Everybody believes in Harvey now.

Far-flung folks are worried, so, first: Erin and I are fine. We stay fine. Our home has never, ever flooded, and probably won’t this time, just because of the mild elevation our area enjoys.

We have power. We have food, bourbon, wine, cable, and Internet. But much of Houston has none of these things right now, and there but by the grace of God, you know? I’d love to be able to say I made a study of Houston flood plains when I bought this place, but in truth I just bought what i could afford in the neighborhood I wanted to live in — the elevation is a happy accident, but it’s a VERY happy accident indeed.

Now, some context.

There’s a picture being tossed around in social media that I want to share, and annotate a bit. It was taken from a high-rise apartment building at Studemont and Memorial, and looks back to the southeast towards our neighborhood, and includes Buffalo Bayou, which is one of the many natural waterways that run through Houston.

Here’s the neighborhood in question from Google maps:

Screen Shot 2017 08 27 at 11 36 59 AM

Key things to look for are the headquarters for Service Corporation International (who are, by the way, straight-up evil) and the studios for local TV station KHOU.

And here’s what the bayou looks like normally, with the same points marked — n.b. that the bayou is lined by a couple levels of paths and no small amount of greenspace. It’s a lovely area; people run and bike and walk and picnic there all the time. Trails there are connected to a network that stretches through huge parts of the city, and that network is growing all the time.

Screen Shot 2017 08 27 at 11 50 58 AM

And here’s what it looks like right now:

From hi rise

KHOU has had to evacuate. The uphill grade on Taft is what’s saving us, basically, but the waterline ON Taft is far, far higher than we’ve ever seen it — only a block or so north of Dallas, which is completely BANANAS, because the idea of the water at that point covering even Allen Parkway is pretty unusual.

Now, that’s still a long way from us, both in terms of distance but also in terms of elevation, but it’s still shocking.

Don Lemmon is all of us

After Trump’s speech in Phoenix, Don Lemmon was a bit taken aback, and minced no words.

A transcript, in case the video link rots:

Well, what do you say to that?

I’m just going to speak from the heart here. What we have witnessed was a total eclipse of the facts. Someone who came out onto the stage and lied directly to the American people. And left things out that he said, in an attempt to rewrite history. Especially when it comes to Charlottesville.

He’s unhinged. It’s embarrassing—and I don’t mean for us in the media because he went after us—but for the country. This is who we elected president of the United States. A man who is so petty he has to go after anyone he deems to be his enemy, like an imaginary friend of a six-year-old. His speech was without thought. It was without reason. It was devoid of facts. It was devoid of wisdom. There was no gravitas. There was no sanity there. He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else. ‘He did it, I didn’t do it.’

He certainly opened up the race wound from Charlottesville. A man who [is] clearly wounded by the rational people who are abandoning him in droves, meaning those businesspeople and the people in Washington who are now questioning his fitness for office and whether he is stable. A man backed into a corner, it seemed, by circumstances beyond his control, and beyond his understanding.

That’s the truth. If you watch that speech as an American, you had to be thinking ‘what in the world is going on? This is the person we elected as the president of the United States? This petty? This small? The person who is supposed to pull the country together?’ It certainly didn’t happen there.

I remember thinking we were better than this, that there was no way we’d elect this guy. But the hard truth is we’re not, and we never have been.

Vroom vroom.

The McLaren F1 was introduced 25 years ago this year. Road & Track has a nice oral history that’s worth your time, including bits from McLaren owners and employees.

Here’s my favorite bit from the story:

MARK GRAIN (Senior technician, McLaren Cars/Motorsport): There was a German customer, a businessman. He lived in Cologne, commuted in the car every day. He said, “Oh, I’ve got a problem, this warning light. I’ve looked in the manual, can’t find anything. Can you send somebody out, see what it is?”

So one of the guys went. It turns out it was the engine cover lifting slightly. The warning light for the engine cover.

But the only time the car ever did it was 185, 190 mph. “It does it on the way to work, and it does it on the way back.” Every day.