Thursday, December 3, 2015

Shelter in place

It's happened again, which is no real surprise.

It happened twice yesterday morning - the media didn't latch on to the mass murder in Savannah, Georgia. Only four were shot there, with only one death. Such events aren't really news anymore.
The US is currently averaging one mass shooting per day.

In all of the news stories, whenever the situation hasn't been 'resolved', mention is made that workers/residents/shoppers were told to "shelter in place". It's an awful phrase. What message does that phrase send, I wonder? It implies that the war (any war, any killing, any major storm, any threat) is all around us, it can reach anywhere; take refuge, hunker down, hide, stay out of the way, the evil lurks without even while it is within. The battles around us rage on.

The phrase even has its own entry in Wikipedia. It is an official SAME warning. The acronym means Specific Area Message Encoding. To be honest, it never occurred to me that if bullets were flying, police sirens wailing, bright bluewhitered lights flashing, and etc. that one would need to be told to get out of the way.

Perhaps the message that is being sent is really one of preparation: The war is coming to a theater, home, small town, anytown, everytown near you. Get used to seeing the flack jackets, the camofashion protective suit, the guns, always more guns, the vans, the flashing lights. You'll be seeing a lot more of them. As soon as they become normal, accepted, the tanks will roll up. Will they be there to protect us, or will they be there to protect property - wealth? Will they be coming for us? They will know where to find us - sheltered in place.

Meanwhile, a message flashes across my computer screen - the stock market has opened higher.

The build up of anxiety is almost overwhelming. How will things be straightened out? A superhero - we need a superhero. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade had a new balloon - a bonafide superhero, introduced a year before in the comic books, earlier that year on the radio.
The year was 1940, the war was 'over there'. We'd been through a great economic depression, which was still lingering about. With Thanksgiving falling at the end of the month, thereby creating a short holiday shopping season, a plan was hatched to move the holiday ahead by one week to give the merchants more time to make money. It was considered unseemly to start such sales before Thanksgiving. President Roosevelt agreed. For three years, from 1939 through 1941, Thanksgiving was moved a week earlier. Many did not agree with the idea. The Republican Governor of  Vermont was a Progressive - and even he wasn't having any of it, nor were many of the states. So while Federal employees, many liberals and Democrats celebrated on the third Thursday, State workers, conservatives, and Republicans celebrated on the fourth. As one column in the newspaper noted, the kids loved asking if one was celebrating "Franks, or Thanks?"






The entire second feature which starts on Thursday.... 



The Tuesday night before that traditional Thanksgiving  in 1940, there was broadcast from the new Palladium Ballroom in Los Angeles. It's dance floor could hold 4,000 but on opening night a month before over 10,000 had crowded in to dance to the music of that Sentimental Gentleman of Swing, Tommy Dorsey. Dorsey's girl singer, Connie Haines, was pretty good - but he had a hot new boy singer being backed up by the Pied Pipers, some kid named Frank. The broadcast was on at 11pm on the East Coast - the doors had just opened on the West Coast where it was 8pm and the evening was just getting underway. My radio show last Saturday listened in to that November when the war was overseas.

 As always, I hope any one who listens in enjoys the show.