2018 In Review

Just in case you have been living in a cave or jungle without a calendar, this is a reminder that 2018 is officially over. Usually, a year seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. However, when you actually sit down and take a look at the events of the year it can really sharpen your focus. Within the United States alone there are countless news stories and events that have shaped the year. Your location within our country will most likely change your views and memories of news events. I wanted to take a look at some of the biggest weather events and sports stories that have shaped our year.

Every year and season the weather plays a huge factor on our lives. Our country has very diverse weather conditions and disasters seem to strike every year. If you live in the Northeast you most likely remember the barrage of Nor’easters throughout late winter. If you live in California you may remember the record setting heat and drought throughout the year. You would also remember the wildfires that devastated life and property. How could anyone not remember the absolute devastation caused by Hurricane Florence? If you lived anywhere in the southeast it is very likely you or someone you know was effected by this event. The hurricane itself was terrible, but the inland flooding was just as catastrophic. Hurricane Micheal was another devastating event for the southeast and more specifically the Florida Panhandle. Michael was very powerful and it set many records. Hurricanes and records being associated is not a good thing!

In the world of sports you can bet there were plenty of newsworthy events and not all of them are good. The Eagles won the Super Bowl and Alabama won the National Championship in football. In college basketball Villanova won the men’s title and Notre Dame won the women’s title in thrilling fashion. The Warriors won the NBA finals for the 3rd time in 4 years. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the world was introduced to Big Al in the Little League World Series. Did you know he hits dingers? The Washington Capitals were able to break through and finally win the Stanley Cup. Early in the year the 2018 Winter Olympics took place in South Korea. Tiger Woods not only returned to golf, but he returned to golf in a big way. He won the Tour Championship and his walk down the 18th fairway was surreal to say the least. In a despicable story, the sports world was rocked with the Larry Nassar scandal. It has altered many lives to date and will continue to for some time. Hopefully, changes can be made so this can’t happen again.

I discussed two topics and barely grazed over them at that. However, just mentioning those sports and weather stories brought back some memories from throughout the year. You begin to remember more stories that have occurred throughout the year and you realize that 365 days can sure pack a punch. It seems to be a blur, but when you really dig in the volume appears. Hopefully you had a great 2018 and I can only wish that 2019 will be even better!

Holiday Movies

Every year as the Holidays approach, television stations flood the air with Holiday themed programming.  It could be a risky decision as not everyone wants to watch Holiday shows for a month straight.  However, I think there are plenty of people that do want to watch this type of programming.  For many, it is a great way to spend time with family and friends.  It can also help people get into the “Holiday Spirit”.  Many movies have been made that are Holiday themed. I wanted to take a look at some of the most popular movies from over the years. Which movies are considered the best Holiday Movies? Does the movie need to have a Holiday scene? Does it need to be about presents?  I think this can be a very vague topic because the Holidays could have such a drastically different meaning for people.  Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Some would say it is because the events of the movie fall during a work Christmas party.  I am going to take a look at the more traditional types of movies that focus on a Holiday theme.

My personal favorite types of Christmas movies are real similar.  I would imagine it is because of my age and what seemed to be shown when I was an impressionable child.  I am very fond of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  As you can see I am into the traditional animated films that many other people enjoy.  Just because I like them does not make them the best.  

The 1940’s has a very large amount of classic Christmas themed movies that have withstood the test of time. When you look at lists of the greatest  Christmas movies of all time like this one and this one they are flooded with movies from the 40’s.  The top 5 movies of all time are from the 40’s according to Rotten Tomatoes.  I am sure there is a reason for this, but I am not a film historian and it is not that important to me to figure out why.  I can say that I have seen Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Both of these are very fine films and I usually catch pieces of each every year around this time.  

Here are a few more films that are extremely popular this time of year.  A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Elf, and The Santa Clause seem to dominate the landscape and for good reason.  They are good, clean, family friendly movies that appeal to a wide audience.  You can not forget about The Polar Express.  That movie has gone on to have great success in more areas than one.  Every year small railroads around the country use The Polar Express as a theme.  It has become quite popular and in many cases you have to buy your seats months in advance.  Here is one of the places for the themed ride.  As you can see they have turned the movie into a marketing machine by selling all kinds of merchandise based around the movie.

Another group of movies that have quite the following are Christmas comedies.  My personal favorites are Scrooged, Bad Santa, and Christmas Vacation.  These movies are not necessarily family oriented because of adult material throughout.  However, when watching them as an adult, they are much funnier than I previously thought upon my initial viewing.  I think that everyone has different taste in movies.  I also think that the selection of Holiday movies is so great that people can find whatever they are into.  The best part about watching the movies is the company you are watching them with. Cherish your family and friends and I hope you have a Happy Holidays! 

Browns Win!

Normally, I would not really get too worked up over a football game in week three.  Especially when the winning team is not your favorite team.  However, the losing football team is my favorite so I was watching the game closely.  I wanted to briefly touch on the game from the Jets side, but mainly wanted to discuss the Browns getting a win for the first time in a long time.  We can also talk about the Browns having a rookie quarterback that came in and led them to a win. What does the future hold for these two teams?

The Jets won their first game of the year in convincing style, they lost their second game in a tough battle, and they just lost their third game to the Browns.  In fairness, this was a tough game for the Jets.  They were expected to travel into a hostile environment on a short week and win with a rookie quarterback.  That was a task that proved to be too tough for Sam Darnold!  Sam Darnold seems to be the type of quarterback that will end up making a difference for his team.  The question is, when will the Jets be good again?  Let’s check back in a few years.

As mentioned before, the Browns got their first victory in 635 days last night.  That’s right, 635 days!  That is a long time between wins, but the Browns fanbase was able to make up for the lack of wins with a great celebration.  Bud Light had a genius promotion by placing locked refrigerators around the city.  The premise was that when the Browns finally got a win, the refrigerators would be opened and the fans would get a free beer.

The Browns started the season by taking the Steelers into overtime and eventually tying them in a tough game.  In the second game at New Orleans, the Browns were in control until very late when Drew Brees led the Saints to a late win.  The Browns had plenty of chances to win, but suffered a few special teams issues that eventually cost them the game.  The Browns were thoroughly outplayed in the first half of the game against the Jets.  However, their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor was pulled with a concussion.  This meant that their number 1 pick and Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, was called into duty.  He led the Browns right down the field for a field goal.  Things continued to be bright for Mayfield as he led the Browns on 3 more scoring drives with the final one around the 2 minute mark being enough to win the game.  It looks like Mayfield will end up being named the starter next week.  I think Mayfield has enough talent to stay on the field the rest of the season and that should help the Browns get a few more wins this season.

Baker Mayfield seems to be a real talent and he may end up leading the Browns out of the gutter.  However, I believe this year’s version of the Browns is different.  They have plenty more talent and certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.  They would have earned a couple of wins this year even without Mayfield at QB.  They could be sitting at 3-0 if they would have made a few kicks in other games.  Is it out of the question that the Browns end up in the playoffs this year?  Can you imagine that story, winless last year and in the playoffs the next?  I know I will be watching, how about you?

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

The LeBron Saga Continues!

There is no denying LeBron James is on the list of greatest basketball players of all time.  Where he is on the list is debatable.  He may end up as the greatest of all time and he may just enter the top ten and that will have to be enough.  His statistics will end up placing him near the top of the argument, but sometimes people use winning as part of the argument. This article has him listed as the 2nd best and his career is not over.  What if people talk more about LeBron leaving his team for another so frequently?  Would it hurt his legacy any?  Let’s take a look at what might be in store for LeBron next stint.

Unless you are living in a cave, you most likely know that LeBron is now a member of the storied Los Angeles Lakers.  What does that mean to the other teams in the NBA?  The team most effected would be the Cavs.  Here is a nice article talking about a plan B for the Cavs.  The oddsmakers changes were very dramatic.  Clearly, they do not think much of the team without LeBron and that makes sense.  However, I do not think they will be that bad.  I think they will struggle at first and then they will find a groove and end up being decent with a shot of making the playoffs.

What does LeBron being a Laker mean?  The first thing is will he be a bigger presence for the franchise than the legend, Magic Johnson?  Will LeBron try to run the team as he reportedly did in Cleveland?  I do not see LeBron being able to bully Magic.  Will he be able to push around Luke Walton, his young coach?  I do not think it will be the same as Cleveland and Miami, but I would not be shocked if that is what happened.  First, let’s mention that the Lakers are now a playoff team with the arrival of James.  Is the team good enough to compete for a title? I do not think so.  The supporting cast is actually pretty decent, but they are not named Durant, Curry, Thompson, Cousins, and Green.  The Lakers did sign a few decent players to one year deals.  I think they will be competitive this year, but they are also building for the future.  They will have a ton of cap room for players next summer(Leonard?) and their young players will have another year of seasoning under their belts.  There are plenty of questions this move brings and here is a nice article covering it.

Can LeBron end up as an all time Laker great?  I do not see it being possible because he only has 3-5 years left in the tank.  If he managed to win a couple of titles in that span it is possible, but I do not think that will happen because of the gauntlet known as the Western Conference. The bigger thing to me is I wonder if LeBron is tarnishing his legacy by moving around so many times?  I personally think he is.  He will end up in LA for 4 years, Miami for 4 years, and will end up with 11 seasons as a Cav.  I typically see the all time greats and also associate them with their team.  Clearly, LeBron will always be a Cav in the eyes of most, but it does hurt him a little.

LeBron could end up being the greatest of all time and he certainly is in the discussion.  He has won plenty of games and has been in countless Finals Series.  He will end up leaving a massive legacy but how will he be viewed?  He may be viewed as a trailblazer, changing teams is well within his right as a free agent.  Many players fought for those rights and he is exercising the option to do so.  He may also be viewed as a mercenary of sorts.  Changing teams when it is best for him.  I am not sure the story is complete as he has a few more great years left in the tank and I can’t wait to see what is in store for him in LA!

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

NFL News

The NFL always seems to be in the forefront.  However, being in the news this week and next will almost certainly be true.  Only the NFL is able to make a schedule release into an event.  The league wide schedule was released last night and it was news worthy.  Teams do not even have their teams set for next year, yet somehow fans and experts somehow have already made predictions on next year’s record.  I would think they should hold off a little, at least wait until after the draft next week.  The draft starts next Thursday and will take place Friday and Saturday as well.  The draft is exciting because it gives fans a chance to see the building blocks of the team they root for.  Let’s take a look at the schedule and how the first round of the draft is shaping up.

Here is a look at the schedule for the 2018 season.  The season should start with a bang as the defending Super Bowl Champs will be on Thursday Night Football to kick off the season.  The Sunday night game will be an old time rivalry game with the Bears and Packers.  One of the Monday night games will have plenty of West Coast meaning with the Raiders vs. Rams.  Here is an article that covers winner and losers of the schedule.  The article is not just talking about teams being winners and losers, but also networks and fans.

As mentioned before, it is really difficult to predict a win total for the teams because the teams are not even set.  That being said, someone has to do it and here is a nice article that offers up a little analysis and prediction for your favorite team.  I really do not see any predictions that would “rock the boat” which makes sense for the reasons I have already mentioned.  I would like to think that these predictions could all change in a little over one week when the draft is complete.

The first round of the draft will take place in a little over 6 days.  The draft is always big news and rightfully so.  If a team is successful with their picks it can change the future of the franchise.  On the other hand, if your team misses on their draft picks it can really set a franchise back.  My favorite thing to see is when fans boo the selection their respective teams.  Like the fan knows better than the scouts and GM’s!  The first round is shaping up to be all about the quarterback.  I have seen some predictions that 4 qb’s could be selected in the first 6 picks.  Look for Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen to be taken 1 and 2.  It would not be surprising if something else happened since these NFL teams keep their intentions very quiet.

The NFL is great at making news and staying in the forefront year round.  They have been able to turn the schedule release, draft, and countless other items into noteworthy coverage.  No other sports have the same reaction to a schedule release.  The NFL draft is also the most popular draft for fans to follow.  There always seems to be great story lines to follow and this year is no different. The story of Shaq Griffin is outstanding and it should offer hope to anyone that suffers from a disability.  I will be watching the draft and hopefully I am not one of the knuckleheads that is booing my team!

–Victor Mandalawi

 

Pitchers and Catchers!

To many people, the phrase “pitchers and catchers report” is a great thing.  It means that MLB pitchers and catchers are to report to Spring Training for their respective teams.  According to this list, every team has uttered this phrase! For me, the term means more than just pitchers and catchers reporting.  It also means that the positional players will be right behind.  After a few short weeks, spring training games will start being played.  Of course, ultimately, it means the MLB season will begin in 6 weeks or so.  It also means that anyone living in a colder climate is getting close to spring and warmer weather!  Let’s take a look at what has happened in the off season and what the outlook is for the season.  Is it too early to predict the World Series champ?

The MLB off season is typically referred to as the “hot stove”.  The name is based on the visual image of baseball fans gathering around a stove to warm themselves during the colder winter months. I am sure there are other explanations as well.  The hot stove should be renamed the luke warm stove this year.  The offseason has been somewhat uneventful.  Many of the premier free agents are still unsigned.  This is a trend in MLB that has been happening in recent years.  I am sure it is very unnerving for the players to be this close to the season and not know what team they will be on.  It also has to be a rough way for teams to plan their season.  I would have thought that a team budget for the season would be set this close to the season.  Clearly, it is the decision of the teams to do this but some would say this is the way to combat the escalating free agent contracts the players have been earning.

Here are a few premier free agents that have not signed JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Jake Arrieta.  Here is a nice tracker from MLB, it will help you see who has changed placed via free agency and who might still be available. There have been a few major deals to take place so far.  The Cubs have signed Yu Darvish to a long term deal.  The Angels were able to convince Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani, to sign with them and the Yankees pulled off a major trade with the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton.  Those deals will certainly strengthen their respective teams.

Currently, Vegas odds have the Yankees as the favorite to win the World Series.  They are followed closely by the Indians, Astros, Dodgers, Cubs, and Nationals.  Vegas does not always pick the best team because they have to change odds based on the number of bets coming in on a team.  However, they are really good at what they do and it is a safe bet that most of these teams will be in the mix.  Baseball always has a team that plays well above expectations, who could that darkhorse be this year?

As of this moment I am not worried about the winner of the 2018 World Series.  I can save that concern for a later date.  Afterall, there are still quite a few big time players still available on the market.  Signing a player like that can really alter the landscape.  I am just thrilled to hear the phrase “pitchers and catchers” reporting.  It symbolizes a fresh start for baseball and gives you the feeling that Spring is just around the corner!

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

Pyeongchang 2018!

You may be asking yourself what is Pyeongchang 2018?  Pyeongchang, South Korea is the location of the Winter Olympics.  The 23rd Winter Olympic Games will begin on February 9th and will conclude on February 25th.  I am more of a fan of the Summer Games, but I will certainly be watching the Winter Games.  I usually speak of the drama surrounding sports and I honestly can not think of more potential drama than an Olympic Games.  Of course you have the built-in drama of competition, you have all of the stories of perseverance, and this year we will have Political drama. Let’s take a look at what is in store for us!

On the first day of the Olympics, we will be treated to ski jumping and curling.  In total there are 15 sports including ice hockey, luge, alpine skiing, and many more.  In the 15 sports there will be a total of 102 events that a medal can be won.  There will be 4 new disciplines in sports that already exist.  One of them is called big air snowboarding, it sounds like it will be awesome!  A difference on the other side will be that Ice Hockey will not have players from the NHL involved for the first time in 20 years.  That will clearly effect the quality of play on the ice, but there will certainly be games that are down to the wire and exciting.

At every Olympics there are stories of courage and perseverance.  I can guarantee these games will be no different.  Think back to the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.  Controversy presented itself in many ways.  The ongoing zika virus scare, the outdoor water sports location was heavily polluted, and of course there were plenty of bribes and money laundering issues.  These games will be different in certain ways and I am sure they will be the same in certain ways.  I would think corruption is standard throughout the process.  I would love for the controversies to go away and have the athletes create all of the memories produced by these games.

Since the games are in South Korea this year, we certainly can not overlook the fact that our President has been in a war of words with the North Korean Dictator.  That alone has a chance of upstaging the games and I hope that does not happen.  There are two political stories that are worth looking at.  First, it has been determined that the Russian team will not be allowed to compete because of a major doping conspiracy. Clearly, that is a major disappointment for the clean athletes.  The IOC has determined that clean athletes can participate, but they will do so under the blanket of the IOC.  The Russian flag will not be displayed and if an athlete wins an event they will not play their anthem.  They will also not be listed in the record books as having won a medal.  That is a stern punishment, but probably a necessary one.  The games need to be clean!  These games are also noteworthy because North Korean athletes will cross the demilitarized zone and compete in the games.  They will also join forces with South Korea in certain events.  This will mean they are marching under a unified flag.

As always, the Olympics will be must watch television for me.  Being in the digital age and halfway across the World will make it hard for NBC to televise the events with any type of secrecy on the event outcomes.  The last few Olympics have been that way, but it has not slowed my viewing.  The tension and drama caused by sport is always powerful.  This year will not be different.  We will also be able to key in on the partnership of the two Korean nations.  When all of this takes place in a 2 week span, it will certainly cause plenty of excitement and I will be watching.  How about you?

—Victor Mandalawi

 

The State of the NFL

The NFL regular season is more than halfway complete.  Ten weeks have passed which means that everyone has played at least 9 games with a handful of teams having played 10 games.  Plenty can happen in ten weeks!  There are teams that have played way above expectation and teams that have played well below expectation.  There are teams that are right on pace with what they were expected to do.  The same can be said for players.  As always, there are plenty of story lines that have emerged.  How about the endless drama with Ezekiel Elliott or Jerry Jones’s feud with commissioner Goodell?

As the NFL season was starting I wrote an article that mentioned the suspension of Zeke Elliott.  The drama surrounding this suspension has seemed to be never ending.  After all of the back and forth, the suspension is finally being served and it will really hurt the Cowboys season.  They need to stay afloat long enough for him to make it back and hopefully get them into the playoffs.  The Cowboys are a running team and losing your best player can certainly hurt your identity.  This decision has caused more than issues with the performance of the team.  I would like to think that this decision has hurt the relationship of the Cowboy’s owner, Jerry Jones, and the commissioner, Roger Goodell.  It is time for Goodell to get an extension and Jones is fighting it.  Do you think the suspension of Elliott has anything to do with Jones’s feelings for Goodell?  That will take some time to play out!

Earlier in the year I mentioned that the Patriots were off to a tough start.  I also mentioned that I would never count them out.  Well, after ten weeks they are in first place in their division and they look to be the cream of the crop again.  Some other teams in the AFC that look to be real contenders are the Steelers and Chiefs.   Those teams are not really a surprise, however, the Jaguars leading their division is a surprise.  It is also a surprise that the Raiders have played so poorly after the season they had last year.  In the NFC, all four division leaders are surprising in my opinion.  I do not think any of these teams were favored to win their division.  That is why you play the games as anything can happen.

The Eagles seem to be a real surprise this year as is their second year QB, Carson Wentz.  He is tearing up the league and that is one of the main reasons the Eagles are playing so well.  The Rams are also playing extremely well under their very young and first year head coach.  He has transformed them into a really strong unit and the play of second year QB, Jared Goff,  is another reason they are in first place. Injuries in the NFL are very common and depending on who gets injured can make a real difference in a teams season.  The Packers have lost the best QB in football, the Colts are in last place without Luck, and the Texans have lost three in a row after losing their rookie QB.

Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game.  Depending on who is injured and how severe the injury is can make or break a team.  Part of what makes the NFL great is the unpredictability of the sport. A suspension, an injury, and a player performing at a higher or lower level than expected can have a major impact on a team’s season.  I also love the drama involved in an NFL season.  At times you wonder if games are even necessary?  With 6-7 games left, there is plenty of time for the standings to change, and they most likely will when we check back in a couple of months.

 

–Victor Mandalawi

Off with a Bang!

Last week I wrote about the baseball playoffs starting.  I did not have any intention of writing about them again so soon, but after the first round(division series) I felt compelled to.  The division series concluded last night and it was a game filled with drama.  There were four series that took place, two of them were fairly dramatic and two were not. I better mention that my choice to win it all has already lost to my favorite team, the Yankees. I better not pick against them again!

In the A.L. the Red Sox vs Astros series was not nearly as dramatic as the the other A.L. series.  The Astros jumped out to a 2 games to 0 advantage by slugging their way to 8-2 victories in each game.  Boston returned home for game three and was able to win the game easily 10-3.  Game 4 was also in Boston and it was a closer contest with the Astros pulling it out 5-4.  In the end the red hot Astros bats were too much for the Red Sox, such a shame!  The Red Sox have a ton of talent and many feel they have under performed.  The Red Sox must have felt that way as they have already relieved their manager of his duties for next year.

The other series in the A.L included the Yankees and my pick to win it all, the Indians.  The Indians stormed out of the gate and took the first two games.  The second game was a pretty great comeback and had some serious drama.  Many would have figured the Yankees would be done at that point but they showed true heart and fought back to tie the series and then win it on Wednesday.  The Yankees were able to beat the Indians great pitcher, Corey Kluber, twice. The Yankees were able to win the series with their star, Aaron Judge, being historically awful in the series.  This sets up an Astros vs. Yankees match-up for the chance of playing in the World Series.

In the N.L. the Dodgers were able to jump out to a 2 game to 0 advantage while at home.  The series then shifted to Arizona and again the Dodgers had no issue with the D-Backs. They closed out the series with a sweep.  The Dodgers look like they have returned to their dominant form from the regular season before their slump near the end of the year.

The final N.L. match-up was the Cubs vs. the Nationals.  The series did not disappoint!  Each game seemed to have drama and heroics.  The Cubs took the first game while the Nationals took the second in our Nation’s Capital.  As the series shifted to Chicago the Cubs took the third game and game four was rained out.  This caused some drama as it would have allowed the Nationals to make some pitching changes that they chose not to.  The game was played the following day and after plenty of scrutiny in the media the Nationals did start one of their stars, Stephen Strasburg.  He was dominant and proved to be worthy of the start.  Game 5 would be back in D.C. and it was a classic!  It was not necessarily a well played game, but it had tons of drama from beginning to end. In the end the Cubs pulled it out and will face the Dodgers in the N.L.C.S.

The Yankees start their series tonight with Houston, hopefully they can jump out to an early series lead by stealing a game in Houston.  The series could end up being a classic but it could also be a dud.  I just can’t pick against the Yankees again, I made that mistake once already.  The Cubs had a long trip to Los Angeles overnight and start tomorrow night.  I am looking forward to this series since it is a re-match of last years NLCS.  The Dodgers have a better team this year and should win the series, but I do not like to pick against defending champs.  Regardless of the outcome, I am sure the baseball will be great to watch.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

The Aftermath of Harvey!

Last week I wrote about Hurricane Harvey. The storm was just about to make landfall as I wrote the article.  Here we are a week later and the news is not good.  The storm ended up being catastrophic! The damage left behind is staggering.  The storm has passed through Texas, but the damage is not done.  There will be issues in Texas for months to come.  The storm is moving north and it is still wreaking havoc on our country.  There will no doubt be a lot of lives that end up being lost as a result of this storm, but you will also see many tremendous stories of bravery and generosity.

As the Governor of Texas states when discussing the recovery efforts, “This will be a multi-year effort”.  That seems to be a honest but very depressing statement.  Many folks are heading back to their homes, some will be worse than others.  Other cities are still in big trouble, as Beaumont is now without running water. The death toll is sitting at roughly 46.  That number will certainly change as time passes and the water recedes.  There have been many stories of heartbreaking loss. This article covers many of the tragic stories of death. Very, very, sad stuff to read.

Even though Harvey is no longer a hurricane, it is still causing issues throughout the country. It is heading north and causing plenty of issues.  As you can see here, plenty of major cities like Nashville, TN are dealing with Harvey now.  Of course the scale is much smaller than the damage down south, it just shows how one storm can effect more than just a coastal region.

Houston claims to be open for business!  I am glad they feel like they are getting back on their feet, however, plenty of other towns are still facing devastation.  As mentioned earlier, Beaumont is out of running water.  Another town, Crosby, is facing a major dilemma as a chemical plant was flooded. There have been a few explosions at the plant so far with more to come.  Can you imagine Alligators in your front yard?  That is another hurdle the citizens will have to face as many have access to a much broader territory because of the flooding. Scary stuff!

The thing I would like to focus on is the countless acts of heroism that emerge.  Here is a nice story about a furniture store owner.  He is losing money by doing these things, but as he mentioned “to hell with profits, lets take care of people”.  How about JJ Watt? He cant physically help save someone, but he is using his celebrity status to raise money for relief aid.  He is at a staggering 13 million with more to come!

Of course the devastation of losing property, loved ones, and your way of life are something I can not relate to at the moment.  I know there will be many more stories of tragedy and heroism to arise.  This is a story that will eventually fade from the mainstream news.  However, this will not fade from the minds and hearts of those effected by this storm.  It is a very sad story and I am grateful that my family is safe and sound.

—Victor Mandalawi