The Friends of California Libre...

12 April 2006

Respect the Earth: San Francisco Knows

Greetings, friends,
Between 13 and 25 April I'll be making my annual (and perhaps last, alas, for a while) sojourn across the Atlantic. Whee! I plan to bring two pilgrimages to an end: To spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans and then Good Friday in Sevilla, the two cities that rule those holidays, and to visit the graves of IRA "operative" Mairead Farrell in Belfast (2001), and then lay a flower where the British gunned her and her two compatriots down (in the back, 1988) in Gibraltar.

During these two weeks, the best way to reach me is via my "other" e-mail account, You are also welcome to telephone me (unless you live in Spain or are related to me, I will probably not be calling you at $1 a minute); the number is +34 (696) 51 64 70 and even incoming international calls are free to me (though not to you!) If you can't understant that number you probably should not be calling me internationally.

Next Tuesday, 18 April 1906, at 5.12 AM is the 100th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake. I am aware that we are starting to put real distance between ourselves and the 20th century; we are only 8 years from the centennial of World War I, and only 5 years from the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. As we all get older and start to lose our parents, siblings, and then each other, we are going to see the event that shaped the murky years before us, the Great Depression, World War II, and eventually even the Space Age, celebrated in 100th anniversaries. It is an awesome thought.

I hope all of you (even my friends on the West Coast, who will need to throw themselves out of bed as our neighbors did a century ago) will drink a toast to this event, which literally shook San Francisco to the ground and then burned it as an extra insult. (8.12 AM on the East Coast; 2.12 PM in Europe) However I may feel about San Francisco, it is one of the gems of California and one of the most entertaining cities in the United States. The Great Earthquake is also a stark reminder of the fate that awaits many cities in the world, including every city on the West Coast of North America. Every city has its moment of rebirth, and this Tuesday I'll be celebrating San Francisco's. If you're in the Bay Area, I'd encourage you to travel early that morning to the high cliffs above Pacifica and pick out Mussel Rock out in the ocean, the epicenter of that terrible morning.

Here are some websites that will show you what really happened that April morning:

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

This digital archive of thousands of images and texts commemorates the 100th anniversary of the April 18, 1906, San Francisco earthquake and fire. Features include an exhibit divided into thematic groups (such as before the disaster, firestorm, and reconstruction), an interactive map of the city with associated images, and a "panoramic collage of San Francisco shortly after the disaster." Presented by the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

San Francisco After the '06 Earthquake

"Images from the days after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, including stereographs and anaglyphic (3-dimensional) views" of these topics: Destruction, People, Amidst the Rubble, The Hungry, The Homeless, and Recovery. From the California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside.

Faultline: Seismic Science at the Epicenter

This 2006 exhibit looks at earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Features material on the basics of earthquake science and on damage control (prediction, engineering, and retrofitting), a timeline of major San Francisco area quakes (back to 1808), graphics and photos, activities, and links to related websites. From the Exploratorium.

1906 Earthquake Centennial

This site created for the 100-year anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire features animated ground motion simulation maps, earthquake intensity maps, computer animations of some San Francisco landmarks (such as the Golden Gate Bridge) shaking in a repeat of the 1906 earthquake, and current maps and information about the San Andreas and Hayward earthquake faults. Includes links to related sites. From the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Panorama Photograph History Project

"Large panorama photograph of San Francisco on April 22, 1906," which was commissioned by the California Insurance Company, the only insurance company "to cover losses from the earthquake, even though it was not obligated to." Includes the image with and without identification labels and links. Also includes material about the provenance of this print of the photo.

1906 Earthquake Refugee Shacks

Details about the history and current condition of small cottages built in western San Francisco to house refugees following the 1906 earthquake and fire. "Of 5,610 shacks built in 1906-1907 only 27 remain." Includes historic photos, addresses for shacks still in existence, and images and additional material for selected homes. From the Western Neighborhoods Project, "a nonprofit organization formed to preserve and share the history and culture of the neighborhoods in western San Francisco."

Guided by History: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire: Remember and Prepare

This blog from Wells Fargo Bank looks at a variety of topics related to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, including local commemorative events in 2006, disaster preparedness resources, and glimpses into the Wells Fargo historical archives. Includes links to sites related to preparedness, remembrance (including online and museum exhibits), and participation and volunteering.

You real disaster buffs might also want to celebrate
April 14, this Friday, the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic:

And finally, courtesy of Dave's mom via Ronna, it's the Californian 20 Questions (PS, I'm working on a rebuttal about Wisconsin, but I've only thought of two questions so far):
> So as not to be outdone by all the redneck, hillbilly, and Texan jokes, you know you're from California if:
> 1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
> 2. You make over $300,000 and still can't afford a house.
> 3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
> 4. Your child's 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Flower.
> 5. You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?
> 6. You've been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
> 7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.
> 8. You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?
> 9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.
> 10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
> 11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.
> 12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
> 13. You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?
> 14. It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station: "STORM WATCH."
> 15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cells or pagers.
> 16. It's barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
> 17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????
> 18. Both you AND your dog have therapists.
> 19. The Terminator is your governor.
> 20. If you drive legally, they take your driver's license. If you're here illegally, they want to give you one.

Hasta luego, and vive le screed!

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