September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008
Welcome to another peek into Daddy Dab's life. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.

I am so glad it it Friday since I have had a long week full of meetings, appointments and errands. How about you? Are you ready for the weekend yet? While it has been great getting out of the house after being on ordered bed rest for a couple of months, I spend most of my down time sleeping so I would have the energy to make it through my week. Subsequently, I have gotten behind on returning emails and telephone calls for which I apologize and hope to be caught up by the end of this weekend. So to Chuck, Luis and Diane; I am still alive and kicking and will be in touch soon. They are three friends who have been worried because they had not heard from me in four or five days and they knew about my recent health problems. But thanks you guys for making a guy feel special. I have just been busy every day this week. I will be in contact with you hopefully over the next few days.

I unfortunately did not wake up until noon today because of my pain medication and being so active the past few days. So I did not get to the library today as I was hoping to accomplish. Just as I was waking up and having my protein shake, Patrick called to see if he could come over for a visit. Since we had not seen each other in a week I told him to head on over to the house. Patrick is still dealing with Dale's death and I knew he probably needed a shoulder to lean on while he talked. I was just glad to be there for him. Especially since I have lost a partner and know how difficult the process can be. Besides we always have a good time when we get together.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you have learned that one of my favorite ways to travel is taking a cruise. And that is true EXCEPT for hurricane season when I never book a trip on a cruise and the following is exactly the reason why I do not. I made the mistake of booking a cruise in September many years ago and the ship I was on had a very rough seas for the entire trip due to a hurricane in the Caribbean. So I pity the poor passengers on the Carnival Miracle this week. The New York-based ship was supposed to head to the Caribbean to visit such popular ports as San Juan and St. Thomas. But thanks to Tropical Storm Hanna, the 2,124-passenger vessel never got further than the Bahamas and will be spending Friday more than 1,000 miles off course in -- get this -- Newport, R.I. The drastic change to the ship's itinerary -- no other ship has been forced so far afield by this week's storms -- has cause a virtual mutiny on board, according to passenger posts on cruise-focused websites. "The Rhode Island announcement really put people over the edge," writes one passenger in a post on the message boards of "The attitude of the captain has caused passengers to go ballistic." The poster, who goes by the handle satirical7, tells that a crowd of passengers formed near the purser's desk to chant "refund, refund" in a scene that he describes as "chaos." And passengers have "lined up for hours protesting the only (other) way they know how by adjusting their gratuities down to zero!" The Carnival Miracle left New York on Friday and was supposed to sail an eight-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas and Grand Turk Island. But as Tropical Storm Hanna approached the region earlier in the week Carnival announced the ship would go no further than Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. Later in the week, as Hanna threatened the Bahamas, the line changed the itinerary yet again, dropping Nassau and announcing the ship would turn back northward to spend Friday in Newport. The ship is scheduled to return to New York on Saturday. As we reported earlier in the week, Hanna has forced more than half a dozen ships operated by Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Norwegian Cruise Line to switch itineraries this week. The lines have cited the safety of passengers in making the changes. The possibility of an itinerary change due to a tropical storm is, of course, a well-known risk when booking a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season. And one of the selling points of cruise ships is that, unlike resorts on land, they can move to a better place when faced with lousy weather. So remember to book your cruises after October and before the end of June. Otherwise I would fly into your Caribbean island of choice. At least that way you know you will actually see the location you have been dreaming about visiting.

I have a new update for you about the storm systems in the Caribbean. Tropical storm Hannah is off the coast of central Florida but far enough from land not to cause us any major problems. The coast does have high tides and rip currents so people should not be getting in the ocean. But it is the Carolinas that will probably get the impact of the storm. They will have high rainfall amounts but at least the winds will be below 65 mph. Then the front is suppose to follow the east coast up to Maine causing further damage from large rainfall amounts and possible flooding. We are still having to watch Hurricane Ike since the forecasters are predicting a Florida hit. It does not help that Hurricane Ike is predicted to be a class 4 hurricane when it strikes land. Now Ike has potential for doing major damage. Right now it looks like south Florida but it is way too early for them to be positive. There is also Josephine way out there so she is still several days off before we know where she is headed and how strong she will be. So stayed tuned for further updates.

For those of you who pay attention to financial news, we got a very bad piece of news the past couple of days. Jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week while companies responded to the slowing economy by producing more with fewer workers. It was not great news for American workers, who have seen jobs decline and wages erode, but it may signal less inflation worries for the Federal Reserve. The Labor Department reported that new applications for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 444,000, up 15,000 from the previous week. Economists had expected claims to drop to 420,000. That news, plus disappointing sales reports from retailers, sent financial markets down as investors lost hope for an end of the year recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 344.65, or 2.99 percent, to 11,188.23, its worst tumble since June 26, when it fell more than 3.03 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.99 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index slid 3.20 percent. Many economists expect unemployment will continue to rise for the rest of the year. A separate report on Thursday indicated that hiring by companies in the service sector has declined. A tougher job market can crimp consumer spending as laid off workers and those who fear for their jobs cut back on their purchases. That can further weaken the economy. In another sign of labor market weakness, the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose 6,000 to 3.44 million for the week ending Aug. 23, a five-year high. That number doesn't include people who have exhausted their regular benefits and have requested extended assistance under an emergency program approved by Congress in June. The ongoing housing slump and credit crunch caused the economy to shrink late last year and grow only slightly in the first quarter. The economy grew by a robust 3.3 percent in the spring, thanks to a surge in exports and the government's tax rebates. So the bad news continues. I have been urging all my friends that have jobs to make sure they keep them. I would not want to be unemployed given our current economy.

I heard from Lindsey today. She was in Washington DC with most of the Divided We Fail and AARP staff for the 50th anniversary of AARP. Lindsey let me know she had food poisoning and was waiting on a flight so she could return home here in Jacksonville. I have had food poisoning during a trip before and it is pure misery trying to get back home. Now that the airlines are flying fewer flights because of fuel cost, it is much harder to change flights due to lack of seats. So I hope she is able to change hers instead of having to just sit in the airport. While people watching can be fun, the airport is the last place I would want to be sick. Much less having to get into an airplane and fly. So here's a big Daddy Dab bear hug from me to you Lindsey. I will see you soon for our Divided We Fail trip to Lake City, Florida. Don't forget to bring the pictures of your recent wedding and honeymoon.

I am heading off to bed now for some serious Z action. I hope you have a great weekend.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab