February 20th, 2005


(no subject)

As some of you know, I'm a bit of a broadcasting buff. I'm interested in anything having to do with history of television and radio. One particular area of interest is the Emergency Broadcast System, which (as it is explained here) was instituted by President Kennedy in 1963 so that the President would have a way of talking to the country in the event of an emergency (e.g. the onset of thermnuclear war). As it turned out, about the only contact that most of us had with it was the weekly test. If you say "This is a test" to nearly anyone over the age of thirty, they'll be able to recite the whole script, complete with the attention signal (which I have recreated here for the benefit of those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, or those of you who are suddenly hit with a certain binge of nostalgia).

After a while, the whole thing started to be a bit of a joke. I can remember hearing this version one afternoon, and found this version for WHEN in Syracuse, NY (wonder if the Independent Rainbow Community knows about it?) in a couple of places. (Both of these clips come from reelradio.com. My link takes you to the page that the clip is on; all you have to do is click on the appropriate hypertext. Visit their site when you have a lot of time. It's a riot.) None of these versions were legal, of course, but after a while, most people treated it as a joke anyway.

Now, why am I boring you with all of this right now? Well, because today is a significant date in history.

The responsibility for testing the AP and UPI Teletypes (which was how most radio stations got their news feeds) fell to the National Warning Center in Colorado Springs, CO. Every Saturday at 9:30 AM ET they would send a test message across the wires. Thirty four years ago today, they sent the WRONG MESSAGE, and scared the hell out of people, especially those at radio and TV stations. (You can see the message here, although this site reports it as having happened on February 21, 1971). What's even scarier in retrospect was that most stations figured, "ah, it's just the weekly test. Let's not worry about it." It kind of sounded like that old Robert Klein bit about the air raid sirens ("Let's attack at noon, Ivan, the Americans will think it's lunch!").

Hope you found this interesting.

Hmmm...what branch of the service was in charge of NORAD, anyway? :)

Later Edit: Lots of cool EBS stuff here.

(no subject)

Most of you are not going to understand what follows. Bear with me.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned...I pulled a fast one on my co-writer again.

The other day, I was complaining about a story that I've been cowriting for the Ghostletters mailing list, of which I am the proud moderator. If you hazarded a look behind the cut tag, you would have seen that my complaint was that I was doing most of the writing, and said co-writer would toss in half a line and send it back to me. Well, last night, I got tired of it, and threw the story in an entirely different direction on her, and blithely asked her to deal with it. Ain't I a stinker?

Of course, many of you know that this wasn't the first time that I've done this. For example, lourdesmont was shocked to learn that the woman with whom she was fixing up Jack O'Brian had also been in the Navy, and had nearly had the poor bastard thrown in the brig for comments about her anatomy. anderyn, whose Val was married to my Mary Cecelia, had to deal with her capricious behavior, not to mention the fact that she walked out on him at New Year's, which took everyone by surprise. I'm sure that I've done one or two things to majkia as Mary Cecelia dated her Julian, or as Lana Dean has coped with Maximus, Trevor, and Matt, but I can't recall what they were right now.

My two favorites, though, were (a) nearly having Jack O'Brian expire in the arms of Denver Gotobed and (b) throwing Flan down the back stairs at St. Patrick's to keep from having to relocate him to The Refuge.

siliconshaman got me back, though...he threw my story of Mary Cecelia dealing with her high school nemesis into complete and utter chaos. And did a pretty damned good job of it, too, I have to say.

(no subject)

I have to be up at the crack of dark tomorrow to fly to Indianapolis (via Chicago) so that I can meet with the client at 3 PM. My flight leaves at 7:35 AM, which means I have to be out of here by 5:30 AM at the latest. Whoopee!

Better go pack and get everything in the car. I'm not sure that I'm going to have Internet access from where I'm going to be, so if you don't hear from me for a while, assume that you'll hear from me sometime Wednesday.