Friday, January 13, 2006

Look out! Earthquake in Northeast Ohio!

Earthquakes only happen on the west coast not in Ohio, right? Not so. In fact, Ohio sits on several faultlines and other deep structures that have the potential to cause seismic activity. Ohio is also on the periphery of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area in Missouri and surrounding states that was the site of the largest earthquake sequence to occur in historical times in the contnguous US. Many scientists say that its only a matter of time before a major earthquake occurs in the middle of the country!

On January 13, 2006, a small earthquake was reported in Eastlake, Ohio with a 2.4 magnitude. This is equivalent to 4.6 tons of TNT compare this with the 9.0 quake that caused the tsunami which was equivalent to 32 billion tons of TNT! While these quakes are no where near the severity of the west coast quakes, they are still felt and in some cases, can still do some damage. Over the last 2 months, 4 earthquakes have been reported in the snowbelt areas of Northeastern Ohio alone!

The Ohio Seismic Network is responsible for recording the state's earthquake activity. Since 1999, the 25 station network has recorded 31 events that most of us didn't even feel or hear about.

Maybe you remember the quake back in 1986. That earthquake registered a magnitude 5.0 or 1000 times more powerful than the quake on January 13th! Amazingly, 13 aftershocks occurred over the following 2 months. It ended up being the most studied quake in the history of Ohio quakes.

Therefore, if you feel a rumble sometime, it might be a truck driving by or thunder. But there is always the slim chance that it could be the earth quakes beneath you!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Baby Boomers and Technology...Not the Best Match!

If you have parents or grandparents that have embraced the technological revolution that's been going on since the early 1990s, consider yourself one of the luck ones. More often than not, the baby boomer generation of which our parents are charter members aren't considered the most computer savvy group.

How many of us twenty or thirty-something adults have parents who have discovered the power of email within the last 3 years? Just when our colleagues and friends who have had an email account since 1992, finally grew out of the "forwarding-goofy-emails-with-attachments" phase, now our parents, great aunts and geriatric grandfathers are getting into the mix.

Don't get me wrong. I love my parents and relatives. They are responsible for molding the great person I am today and for that I am eternally grateful. But sending emails with "funny" attachments buried inside attachments which are buried inside yet another attachment isn't the cool thing to do anymore. If anything, it’s real cheesy and reaffirms the fact that the sender behind the forwarded email is six years behind the "internet 8-ball"! In effect, the sender is telling the recipient, "This new internet thing is the best! I wish email was around 10 years ago." Not real smooth.

Here is my solution to the problem:

Anyone over the age of 45 who has not emailed someone or used the internet for more than 10 hours in his or her lifetime should be given pass codes allowing them temporary access to the internet and email. (If you are between the ages of 18 and 45 and you still send them, then you should not be allowed to use a computer. Period.) The pass code activates a monitor which tracks their progress in learning the ins-and-outs and dos and don'ts of the World Wide Web. The monitor would allow only a set number of email faux paux by the user. If they send an email with one of those "funny" email attachments then a buzzer goes off notifying them of their transgression. If they exceed the preset number of email "no-nos" then a computer voice tells them,

"You have exceeded the acceptable number of email etiquette violations. The computer will now shutdown."

The user would need to wait a predetermined amount of time before attempting to send an email... say around 3 days. This would give the user ample time to reflect on their emailing infraction so as not to do it again.

Simple enough...but alas this will never happen.

We all have freedoms and these freedoms also encompass the internet and the computer illiterate individuals who use them. So, in all practicality, the best we can hope for is for all of us veterans of internet communication to get the word out to our parents and relatives reminding them that the act of emailing someone isn't "cool" anymore. It’s now a fact of life and mainstream, kind of like electricity.

So go get them an I-Pod or have them pod cast their messages. Now that would indeed be cutting least for another year or two!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

...All In The Eyes Of The Beholder

...All In The Eyes Of The Beholder

At the start of the new year, Frank Jackson was sworn in as the 56th Mayor of Cleveland. Everyone is intrigued about the prospects for change in the economic and education sector of our fair city during the new mayor's tenure. That's well and good but I'm more pumped up about a more eye-catching headline that, in my opinion, is more universal than simple economics. This is where the legendary star of stage and screen actor Victor French (deceased) comes into the picture.

Several weeks prior to the election in November of 2005, the soon-to-be mayor was giving a press conference. As I watched, the puzzled look on my face became more and more apparent. Soon, a co-worker asked,

"Is anything the matter?"

To which I replied, "Is it me or does Frank Jackson look a lot like Victor French?"

* The picture is black and white and a bit grainy but it works *

Upon hearing my comparison, my co-worker suddenly wore the same puzzled look only his was not the result of the press conference footage but a reaction to my unorthodox observation. Although he didn't actually say it, his look was the verbal equivalent of, "Are you from this planet?" Unphased by my co-workers neutral interest, I explored their uncanny resemblance further.

Obviously, my co-worker was lacking the proper television/pop-cultural knowledge necessary to understand the nature and scope of what I had noticed. To the uneducated eye, their mirror image lies hidden inside the frames of video. But to myself, the resemblance was an epiphany. Call it fate or destiny but I soon realized I was put in front of that TV during that press conference for one reason and that was to identify who--between Victor French and Frank Jackson--was the "Man's Man".

For the longest time, I've been a huge Victor French fan so I could not do him a disservice by conceding the "Man's Man" Title to the new mayor without a test of strength. Therefore, a simple comparison of both men utilizing five criteria--my arbitrary set of criteria albeit somewhat slanted toward my tastes--was the only fair way to see who was the "Man's Man". There could be only one.

1. Speak ability - Mayor Jackson doesn't have the best pipes in the world but his voice is slow, methodical and very succinct in the times that I've heard him. Mr. French had a raspy, rugged voice no doubt from years of smoking. Let me make this clear, I don't condone smoking to increase ones ability to sound rugged. However, Mr. French--more than likely unintentionally--pulled this off wonderfully. The question isn't who is/had a healthier lifestyle; the question is who is manlier. The advantage goes to Victor French.

2. Height/Stature - Yes, there have been some manly men who have been short (like Chuck Norris: 5'9") but not many. For the purposes of this comparison, the combination of ones height and stature will be taken into account.

While there are no official listings of Victor French's height, I did find a picture of him standing next to Michael Landon who is listed on the internet movie database as 5' 9 1/2". Victor looks to be about 4 inches taller. So using inductive reasoning, we'll give Mr. French a height of 6' 1 1/2" or round up to 6'2" with a weight of around 230. Check him out in a rerun of Highway to Heaven. Victor is deceased so he can't really argue.

Last week, Mayor Jackson was a guest at my place of employment. I saw him stand next to a buddy of mine who is 5'10" and he seemed a few inches taller. Based on my observation, I'm going with a height of 6 feet for the new mayor. His is in good shape so his weight can't be more than 200 lbs (maybe 210 but no more). Again, for our comparisons, its physical stature not weight. So the nod once again goes to the deceased Victor French.

3. Occupation - A job is a job is a job. It’s a means by which to pay the bills and put food on the table. Some occupations are nobler than others which brings us to Mayor Frank. He is a lawyer, a former city councilman and is now mayor of the 15th largest television market in the country. Victor French was a superb actor and director in theater and television work. I'm not saying that Victor French wasn't smart but in order to get your law degree, you need a lot of schooling. It sounds biased but that the way it is. Moreover, Victor is no longer with us so he technically has no occupation so we have to give the advantage to Mayor Frank.

4. Hair - Wow. This one is tough. Both men have solid, healthy heads of hair from what I can see. Victor's hair had a slight disheveled look which gives the impression that he didn't care about it. Mayor Frank's hair is full of body, well managed and not one follicle is out of place. Advantage by a landslide: Mayor Jackson.

So far, it’s tied at 2 apiece.

5. Beard - Another very tough call. Being a man's man requires that you be able to grow a full beard in 15 days or less with no significant negative zones. That is a beard with dead areas in awkward places. You must also keep said beard for a period of 6 months as well as keep it well-groomed. Victor French no doubt has the most rugged beard. It’s the beard of a working man. Nothing wrong with that. Mayor Jackson's is a beard veteran. It’s not only rugged but it’s very well managed with no negative zones, its well-trimmed and is probably very fluffy. The facial hair--beard--criterion goes to Mayor Frank!

Now, what did this exercise achieve? It showed that a man's beard is the telling characteristic if he is manly. In this comparison between the late, great Victor French and the new mayor of Cleveland Frank Jackson, the "Man's Man" title--to my dismay-- goes to Mayor Frank Jackson by the slimmest of margins.