Day One of NANOWRIMO: So far, so good. I wrote 1735 words today in about 3 hours. I fiddled around with trying to format a Word document for almost an hour, so writing that many words in about two hours is a good start. The hardest thing for me was to resist the urge to edit as I wrote. I fixed a few obviously clunky spots, but managed to avoid the “big picture” edits for today. I’ll try to post a NANOWRIMO update once a week with some observations from the trenches.
I took the liberty of cutting and pasting this thought provoking post from Dale Connelly’s Trail Baboon Blog (note to Dale: If you see this and want me to ask permission to reprint this, let me know and I’ll take it down until you decide), a fine blog and one I read every day because Dale and I (and dozens of his loyal fans from his most recent past life) go back more than 25 years. His question inspired an answer from me that came rushing out of my fingers onto the keyboard Tuesday morning, and I thought I’d share that answer with my readers. It’s posted at the end of Dale’s blog post.
Where is Superman?
We all hope the damage to people and property from Hurricane Sandy will be less catastrophic than the advance billing. Daylight today will tell a large part of the story.
photo by Jonathan Wald via twitter
One of the most dramatic storm related developments late yesterday was the partial collapse of a construction crane atop a high rise building just south of Central Park. Footage showed the crane hanging precariously as winds picked up. Authorities evacuated the surrounding area as a precaution, afraid the crane might fall.
This is all we can do. Conditions are too severe to attempt to secure the massive structure. Safely lowering it to the ground in the midst of a hurricane is impossible. Danger is imminent. We are helpless to do anything but watch.
This is exactly the scenario I read about time and again in the comic books of my youth. And always in the next panel, one of the streetbound gawkers would say … “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane …”
Yes, this situation is classic Superman-bait. I daresay if he were real, Clark Kent would not be able to resist this one. The only thing that would make it more attractive to him would be if Lois Lane had climbed up there to take a picture of the calamity, and had somehow managed to get tangled up in a free-swinging cable whipping in the 80 mph wind.
Could we be having a monster hurricane, Halloween, a global alien invasion AND an election all at once? Not likely in the real world perhaps. But in the comic books this is just an ordinary day.
Why hasn’t Superman appeared?
You lobbed a softball at me today, Dale.
Superman won’t show up for several reasons, mainly, he’d be regulated to death. Think of it. He’d have to be registered with the FAA, file a flight plan every time he zips from one place to another at an altitude higher than about ten feet. Then the FDA would jump all over him about steroid use, EPO, blood doping, etc., etc., etc.
Of course the Consumer Product Safety Commission would require that he submit his cape to them for testing to make sure it’s flame retardant. His X-ray vision would be regulated by the World Health Organization to insure that no person accidentally got in his field of vision and received a dose of radiation higher than currently acceptable.
So let’s say he hires a bunch of lawyers, accountants, and assistants who take care of all this and he actually zooms to NYC to safely dismantle the dangling crane. First of all, Mayor Bloomberg and the Police Chief will insist on a briefing and want a thorough plan of action outlined so they can deploy the Police and Fire to secure the perimeter.
Of course Governor Cuomo will want a photo op, so he’ll horn in on the discussions and probably call in the National Guard, because that’s the knee jerk reaction to any disaster bigger than a hangnail. Most of the Guard will stand around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes with the police and fire guys, but whenever a news reporter or photographer happens by, they’ll hoist their weapons, put walkie-talkies to their mouths, and gaze up in the sky (ostensibly at the crane, but most of them will be five miles away) so they appear to be doing something.
Not to be outdone, FEMA will barge in saying, “Wait a damn second! New York City is part of the United States of America, so we insist that this catastrophe be overseen by us.” A plane load of FEMAnists get special permission to land at La Guardia while Hurricane Sandy is making landfall. They fan out across NYC, handing out bottles of water (commandeered from Walmart, no doubt), and arrange for 10,000 mobile homes to be brought to staging areas in Newark, NJ, “just in case.”
Then everyone sets up a command center in the bowels of the city (I think they lease this space from Lex Luthor), and stand around in a room full of computers and phones looking important.
Finally, Pres. Obama comes on national TV, asks for a mass national group hug for Superman laden with 300 million individual thoughts and prayers, whips out a Certificate of Appreciation, and presents it to him for one final photo-op–in prime time, of course, preempting American Idol and Jersey Shore (let’s not forget the Kardashians, either!)
Superman, upon seeing all this, decides, “Screw it! I got no time for this BS. Let the damn crane fall. I’m going to back to the Fortress of Solitude, maybe invite Santa Claus over for a six-pack and a pizza, and watch old movies on Turner Classic Movies.”
Minutes too late because he was fixing his hair, Donald Trump rushes into the joint press conference with the Prez , Cuomo, and Bloomberg when they are about to declare a state of national emergency because the crane has finally collapsed and caused Manhattan to implode, commandeers the microphone and screams, “Get Superman’s birth certificate! Get Superman’s birth certificate!”