Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Smart Tsunami

Anyone who's heard the Southern California Emergency Alert System knows what I'm talking about: the never-ending, several-times-a-day on every radio station announcements that're like sandpaper on the eardrums.

They seem to be designed to make you change the radio station before your ears start bleeding, and they're always drills. A General Quarters call at three AM would be sweet music compared to these hideous blasts. Did I mention that they're always drills? "If this were an actual emergency we'd play it even louder!"

Well, yesterday at about 8:10 PM they played it on TV. And again at 8:20. And yet again at about 8:30. It was interrupting my intense viewing of a rerun of The Gilmore Girls. It came out with those same awful buzzes that they use on radio, then a message flashed onscreen that you should tune to Channel 6 for details on the emergency. Since my neighborhood seemed not to be either burning, flooded, tilting or shaking, I paid it little attention, except the anger of having The Gilmore Girls interrupted.

Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I tuned in Channel 6.

It was a tsunami warning. I suppose, since *The Big One* in the south Pacific, we're all supposed to panic and get in our cars and high-tail it to Big Bear. But since I live five miles from the beach ( as the seagull flies), I didn't really think I had much to worry about.

I went to Drudge after turning back to The Gilmore Girls.

Drudge had a link to Earthquake Central, who was showing a 7.0, in the Pacific 80 miles southwest of Crescent City. While hoping that othing serious was happening to the good folks in Crescent City, I also noted that Crescent City is a good deal north of lovely Santa Ana.

Ladies and gentlemen, attend: the tsunami, had there been one, would have had to whoosh over 600 miles, curving around Cape Mendocino and Point Conception, then make a hard left (over 90 degrees) in order to slam into the Los Angeles and Orange County beaches. That, my friends, would require both intelligence and purpose--that is, a smart tsunami.

Aside: does anyone know what the word tsunami means in English?

Well, we had no tsunami, and apparently no one else did, either. Knock me over with a feather.

Which brings me back to The Gilmore Girls. Why did the brainiacs at the plush penthouse offices of SoCal Emergency Alert Center decide they had to interrupt my TV viewing with a bogus emergency that any moron could tell was a non-starter? Why does the Emergency Alert buzzer sound so hideously annoying that one's first and second impulse is to change the station or hit the mute button? Why couldn't they give the emergency message during the abundant commercial periods rather than during programming?

I think there are grounds for the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Panel to investigate these shortcomings and answer these and other questions, and they should do so before the next emergency.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

1 comment:

TWC said...

"does anyone know what the word tsunami means in English"

'tsumanmi' means Tidal Wave in some other language.

Good stuff