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Today was he anniversary of one of the craziest days of my childhood. It was supposed to be just a normal Tuesday. School, homework, and then CCD classes (my Catholic peeps out there feel me). But it didn’t work out that way. Earthquake days never do…
This is a piece I wrote for JamsBio about that fateful October day back in 1989.
They say sometimes animals can sense when something is about to happen. A storm, tornado, flood, or an earthquake. Well Mama Kitty had been missing since Monday, and it was now Tuesday afternoon. We decided to make some flyers and hang them up around the neighborhood. We sat at the kitchen table making up our lost pet posters, when suddenly the earth began to shake. Movies and books began falling of the shelves, and as all good California boys & girls do we got underneath the doorway.
Once the shaking finally stopped we all ran outside. All the neighbors had stepped out into the October evening and began joking and making guesses as to what size the quake was. Us kids were laughing and standing in the street watching the parked cars still gently rocking back & forth. When the cable finally came back on we all went inside to see the verdict. You see, earthquakes here aren’t really a big deal. They happen all the time, and though this one was obviously a doozy, it was still just an earthquake. Or so we thought.
The first pictures I remember seeing of the devastating damage done by the Quake of ’89 was that our beloved bay bridge had collapsed. No one had ever imagined something like that could happen. I just remember staring at the TV, and thinking “there’s people down there”. The newscasters just kept saying, “Thank God for the World Series”. You see here in the bay area at the exact moment the quake hit, a good majority of bay area residents had gathered to watch our two bay area teams, The A’s & The Giant’s battle it out in the World Series. That game is the only reason the Bay Bridge was relatively empty on a Tuesday at 5:04PM when normally it would have been backed all the way to Oakland with commuter traffic.
The coolest thing about living in The Bay Area is that we do disaster, and we do it well. In less then 24 hours the local Red Cross and many concerned citizens were doing what they could to help find shelter for the 12,000 people left homeless by the quake. I heard it said on the news after the California Wildfires last year, that FEMA should base their emergency disaster relief plans on California’s state disaster plans. I don’t know if that’s true, but I remember being pretty inspired as a little girl by the way the various Bay Area communities stepped up during what at the time, was the worst natural disaster in US history.
We Built This City was designated by Bay Area radio stations to be “Our Song” during the days following the quake. This was only right considering the song was written about the city anyway. As those rescue and recovery efforts continued and the rebuilding (which took years, hell, the Cypress just finally reopened LAST YEAR) began, this song fit. And ever since that shaky Tuesday in October I have forever related this song to all the kind, brave, and generous souls who did their part to help rebuild the city.
“Marconi plays the Mamba, Listen to the radio, Don’t you remember? We built this city, We built this city on rock and roll!”
The next day was a Wednesday, and I woke up to find Mama Kitty sitting on the front porch as if she’d never been gone. That day after the quake, October 18, was a big day for me. It was my birthday, and I turned 11.
I have to admit that I do not have the energy to write a post on poverty, though I am very much against it, so I’m going to paste one of the best speeches ever delivered about the subject.
Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge and more.
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge — to convert our good words into good deeds in a new alliance for progress — to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support — to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective — to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request — that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course — both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.
So let us begin anew, remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah — to “undo the heavy burdens…and let the oppressed go free.”
And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” — a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
John F. Kennedy – January 20, 1961
I just had to share this slideshow I found. This is why I’m so lucky to have grown up here!! This is my hometown…
Allen took the kids to his moms and I’m sitting here in my PJ’s chillin. I’ve already cleaned the house, well picked up the house. It just feels so weird to have a quiet house… Nice though. Yesterday we had a picnic at Sunol and had a great time. It was PERFECT weather. Breezy and cool, without being cold. Bright and sunny without being hot. It felt like Spring. It was strange walking around there with my dad and the kids. My memories of playing in that creek and camping there as a kid are so vivid. The smell of sycamore and willow trees filled the spring air. Just like it was did when I was a kid. Do you ever have those moments when your life feels like it’s right where it’s supposed to be? That was yesterday. Yesterday under the sycamore trees with my dad, just like when I was a kid.
On a less spiritual note, anyone seen the movie Let’s Go To The Prison? Starring Will Arnett (30 Rock) and Dax Shepard? OK, this is teh stupidest YET funniest movie I’ve seen in a long long time. I don’t know why or how or what, but it had me laughing my ass off. If you happen to see it somewhere, watch it!
Check out my latest post on the BioLog over at JamsBio,
So Madonna ruffled some feathers this past week by kissing one her female back up dancers at a gig in Paris. That’s right, I said Madonna, lesbian kiss, and concert. No it’s not 1990, it’s not even 2003, it’s 2008. That’s right it’s 2008, and many of you may be thinking the same thing I was. Are we still supposed to be shocked when Madonna french kisses a chick? I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who Madonna could French Kiss that would leave me shocked at all actually.
I mean really, this is Madonna. She let a dog lick her “stuff” for a picture in her Sex book back in 1992, and people are talking about her French Kissing some back up dancer? That was already old news back when Truth Or Dare came out. That was 1991. Really folks, Madonna is a big old mess of controversy, sex, and mystique. She always has been, that’s why she’s Madonna.
Madonna has been making music since my early childhood, and has been in the public eye for as long as I can remember. She showed a generation of girls that we are in control of our careers, our sexuality, and our lives. Now she’s giving that lesson to another generation. A generation in their fifties. She’s living proof that women can age on their own terms. She’s also a testament that pop icons can remain relevant even 25 years into their careers.
Some say she’s too old, that Hard Candy is just an attempt at staying young. I say wrong. Hard Candy is proof that Madonna still has her thumb on the pulse of pop culture, she’s just as hot as she ever was, and she still could care less what the critics have to say.
Her tour makes a stop here in the Bay Area in November, and I’m putting money on the fact that it will be a kick ass show whether there’s French Kissing or not.