This morning, as I was walking down the street—on one of those uber-hyphenated strolls that freelance journalists colorfully like to describe as the "are-you-kidding-I-can't-afford-to-take-a-cab" variety—I momentarily tripped across a small fissure in the concrete. And then I got to thinking about the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Calaveras fault in California, back on July 1, 1911. Today, were that earthquake still alive and happening, it would be 100 years old. What a grand old dame it would be! I decided to put on my imagining hat.
Okay, Washington felt it too, probably more than Baltimore. It was the biggest earthquake in the history of recorded Baltimore/Washington earthquakes, meaning since the 1970s or something, and magnitude 3.6. Southern California doesn't even roll over in bed for a magnitude 3.6. It woke me up at 5:04 a.m., the room was vibrating, a rumble moved through and on out, and by 5:05 I was asleep again. Of no concern, right? The east coast doesn't get earthquakes, right?
So, September. Somehow, we’ve made it. Seemed sort of touch-and-go there for a minute.
In lots of ways, September is one of the very best months we have. The fetid, humid wilt of August lifts into a cooler, cleaner late-summer balm. The sky is bluer and the clouds whiter and puffier than at any other time of year. Baseball games start to actually matter and corn is so sweet you don’t even have to cook it. Sure, there’s the inevitable reminder of aging and mortality that comes with tipping towards autumn, and when you were a kid, back-to-school time definitely sucked. (Except, not entirely. There was the excitement of novel [...]
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, acting leader of Friday prayers in Tehran, is concerned about earthquakes-a not unreasonable fear in a country prone to seismic disturbances. But what is the cause of these natural disasters? If you guessed "hot chicks in tight clothes," you are either familiar with a certain strain of Koranic interpretation or you have seen this item elsewhere. Anyway, let's hear it from Hojatoleslam's mouth (or, at the very least, from a translation of the Iranian media transcription): "Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes." Okay!
Here is what we know now about the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook the foundations of New York City (and, I guess, some other places): Although I was forced to walk down (and then back up) four flights of stairs during the evacuation, I am for the most part fine. My ice coffee is a little warm now, but other than that—and the unwanted exercise—I want America to rest assured that I, national treasure Alex Balk, survived unscathed. As you were.
"New York is past due for a significant earthquake, warns a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory…. Won-Young Kim, who runs the seismographic network for the entire Northeast at the Earth Observatory, said New York City is due for another big quake about every 100 years — but an exact timeline is hard to pin down."
This weekend's quake, located in northern Mexico, pretty much due south of the Salton Sea, resulted in a thousand and one slightly sloshy swimming pools in the greater Los Angeles area. (See the above for the average representative on YouTube, narrated by what is apparently a slightly younger Sharon Stone.) I had to wonder: when we eventually lose parts or most of lower California, will we think about it ever again when it's gone? (Mexico, yes, that we would miss.) But given just how strongly those of us who grew up in the lower California expected it not to be around forever anyway, in a way it's like it's [...]