Hurricanes, the Homeless, and Armor

E-mail Harrigan

Jan. 17, 2005 5:24 a.m.

Just off an all-night flight from Chile. Miami Beach gets up late. There is a good wind coming off the ocean, almost a storm wind... in the dark, a little feel of a hurricane. Next season it would be nice to have a team dedicated to hurricanes, who go out and follow each one from where it starts to where it finishes... who sit around with gear and camera fanatics, to determine what equipment, and how to rig the vehicles to show something new.

It's always a good idea to walk after a long flight. No tourists on Lincoln, but in each store doorway there are one or two homeless on cardboard flats. The store entryways break the wind. I found myself looking in, then looking away.

Going to buy armor today. I want to look at a new helmet after the snaps broke off my old one. The old one was an SF helmet with big spaces around the ears for coms. I didn't need coms around the ears. I need metal around the ears. I also want to see if they have the new shoulder protection that the Marines wear. And a neck guard. And pants. And a ballistic blanket. It is a special store where you have to get cleared to shop. The man who cleared me is called Angel. So I get to walk in and say, "Angel sent me."

Jan. 16, 2006 12:43 p.m.
Santiago, Chile

Video: Chile's First Female President

A young woman, imprisoned, beaten, blindfolded, her mother imprisoned, her father tortured to death, her cellmates raped — 20 years later she is president of the country, without revenge or any outward sign of bitterness.

I saw newly elected Chilean President Michelle Bachelet yesterday. She had just voted. Like anyone else in the crowd I was able to walk within a few feet of her, with a bag on my shoulder — zero security checks, no metal detectors, no crowd control.

Anther cable network is again covering an election from an undisclosed location. A report with file video erroneously says the president-elect is the mother of two children, when in fact she is the mother of three. Ordinarily such sloppy fact-checking may not be relevant, but in a country where divorce was illegal until a year ago, a single mother with three children by two different men was considered a potential issue.

Jan. 14, 2006 7:14 a.m.
Santiago, Chile — visa line

Eight-hour flight. The guy next to me was a wine drinker. He boarded flushed, then increased the dosage until a slumber left him facing me, mouth open... a steady, slight inescapable breeze of wine.

Pontius was behind me. His neighbor began speaking to him immediately. When I took off the headphones eight hours later the guy was showing him pictures, still talking.

Airports are the place you get recognized. In Santiago, Americans have to pay $100 for a visa in twenties, as they fear counterfeiting. As the roped line swung around I noticed a woman of a certain age look at me, then she stepped forward and made her move.

"Excuse me," she began, "are you Adam Housley?"

"No," I smiled.

"You look awfully like him. Do you get that a lot?"

"No," I smiled.

13 Jan, 13, 2005 12:10 p.m.

Going to Chile tonight to cover the election. I’ve never been there before — just got the phone call yesterday afternoon. Two others are going, so I won't have to schlep gear. This producer was last seen in Gulfport, Mississippi where he was bitten on the foot by a red ant.

"How was your New Year?"

"Not bad, quiet. At least I didn't get my X kicked. I wasn't in Chechnya watching some guy get X'd."

"What does X mean."

"X means getting X'd. And you watch it without doing anything because they have a gun to your head."

"You're just trying to X with me. I know you."

"I'm not trying to X with you. I'm just giving you an answer. You asked how my New Year's was. What you do with the answer is up to you."

Have moved to soy chai at Starbucks. Currently ordering under name "Bill," but considering switching to a number.

Jan. 11, 2006 10:14 a.m.

Dumped fire clothes in the bathroom, smells like a slim jim.

In the bureau today, covering either a bank hostage taking or an escaped inmate.

Ocean Avenue Starbucks still charging .07 cents tax on NY Times despite my objections.

Considering a historical dinner party with the following guests:

1. Oona Chaplin
2. Mr. T
3. Mel Ott
4. Bobby Orr
5. Yoko Ono
6. Asta
7. Yogi Berra
8. Solti
9. Sela Ward

E-mail Harrigan

Hey Steve...

Just read your blog. I'm shocked to hear there is a place in the world that you haven't been to.

Sandy in DC

Dear Steve,

You and Adam Housley look nothing alike, and you are funnier. The whole blog was amusing. The mouth open part reminded me of a line from Shrek. Thanks for making me laugh. I hope you enjoy your first visit in Chile. Please take care.



Asta the dog?

— Valerie


What makes your crossword-puzzle-dinner-party-list "historical?"

The Woodlands, TX


My list:

John Adams
Tom Selleck
Julie Andrews
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
George Brett (must discuss Pine Tar Game and his most beautiful swing)
Russell Watson
Sparky Lyle (we will not be having cake)
Larry McMurtrey



My list..

George Harrison
John Lennon
Jimmy Hoffa
Franklin Roosevelt
Jack Ruby
Lee Harvey Oswald
Jack the Ripper
Who ever is "so vain"
Unknown soldiers WW1, WW2 & Korea


PS. Yoko will be 73 this year.


I read awhile ago about your dad's funeral. My husband and I lost all four parents within the first ten years of our marriage, so we certainly empathize. What makes me write, though, is your mom's concern about the songs you wanted for mass. I come from a "very" Catholic family and my mother, Esther, and her mother played the organ for masses. Esther could make any song sound "church-like". As a teen, it would drive me crazy because she would take modern, cool songs and turn them into 3/4 time mush. However, she was so talented that, when a certain friend of hers walked into mass every Saturday night, Esther would make this smooth transition from whatever prelude she was playing to a very melodious and chordal version of "In Heaven There is no Beer". I swear to you this is true. Anyway, I thought it would make you smile, and you can share with your mother that your song choices weren't so off color at that!

— Kate (Elkhorn, NE)