Monday, October 19, 2009

613 Power Up

613 Power Up

It's Saturday night in October and we've just had a pretty good snow storm, and mighty early. A fall snowfall. It came well announced, stayed as long as expected, and left on schedule. It also knocked power out across the area. Ten thousand or so out of a population of 140-thousand without electricity as winds tear down tree limbs and tree limbs snap power lines.

So the phone rings sometime before we get home for the night and it's the regional emergency preparedness office, recorded, of course, and informing us that if we don't have electricity it might be another day or so until we do, and if the individual line to the house has become detached, it would be still longer.

But don't worry, chimes the robot, there's a shelter at the such and such elementary school where you can keep warm, sleep on a cot and maybe get a meal.

Very forward thinking and good government at its good-est. Except that if you have no electricity, how do you get the message, since your answering machine doesn't work without power? In fact, most phones today don't work without power either. So the majority of the people who received the message don't need it. A message in a bottle, thrown into a dry sea?

If you have phone service (even if the phone itself doesn't work,) and you are one of the laggards who still uses dialup and you have a battery operated computer -- or if you have a "smart phone" or a Blackberry, you can get to the emergency folks' website. Which has no information similar to that on the phone message.

If you have a cell phone, and have texting capability, you might get the message that way, assuming the Emergencerians have your cell phone number, which they probably don't.

Instead of these high tech inefficiencies, maybe they should have contracted with a town crier or a roving minstrel to go door-to-door and tell the tale. Or at least leave notes on the door.


--Five dollar meals everywhere. Subway Sandwiches, KFC, Little Casar's, Long John Silver's. Now comes Arby's with one that costs $5.01 and can anyone explain that penny?

--NASA says, belatedly, that when it bombed the moon it got back useful data, even though none of us earthlings could see the highly touted plume of moon junk the hit was supposed to generate. A $75 million mission to find whether there's water up there, which we still don't know. If there is, though, you can bet someone's going to put it in plastic bottles and sell it.

--Three people you probably never heard of: Beth Humphrey, Terrence McKay and Keith Bardwell, all of Louisiana. Humphrey is a white woman, McKay is a black man and they want to marry, but Bardwell, a justice of the peace, refused them a marriage license, saying he's not a racist and has no regrets. He will.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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