EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Apocalypse | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'apocalypse'

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Keep Your Goddamn Apocalypse Away From My Kids

BETH BOYLE MACHLAN

I’m back. And I’m pissed.

If you live in New York, you’ve probably seen the signs on the subway for a food delivery service that promises to bring you anything, at any time. If you want sushi, they will fetch it for you, even if they have to go to the ocean to do so. In fact, the advertisement shows a cartoon man chasing down a cartoon fish; the fish, seemingly aware of his fate, has a thought bubble above his head that reads “Shit!” Or rather, it says “S*#t,” because I guess they figured the actual word might offend people — probably parents with children who otherwise might gliby shout “Shit!” all the way home, because the subway sign said so.

So my question to the people in charge of subway advertising is this: do you really think I’m more disturbed by the chance that my kid might say “shit,” or the fact that my kids have had the shit scared out of them by posters advertising the apocalypse? Do we really live in a city where it’s ok to terrify young kids, as long as they don’t express their terror using a PG-rated word?

It boggles my mind that, as a nation, our support for free speech completely outweighs our acceptance of freedom. We are more concerned about our kids being exposed to bare boobs and cigarettes than we are about assholes telling them that they’re going to die tomorrow. We grown-ups can make all the funnies about post-rapture looting and job openings that we want to, but I bet many children will be lying awake tonight, wondering if there will be school on Monday, or if they’ll perish in flames. (Do the schools close for hellfire, or just snow? What about alternate-side parking? UPDATE: We have an answeron that one!)

It makes me bananas that people in positions of power believe that gay people and single mothers are detrimental to the welfare of children, but evangelical lunatics with fat advertising budgets are permitted to spout terrifying jargon for everyone to see. Yes, I can and have explained to my children that this isn’t actually going to happen. I can also tell them not to smoke, but apparently the city doesn’t trust me to do that. Which is harder to explain, “Don’t smoke because it can cause cancer” (FACT), or “Don’t be afraid of the world ending, because it won’t; these people are crazy and wrong; just trust me” (COMPLEX CONCEPTUAL FACT I CAN’T ACTUALLY PROVE FOR 48 MORE HOURS)?

Another fact? Kids are afraid of death. They worry about losing a parent, losing a pet, and eventually, inexplicably, losing themselves. Usually, circumstances permitting, parents can mitigate these fears. But it’s a hell of a lot harder to do so when they have to spend half an hour on the F train staring at a sign about a world-ending earthquake. I’d rather sit across from a sign that said “FUCK!” in big block letters. But who’s gonna hang up a sign like that? IT’S OFFENSIVE!

Sex is not scary. Gay people are not scary. Bad words are not scary. An announcement that the earth will soon be consumed in flames? That’s scary. And my kids and I shouldn’t have to pay $2.50 apiece to look at it.

 

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Wild Weekends & Disasters

OK, so here’s the deal. I’ve decided that Monday’s through Friday’s I will post articles about San Francisco. On the weekends if I get some time I’ll post bonus material that can be about anything in particular, stream of consciousness rants, whatever. I’ll call these wild weekend articles. That being said today I want to talk about…

Disasters. We hear about them all the time. Earthquakes in Japan, tornados in the midwest, hurricanes in the south and east. What I find funny is that people who live in the areas where it seems like they have to buy a new house every year have all said to me, California’s nice, but I could never live there because of the earthquakes.

I’ve lived in San Francisco my entire life and the only time there was a disaster that set us back was in 1989 when the 6.9 earthquake set us back a day. We lost power for about four hours and our phone lines were screwed up for about four days and that was it. Our house survived quite well as it was bolted to the foundation and the only thing in our house that got damaged was a ceramic goblet that I bought at the renaissance faire that fell off a shelf.

Yes, you don’t know when they are coming and when they do they’re usually very loud and scary, but they’re over shortly and life goes back to normal. I think the scene from L.A. Story where Steve Martin is sitting at a cafe with a group of people when an earthquake hits and they are all going about their business because it’s no big deal. It really isn’t that big a deal unless you might happen to live in a liquifaction area such as the Marina which really had only the area North of Chestnut street affected.

Yes, I did get hit with a few falling bricks and some flying glass shards from a broken window when the quake hit in 1989, but  because we get quakes often enough we know what to do and we’re prepared. So why is it then that other parts of the country that get hit by large hurricanes and tornados every year get warnings and aren’t prepared? Looks like a cat 5 is coming, ah nothing to worry about we’ll get by. Seriously? I know a lot of friends in hurricane country who do get out in time and hope their home is still there when they get back and in a lot of cases it is there, but they still get affected in some way much worse that us people who live in earthquake country. Like having to throw out their refrigerators because of the toxic mess that’s accumulated in the week or so they’ve been gone and the fridge has been off.

Well what about the Northridge quake? Yep, that one was pretty bad when it happened over 30 years ago. We don’t get blizzard conditions in the winter or heat waves in the summer. We’re lucky to see the temperature go past 100° for more than a couple of days [except for perhaps in Needles, CA]. There are parts of California that do fall prey to flooding, but they’re on the coast and if you want to avoid flooding, don’t live on the coast. I recently looked at the weather departments predicitions of a tsunami hitting San Francisco and as long as you live above 46th avenue in the Sunset above La Playa in the Richmond you’ll be fine. That’s only two blocks that would be affected.

There was a recent study done on the San Andreas fault that showed that it would never be capable of delivering a quake much above a 7.6 at this point in time. So earthquakes aren’t really something you need to be too afraid of here in California. They’re just a little surprise wake up call to make sure you’re prepared.

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