Where was the end when we needed it?

After all of the campaigning, all of the political posturing, all of the polling and remarkably reality-defying punditry, all of the… noise, the election finally happened. In its wake, we saw the worst of people on social media. I counted a few particularly rogue Facebook statuses that had been deleted by Wednesday. A handful of dumb students reflected poorly on the University of Mississippi.

The whole thing makes us crazy. But credit Governor Romney and President Obama, because perhaps the greatest moments of a multi-year campaign came at its end.

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation […] Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to occasion […] [W]e look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics. – Mitt Romney, Concession

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. – Barack Obama, Acceptance

How gracious in defeat was the governor? How re-energized and inspiring was the president? With the burden of the campaign finally removed from each man’s shoulders, we saw what we had been looking for the entire time. In the fog of war, divide and conquer was the master plan, when we the people were looking for sense and civility all along.

Calls for unity. Calls for effort from citizen and servant alike. Calls for prayer. The invocation of God, for one night, not a political province of the right but a hope for one nation.

Maybe it won’t last. Probably it won’t last. But on the night when so many Democrats were gloating and so many Republicans were forecasting the fall of Rome, Mitt Romney’s campaign website was streaming Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in a simple gesture of solidarity. And so, on Election Night, this disaffected voter watched two men emerge from battle, wondering where philosophies like these were one week earlier, and what will have happened to them one week later.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011: The Creator of the Apple Culture

Steve Jobs died today. Pancreatic cancer. 56.

He stepped down as CEO of Apple, the once-thriving, then-fledgling, then-thriving-beyond-the-wildest-dreams-of-any-tech-company-in-history, little more than one month ago. We knew it was his health. We still didn’t think it would be this soon.

The Internet is reeling tonight. Twitter crashed. Every site you visit seems to have some sort of memorial. Apple’s site displays only the image above.

We lost a visionary, without a doubt. One of the great minds of our times.

For Apple-ites, it’s more. Today, they lost the leader of a subculture.

Continue reading “Steve Jobs, 1955-2011: The Creator of the Apple Culture”

[Clickworthy] Waffle House Index measures hurricane recovery

This story popped up on my Facebook feed a few times, and I thought it surely was a hoax. So, I sought out the original source, surprised to come across this article in The Wall Street Journal. The headline read “How to Measure a Storm’s Fury One Breakfast at a Time: Disaster Pros Look to ‘Waffle House Index’; State of the Menu Gives Clue to Damage.”

Now that’s must-read journalism.

Waffle House has earned a number of reputations. Perhaps the only positive one is that they will be open serving whatever it is they call food on whatever germ-filled surface they deem sanitized regardless of holidays, natural disasters, or zombie apocalypses. When you are down on your luck and utterly out of options, the dim yellow-tinted haze of a Waffle House diner will always be there for you.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) apparently took notice of Waffle House’s endurance in the face of disaster, and made one of those God-awful color-coded scales out of it:

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

It’s true – if you arrive at the door of a Waffle House that is closed, you may very well be the last living member of that community. If, out of desperation, you break in and grab some sausage and grits out of a refrigerator, then you’ll likely put a bow on the job that cataclysmic disaster couldn’t quite finish.

The article goes on to talk about the goodwill the restaurant chain garners from its mailman-like dedication to service, no matter what the conditions. It seems to provide a little economic boost, as well – sometimes tripling sales in the wake of catastrophe. Waffle House even has abbreviated menus, designed to streamline service when there is no electricity.

So, as Tropical Storm Lee slowly floods portions of the Deep South, fear not! For if you have access to a small boat, you can row over to your neighborhood Waffle House for breakfast day or night – even if they have to cook it on the roof. It’s cleaner than the kitchen anyway.

BONUS: Video of the April 2011 Clinton, Miss., tornado as shot from the Waffle House. It lost power, but did not close.