For once, the news doesn't really need to exaggerate.
I can't help but draw illusory connections between the storm in Taiwan and the much bigger one that hit New Orleans. According to this possibly sketchy LA Times editorial, a lot of the old houses in New Orleans had been severely weakened by Formosan termites. Formosan, as in Ilha Formosa, the old Dutch name for an island off the coast of China. An island taken over by people from southeast China, who called in Taiwan. Granted, it wouldn't have mattered since the storm was so powerful--newer, stronger buildings unaffected by termites were also destroyed by flooding--but as a second-generation Taiwanese-American and a first-generation (once removed) American immigrant to Taiwan, I can't help but feel a tiny blip of collective shame for owing my existence to the traditions of international exchange that brought these pests to New Orleans. And now that the storm is passing over Taiwan, and the part of China where the bug actually originated, there is an odd sense of instantaneous karmic justice.
Add in the even more tragic stampedes in Iraq, where terrorists claimed seven hundred pious lives without doing as much as lighting a match, and you can imagine Tom Cruise or some other crack-religious Hollywood actor standing on the roof of a sinking building in New Orleans, laughing and shouting, "Where is your God now?" to squealing violins from Howard Shore.
Leo's doing a 21-hour shift at the ER tonight to help out when Typhoon Talim strikes Taichung. He deserves the maddest of props.