Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rock Star

Last night, at around 1AM (PST) there was yet another in what is basically a series of endless earthquakes in the LA area. It was small, short, and one of those that natives and long-time SoCal residents view as more fun than frightening.

It measured 4.5, which means it felt as if someone had bumped into your bed, or your neighbor had his subwoofer turned way up and was listening to some serious bass.

LA Rocks!

However, this is LA, and everything here has to have some over-the-top PR and hype.
Seriously. I mean, minor rainfall is breathlessly reported on the news with headlines like “Stormwatch” and other apocalyptic monikers. So, when the gods of the underworld start rumbling and tossing the surface dwellers around, the local media breaks out with some good old fashioned Wagnerian Gotterdammerung stuff. The TV news is filled with images of frightened people describing their terror (“it was so sudden!”) or steps they took to ensure their safety (“we all jumped out of bed and stood under doorways”) and there is the inevitable yokel declaring they are “leaving LA tomorrow.”

Good riddance.

Anyway, sure as night follows day and Bush will blatantly and openly lie next time he speaks, after the sensationalist coverage the news team will turn to their more sober “analyst” to put the quake into perspective. Which means the appearance of my most current crush, Dr. Kate Hutton, seismologist over at Cal Tech.

Kiss me, Kate.

I love love love love me some Dr. Kate. That unapologetic dyke with the premature grey hair and pointy-headed intellectual glasses warms me right up. She is known here as the Earthquake Lady because for close to 20 years, she has been the one to step in front of the cameras and throngs of terrified idiot reporters to tell them that we just had an earthquake.

What I really dig about Dr. Kate is her open and complete revulsion at having to deal with the simpering press. She despises them their stupidity, simplicity, and plasticity. She answers their repetitive and juvenile questions honestly, completely, and concisely, but with a sneer and barely concealed contempt. And with good reason. See, Dr. Kate is an educated, intelligent woman. The press are a pack of telegenic mannequins who would collectively make Ted Baxter look like a Nobel Laureate.

Good night, and good news.

During these conferences the press shouts questions in a state of hysteria, asking the same thing every single time: “Was this the Big One?”

Was this the Big One.

And our intrepid Dr. Kate will look at the reporter with an expression somewhere between pity and disgust, and, as if trying to explain quantum physics to a hillbilly, will calmly say that this, in fact, was not the Big One. She will then explain how the Richter scale works (it’s a logarithmic scale, where every increase in a point equals a tenfold increase in strength), how quakes are measured, basic tectonic theory, and so on. She will use simple words, sort of like someone trying to explain global climate change or Mideast politics to a rabid conservative, and gently calm the reporters who by now are ready to spread Fear and Panic throughout the populace.

Her press conferences serve as sharp relief to those of our Idiot Boy-King: Dr. Kate uses technical and complex words as a matter of everyday discourse. They flow effortlessly and when she speaks, she just assumes you can follow. When Prince George uses complex words they stick awkwardly in his mouth, like he’s trying to eat the rind of a pineapple, and when he says them it’s with a tone of smug undeserved pride commonly associated with a four-year old trying to show off to a mathematician that he can subtract four from seven.

Her mere appearance on the tube will serve as a balm for the terror-stricken rubes, because if Dr. Kate says something, we know it’s true and things are Good. Afterwards, the news anchor (now dripping with relief) will incorrectly summarize what Dr. Kate just told us. That this minor little shake was not the Big One; that quakes of various size happen all along the many faults throughout California every day; and that it was not the high-sign for the Four Horsemen or The Beast to come and feast on our eternal souls.

And Dr. Kate can go back to Cal Tech and do her research and teach. Until the next minor tembler, when once again she will have to come before the cameras and tell the press everything is okay while secretly wishing they would all fall into a very deep and very dark hole, never to be seen again.

I’m with you, Dr. Kate. You rock!

Ook ook


Miz UV said...

OMG, is there going to be a tsunami????? Halp!

Constance Kent said...

Damn, I do love that line, "like he's trying to eat the rind of a pineapple."

And now I'm going to steal it!

O' Tim said...

I were in wunna them bass treblers when I lived out thar. Purty fun lil' adrenaline freak!

RagingLunatic said...

'The Big One?' What? The one that breaks off CA then it sails out into the Pacific?

Intellectual crushes are a wonderful thing. As you know, I have a few of them myself. Yes, I do.

The Fez Monkey said...

Miz UV: Yes. But Dr. Kate doesn't do aquatic disasters, so I won't have any interest in that.

Constance: Be my guest. It's very rare I say anything memorable, so you just tickled the Monkey! (PS: Your name reminds me of one of Pynchon's name-jokes from Gravity's Rainbow. One character's early Puritan ancestor was named Constant Slothrop, and he named his son Variable. I still find that hilarious).

O'Tim: It's a good thing you moved, because with hick-talk like that you don't belong out here. Learn to say "dude" "gnarly" "radical" and the like before you come back. If you need, I can send you a Cracker - Surfer dictionary.

RL: Dr. Kate would scold you in her dismissive manner about that whole Cali floating off into the ocean myth. When the Big One happens, Cali will be fine -- it's the rest of you swine that will sink.

Ook ook

Joe the Troll said...

Remember, Ted Baxter was the only one who wasn't fired in the last episode.

Jeff said...

Hey Fez, just wanted to come by and thank you for contributing to Boiled Dinner. I'm hanging it up. I'll still be around in comments, and still keep Film Freaks going, so Movie Madness will definitely keep going. Peace!

Joe the Troll said...


O' Tim said...


Joe the Troll said...


Anonymous said...

I too, love Dr.Kate and the manner in which she disdains the nattering nabobs of negativism from the local media and their innane questions following a seismic event...

However, as a Geologist who also happens to be politically Conservative I resent your lumping me or my fellow Conservative leaning colleagues with Media Prima Donnas, who more often than not, happen to have left wing political tendencies...

BTW, Global Climate Change is a fact.

However, the [i]actual degree[/i] of Anthropomorphic Global Warming, is a matter of opinion / conjecture.

In Closing, you are doing well, but do try to open your mind a bit may yet learn something.

Dr Aquiles Meo DeLatorre