Rich Galen

From Los Gatos, California

* From the San Jose Mercury News:

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake centered near Alum Rock in San Jose struck at 8:04 tonight.

* Well, guess who was sitting at dinner at 8:04 pm and felt, as the song goes, "the earth move under my feet?"

* Me. That's who.

* When you hear, read, or see a news story about an earthquake you think about Japanese people jumping under tables while tins of shark fin soup come tumbling off the shelves in the background.

* I am not that experienced in dealing with earthquakes. Or shark fin soup.

* Everyone who grew up on Long Island and has been through an earthquake, raise hands.

* No one? What a surprise! Wanna know why? It's because we don't have earthquakes on Long Island.

* Gang wars? We got. Mafia activities? Enough to start a new HBO series. Jets and Mets fans? We got by the thousands. Earthquakes? We got none.

* A bunch of the staff of the Fred Thompson for President campaign were sitting at dinner when it felt like a subway train (they don't have subways in Los Gatos, I don't think) came rumbling under the restaurant.

* The younger, more delicate flowers with whom I was eating sat stock still with their eyes wide.

* "Earthquake," I said calmly, being older, wiser, and pretty sure there are no subways in Los Gatos.

* According to my mapping program, Los Gatos is about 14 miles from the epicenter of this earthquake which was at Alum Rock, California.

* While it was called a "moderate" earthquake by people who were not in it, I am here to tell you that the chandelier over our heads did not stop swinging for a good 5 - 6 seconds after the rumbling stopped. My glass of Pinot Noir didn't stop sloshing around for another 2.3 to 2.5 seconds.

* The reality is: I didn't see any cattle heading for shelter, nor any household pets running under the living room furniture just before I took a bite of my pasta and shrimp entrée.

* No bridges collapsed, no houses fell down, and no freeways pancaked.

* It was, actually, pretty cool, but it did remind me that it was one more reason why I have no desire to live in California.

New Topic

* The Democrats had another in the never-ending series of debates last night, this time hosted by MSNBC at Drexel University in Philadelphia which, when we were kids, we called "Dreck Tech" although I don't now remember why we thought that was funny.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at