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Stinky Planet Eeeaarth!

I remember driving home up the 405 from Long Beach during the last Malibu fire. The wall of flame stretching across the Santa Monica Mountains was visible 30 miles away and only became weirder and more mirage-like the closer I got. For all the earthquakes, riots and killer snowstorms I've been through none so impressed the power of nature on my psyche as seeing that wildfire too close for comfort.

And none of those seem as scary to me as tornadoes and hurricanes which I have been fortunate enough never to have experienced. My sister spent her honeymoon in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane that hit Jamaica years ago. But she was one of the lucky ones to be holed up in a luxury hotel inland, unlike the natives in their tarpaper shacks.

We joke about LA being the land of the Apocalypse, but the truth is we all live on Mother Earth at her whim. Perhaps if we understood this better, we would become more considerate guests and earn a little goodwill. We're all in this together on this lone blue oasis in a dark and hostile universe and are only kidding (or flattering) ourselves to think otherwise.

My heart goes out to the storm-tossed: those who lost so much in Katrina who find themselves exiled yet again as Rita thunders in; and to those good people who rose to the task of caring for the evacuees and who must now seek shelter themselves.

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