the dikes, the French Quarter becomes seabed. Landfall occurs around daybreak, so by the time most of you read this, we'll probably know how bad this gets.
Not sure what to make of the cell phone just yet. The thing squats on my desk like some exotic beetle contentedly soaking up power, single antenna in the air linking it to a complex global telecommunications network completely unlike the one I generally live on. Had to get out of the house, so walked for a few hours tonight. I've owned the strange little bug long enough for it to have buzzed once and it already felt good to leave it at home.
Malaysia is going to the moon? Funny idea, although I'm not sure the BBC had to laugh quite so much about it.
On a more serious note, the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip proceeded more smoothly than anyone had any right to expect while I was away. Hopefully this attack is an isolated case and does not mark the renewal of suicide bombings. But since the most violent of the Palestinian militants have generally concentrated in the Strip, and on the settlements there, it's to be expected that they'll turn their energies outward now. After all, if they could just gain a foothold in the area, it would be so absurdly easy to shell West Jerusalem as frequently as and far more devastatingly than when they fired at Gush Katif.