South Florida, we seem to be in the clear right now. Hurricane Irene doesn't look like she's planning to stomp all over us -- as of Wednesday a.m. Even as we say this, we know we may be wrong. We can't think of a time that a hurricane came through and we were 100 percent sure that it would. At any rate, our hearts go out to the Bahamas and all the islands that are suffering now and those who will feel her windy wrath.
Since hurricanes are known to be erratic and unwieldy, we know it's best to be prepared. So even if you know she isn't going to murder you, do yourself a favor and stock up -- if not for now, for next time. Get lots and lots of water, canned goods, batteries, flashlights, and magazines; and put your shutters up, or at least be ready to almost do it.
There's one thing everyone forgets to make: an excellent mixtape of jams to hold you over during and after the storm. First, it is key that the songs you choose have plenty of weather/storm references. Second, you need songs that can help you pass the boring powerless time.
Don't know how to get started? Let us offer a few suggestions for your mix. Don't thank us -- we actually hope you don't have to use it.
Reigning Sound - "Stormy Weather"
Odds are we are gonna just get a lot of rain but not the full storm. So, like the song says, it will "feel like it's raining all the time."
Neil Young - "Like a Hurricane"
We know Grandpa Grunge isn't singing about an actual hurricane. He's just a dreamer who needs love but has gotta go. This is a good song for thinking about hurricanes without thinking about hurricanes.
Bob Dylan - "Hurricane"
Dyla's ode to wrongfully convicted boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter has got nothing to do with a category five storm. But if you have no power and nothing to do, this is an excellent way to spend eight minutes.
"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"
If Hurricane Andrew taught us anything, there is no better way to spend a night holding a bedframe against a shattered window while 100 mph winds try to break into your house than by singing this song. Over and over again. Be prepared, and keep your bottles of beer on the floor.
Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"
We certainly won't feel as down as Bill when Irene is gone. Feel free to change the lyrics to "ain't no sunshine when she's here."
Hurricane Chris - "A Bay Bay"
At a certain point, things are gonna get a little delirious up in your tattered, flooded home. Actual words are gonna be in short supply, and basic syllables are gonna be more your speed.
Stevie Ray Vaughan - "Couldn't Stand the Weather"
No amount of wind, lightning, or rain stopped Stevie Ray from playing these sick licks on his waterproof guitar. Stock up on some Thompson Water Seal, and let the good times just flow. Bonus: "The Sky Is Crying" is a reminder that you should probably treat your girl/guy extra nice the next couple of days. You want them to want to come looking for you in case you get stranded.
Madonna - "Rain"
"Your love's coming down like rain," eh? Since this is Her Madgesty, we're gonna take this in the crudest way possible. Wear a raincoat, everyone -- unless you plan to explain to your daughter why you named her Irene.
By the way, there's no need for Scorpions' "Rock You Like a Hurricane" on your mix; that's more for hang-gliding, skydiving or Jet-Skiing, OK? Hurricanes ain't no joke, but there is nothing wrong with trying to have a good time during a bad time. Stay safe, South Florida. Stay prepared, and make tons of mix CDs for your hand-crankable boombox.