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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
REALLY, THE MONEY DOES RUN OUT. If you have no income, you can't stay in a hotel for long, and every day you try makes you far worse off. Trust me on this. Preserving the illusion that things are normal and okay is a perfectly normal thing to try to do, but it's self-destructive to not face the reality ASAP.
Alfanao Tony of Meraux stood at the counter of the Baton Rouge Hampton Inn wearing a starched white shirt. His eyes filled with tears as he explained that anonymous donors from Baton Rouge had paid his hotel room bill for five nights now.
The financial help has been critical for an 86-year-old man who has no home, no where else to go, and wants to avoid shelters.
“I’ll sleep in my car before I go to a shelter,” Tony said. “At my age, I couldn’t take that.”
The scene at Baton Rouge area hotels illustrates the socio-economic gap among Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Some are being put up in hotels by the companies they work for. Their jobs are secure and they will eventually operate out of temporary offices their firms are setting up in Baton Rouge.
Others, like Tony, have limited means and are struggling on their own to find shelter in a market where housing is increasingly scarce. They don’t know when they can go home, when the money will run out, and where they will go when it does. Tony spent two nights on the fourth floor of his apartment building awaiting rescue after the storm.
He had $1,000 in his pocket when he headed towards Mystic, TX., but he found no rooms and eventually made his way to the Hampton Inn, where "the staff have been just wonderful.”
He's down to less than $200 and doesn't know what will happen after that.
Find a decent shelter or alternative now.
Anna Dennis of Kenner had nine family members crammed into two rooms at the Hampton Inn. They, too, were running out of money, but were being given a break on room charges.
Her husband, Warren, was at the local Hilton Garden Inn with his adoptive father, Wilbert Denies, 83. Wilbert has been a foster parent for decades and three of Warren's adopted brothers were staying with them: two teenagers and a 41-year-old man with an emotional disorder. "He just doesn't talk, and hasn't since he was a child,'' Anna Dennis said.
Warren Dennis has been hitting the road early every morning to find an apartment, but to no avail.
The one lead they had on an apartment got them excited, but when they went to meet the leasing agent they found a man with a truck unloading his furniture, saying the apartment was his.
"I've been trying to keep my break-downs to every other day,'' Anna Dennis said.
The Dennis family has been to FEMA and the Red Cross and is trying every other avenue they can think of to find housing. Meanwhile, Anna Dennis sent her two daughters, Alyssia, 6, and Alexandria, 5, to live with an aunt in Texas. The daily phone calls always are emotional with the daughters crying to be back with their mother and father.
But Anna Dennis doesn’t know when that will happen.
"I've got to have my daughters back, but I just didn't want them to see all of us going through this,'' she said.
Many Realtors in the area were inundated with calls for apartments or rental space of any kind, but most families found that large businesses had already snapped up most of the inventory.
URS, an engineering firm, did just that. The company lined up 28 apartments for its critical employees. One of those units is going to information technology manager David Scripter, his wife Cheryl, and their three young children.
The Scripter’s Lakeview home is under water and feared totally destroyed. Cheryl Scripter said she felt bad – and a little guilty – for the people who are still in New Orleans, and the hundreds more who can’t find a place to stay in the Baton Rouge area.
Celeste Nillen-Cade, a teacher St. Robert Bellaramine School, is among those hunting for housing in Baton Rouge. Nillen-Cade was driving around town with the ashes of her husband in the trunk of her car. He died of a heart attack last month.
Along with her step daughter, she was crammed into a one-bedroom apartment with an expanded step family, eleven all together, many sleeping on the kitchen floor.
She headed to the Embassy Suites to use the hotel computer to find housing. Her brother is a hotel employee.
"I'm thinking about Oklahoma City. I have my teacher's certificate, and if things can't work out here, I don't think I'll come back,” Nillen-Cade said.
Kathie Jacobs, vice president of sales and marketing for Hampton Inn Hotels & Suites of New Orleans, which operates five hotels in metro New Orleans, was walking the lobby of the Baton Rouge hotel Sunday, checking on the customers she has grown to know by first name. She said the company is working hard on getting the Elmwood Hampton Inn up and running with hopes of moving back in as soon as power and water is restored. They were feeding Baton Rouge guests free hot dogs and other easy-to-prepare foods.
Jacobs was upset that many Baton Rouge residents were expressing their anger at "the New Orleans invasion.''
But she also pointed out the generosity of the community. Some area residents have been coming to the front desk anonymously and offering to pay at least one room night for a New Orleans family. Others have been dropping off diapers, formula. and other necessities
And employees of Hilton Corp. were calling and putting room nights for New Orleans evacuees on their credit cards.
"They just call up and say, 'I want to sponsor a family.'''
Christoper Perry, A Hampton concierge at the Hampton Inn on Convention Center Boulevard, went through the survival ordeal of other city folks, including spending two nights on his roof before being rescued. He's helping out at the Hampton Inn and eager to get back to clean up the city and get things up and running.
"I just want to get home and help out,'' Perry said.
Wanting to stay in the region is utterly understandable, but frankly, the further away you go, the lesser will be the competition for the same resources for restarting. Go to the Pacific Northwest, or to New England, would be my suggestion, if you can stand the cultural and climactic change.
Displaced residents of this city — especially the poorest blacks, who were hardest hit by the storm — are pondering whether they will try to return to a town the tour guides often missed, one that has suffered decades of crime, corruption and grinding poverty.
"Katrina had a tremendous impact on the black people who lived here," said Lance Hill, director of a diversity training program at Tulane University. "This city was tough on a lot of them even before the hurricane. A lot of them were already unemployed or had minimum-wage jobs. Many of them were renters. They don't have anything to come back to. A lot of them are just not going to come back."
They were home, and that was a blessing, considering that so many thousands along the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts have nothing. But home is now a forbidding place.
The daily hunt for water, ice and food is all-consuming. The sense of isolation is overwhelming.
Without power and phones, without batteries for the radio, many families have no means of finding out where they can get a free supper — or even where, amid Katrina's devastation, their congregation will gather for prayer.
In fact, all along the coast, people need supplies far more basic than generators.
"We've got water, we've got ice, but we run out of [meals] on a daily basis," said James D. Johnston, a public information officer for Hancock County, on the Louisiana border.
"The story is always the same: It's in the pipeline," Johnston said. "Hell, it's seven days down the road since the hurricane. The human suffering going on here is unbelievable."
But there is no mail delivery along Joseph Street. Katrina blew away the post office. There are rumors that another post office might have the checks, but Glenda doesn't want to risk the gas. Even if she got her check, she's not sure she could find a bank to cash it.
"Do you know what this does to a person's pride?" Glenda asked. "You don't want someone to feed you. [But] where can we go? We need the handout. And that feels very shameful."
I know the feeling.
[...] While they were gone, a neighbor came by to announce that she was headed to buy gas in Mobile, Ala., about a 70-mile drive. Willie gave her a 10-gallon container and $65. She returned in the evening with the gas can full — but no change.
"It took all the money to get you this," Willie said she told him.
The Sparkmans were down to $88. They were still getting meals from the Salvation Army, twice a day. But how they would get formula, or diapers, or more fuel when their cash ran out, no one knew.
"I can't think about that right now," Willie said. "We try not to get frightened."
He did have good news: Memorial Hospital, several blocks away, had opened its taps to the public. The water looked a little gray, but it was better than the foul-smelling creek water they had collected earlier. So he and Clintard trudged over there several times a day to fill their buckets.
On Monday morning, in celebration of the new water supply, the adults washed for the first time in eight days. Then, Willie said, "we just broke down." They dipped into the melting ice in their cooler to brush their teeth.
He felt a little better after that. The car's gas tank was half full, so the family could afford to chase rumors of an open grocery store. They knew where to get free meals. And their carpet was drying out.
There were even signs that authorities were moving in to help. On Monday morning, a man knocked on the Sparkmans' door and said he had been sent — he didn't say by whom — to remove the tree that had crashed onto their roof. Before he left, he even tacked tarpaper over the holes.
All in all, Willie said, the family was getting by on Joseph Street. They had survived today.
A senior New Orleans police official said Monday that some 10,000 inhabitants remained in the city, hidden inside flooded residences, apartments and housing projects, surviving on foraged scraps and food drops by the military. Searchers have been frustrated by hundreds of holdouts who have refused to leave their homes, fearing possessions will be pillaged, pets will die and their way of life will be erased.
"There are, to our surprise, thousands of people still in the city that we're trying to identify and locate," said Deputy New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley. "We're trying to convince them there's nothing for them here — no food, no jobs, nothing to let them live the way they're used to."
Yet many survivors ignored pleas to evacuate, foraging for sustenance by day and staying hidden at night in a city deprived of basic functions.
"They're trying to starve us out," said Barnell Roman, 53, who drank a warm beer on the porch of his two-story home on Elysian Fields Avenue in the Mid-City neighborhood.
Roman said he and a dozen other neighborhood residents were no longer able to cadge food or water from National Guard troops posted nearby. Faced with shrinking supplies, two neighbors gave up and accepted a ride from authorities to an evacuation point, he said.
On Interstate 10, where a flooded highway exit served as a ramp to launch rescue boats, search crews said hundreds of people had declined to be rescued over the last two days. One Texas crew operating east of the interstate was turned way by 450 people living in houses surrounded by water. On Monday, the crew rescued 183 people but was turned away by 150 more, said Billy Parker, manager of the Texas Task Force One Water Strike Team.
"They have water up to the porch, but they don't want to go," Parker said. "They sit up on the second floor and say: 'We got food. We got water. We're staying.' " Parker said his crews had no authority to forcibly remove anyone but had passed the information on to state and city agencies.
Nagin has said the city will remove all residents. He has not provided details on how or when the process would be carried out. But Riley warned Monday that officials were considering "stopping food drops" to the stragglers to increase the pressure on them to leave.
Shoring up his organization, Chertoff named a new federal official to help oversee rescue and recovery operations in New Orleans. Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, will be deputy federal officer under Brown. The Coast Guard has been widely praised for making more than 15,000 rescues of people trapped by the hurricane.
Allen's job will be to set up a new headquarters in New Orleans and work with Honore, who commands Joint Task Force Katrina, the military group in New Orleans.