Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Good god, almighty. That was startling. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.9 magnitude EARTHQUAKE at 1:51 p.m., centered northwest of Richmond, Va., which was felt all the way to New York, into Ontario and over to Ohio. Apparently, a 5.3 magnitude tremor also shook Colorado.

Amazingly, I felt the damn thing sitting here in my home office. My desk suddenly started trembling on its less-than-robust front legs, while a painting above me lightly swung back and forth. I also have drapes in the window beside me with beads on them, which began clacking, as if a fan was blowing on them.

I stood up, thinking that with the ongoing construction on my apartment building, some sort of intensive drilling was taking place in the brick and mortar.

Apparently, the nimrods in Washington evacuated the Pentagon and White House (okay, okay, who can help but think of 9/11's 10th anniversary, just weeks away), while NYC flights were halted as runways were checked for damage. The Washington Post reported that a tip of the National Cathedral spire in Washington broke off, while the Washington Monument sustained a crack near the top(!).

The U.S. Geological Survey's Marcia McNutt warned that further aftershocks may be felt—or even better, this may be a "foreshock" to something more substantial.

I spoke to my parents in Lynchburg, Va., who said they were at the grocery store at the time, and folks were talking about all of the wine bottles shaking on the shelf. That would have been a real natural disaster.