San Francisco is in a time warp. I know what you're thinking: San Franciscans still think Marx and Lenin were onto something; but that's not what I'm talking about.
At 5:12 AM on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 the Bay Area will remember the Mother of All Big Ones - the earthquake of 1906.
According to my Excel spreadsheet date calculator, 36,525 days will have gone by since that morning when the San Andreas fault hiccupped and sparked the event which spawned books, plays, musicals, mini-series and at least one Clark Gable movie.
The current problem for San Franciscans 100 years on, is the nearly constant rain - 25 of 31 days in March and 13 of the 16 days (as of this writing) so far in April - the blame for which, if you asked them, Bay Area residents would place squarely on the rain-soaked shoulders of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.
If this weather had existed in San Francisco 40 years ago, the Haight-Ashbury days of flower-power and love-ins might never have developed as the mind-altered designs of tie-dyed tee-shirts and headbands would have dripped down slacks and jeans forming LSD puddles on the sidewalks and causing proto-hippies to get jobs in stock brokerages and real estate firms.
Jerry Garcia would have done late-night infomercials for his clothing store. Janice Joplin would have been the local spokesperson for, what, a Mercedes Benz dealership?
Dear Mr. Mullings:
What are YOU on this morning?
The Association to Stop Free Associators
Ok. But that Janice-Joplin-Mercedes-Benz line is a pretty good reference if you're over the age of 50.
The 1906 earthquake (because instruments were not as exact as they are now) has been estimated as being between 7.7 and 8.3 on the various scales. According to the US Geologic Survey "it would require roughly 30 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes occurring simultaneously to equal the energy release of 1906."
It wasn't the magnitude of the earthquake but the fires generated from the broken gas lines which did a huge percentage of the damage.
According to reports, the population of San Francisco in 1906 was about 400,000. By the time the tremors and fires had subsided 28,000 homes and buildings had been destroyed and 225,000 people were homeless.