Scott Hardie | December 29, 2004
From the lack of comments on the matter so far, I can only guess that the rest of you are either as profoundly disturbed by the loss of life in Asia as I am, or too polite to say otherwise. Fifty-five thousand people dead already, with the possibility of that number doubling in the next week? It's a mathematical number that I process in various ways all the time, yet I can't begin to grasp how much humanity that is. I keep trying to put it in terms of my hometown, which ranged between 22,000 and 45,000 residents when I grew up there. If that town were obliterated via some disaster, it would be sad, but it wouldn't have any great significance for the world. What I have to keep reminding myself is that these 22,000 people are not contained to a forty-mile radius, but spread across thousands of miles and eight nations. It is absolutely unfathomable. I cannot cheapen the loss with triteness like "my thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families;" it is simply not possible for me to register the magnitude of the loss.

Amy Austin | December 29, 2004
It's definitely pretty mind-blowing. I am with you in not wanting to "cheapen the loss", but I can't help but wonder when the Apocalypse-believers are going to get loud... this disaster may have even made believers of some of the survivors. I can't even really imagine what it must have been like... even the folks who somehow missed their fate on 9/11 (I know a guy who was flying that day and somehow didn't end up on one of those planes) probably fared better psychologically than these survivors have/will.

You don't see too many movies that deal with post-traumatic stories, but one that comes to mind is "Fearless". I just can't help but wonder what kinds of things -- besides, obviously, gratitude -- will become the focus of these people's lives.

As tragic as it is, events like this also have the power bring out the best in humanity. The most poignant thing I read in the coverage was about a group of four German tourists whose beach cabanas were creamed, along with everything they owned -- they were left with nothing but their swim trunks, and the Indonesian locals took them in and gave them the shirts off their backs... literally. The one who was quoted called them "the most beautiful people in the world" -- I found that quite touching.

Anna Gregoline | December 29, 2004
I literally can't fathom it either - and while I absolutely don't want the media to ignore this tragedy, I feel frustrated that natural disasters are always covered to the point of pornography (waiting in the airport coming back from Xmas, they were showing untold number of pictures of bodies, it was very gruesome), but has anyone heard more than a peep about the war going on in Africa? Shrug, anyway.

Horrific. I saw yesterday that the tsunami took 23,000 - then I come home and Jesse says it's up to 50,000. Freaks me out. All these separated families too...

Scott's right - what is there to say?

Jackie Mason | December 29, 2004
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Amy Austin | December 29, 2004
What's even worse is that the numbers will likely keep climbing due to water contamination/disease -- all those bodies to dispose of... it's just awful.

Scott Horowitz | December 29, 2004
Speaking of crappy things, Jerry Orbach died today. Just fyi

Anna Gregoline | December 29, 2004
It IS crappy. LENNY!

Amy Austin | December 30, 2004
I remember him better and more fondly as Baby's father, Doc Houseman.

Jackie Mason | December 30, 2004
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E. M. | January 1, 2005
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Kris Weberg | January 2, 2005
It's now at 2 billion dollars, with Japan pledging 500 billion. I guess they're the "world's police" now.

Erik Bates | January 2, 2005
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Amy Austin | January 2, 2005
uhhhh, if total damages are only $2 billion, then why would Japan be pledging $500 billion... is this a typo -- was that supposed to be "million", Kris? I sure as heck hope so...

Kris Weberg | January 2, 2005
Million. Typo. But Japan is still pledging 1/4 of the total aid amount.

Anna Gregoline | January 2, 2005
Yay Japan! One more reason to like them.

Jackie Mason | January 3, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | January 6, 2005
I just noticed the top image with the headline "Unmerciful Disaster."

How can nature be merciful or unmerciful? I'm not trying to shit on you, Scott, I'm just curious about the choice of words.

Denise Sawicki | January 6, 2005
Oh weird, I was reading that as "Unmitigated" until you pointed that out, Anna. (And trust me, I check this page a lot so I saw it a bunch of times)

Though apparently "unmerciful" is also a fairly appropriate word as per definition #2:

un·mer·ci·ful ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-mûrs-fl)
adj.
1. Having or exhibiting no mercy; merciless.
2. Exceeding a normal or reasonable limit; excessive: unmerciful heat.

(Saving Scott the trouble of having to be the dork who pulls out a dictionary.)

Erik Bates | January 6, 2005
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Amy Austin | January 6, 2005
I think it *was* "unmitigated" and he changed it for some reason -- it can't be an accident that three of us read it...

Anna Gregoline | January 6, 2005
Ok, in the sense of unrelenting I will accept it. I guess I always think of definition one in combination with two, however.

Scott Hardie | January 7, 2005
It was "unmitigated" originally. I was attempting to quote Poe, but in my haste I used the wrong word.


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