Danger, Will Robinson!

A strategic goal of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) goes as follows: Protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace. Unfair and deceptive practices seem to be the strategic goals of several other organizations out there, so I’m glad the FTC seeks to “protect” me. For example, they held a competition called the “Robocall Challenge”, looking for solutions to reduce those pesky and sometimes illegal phone calls we all receive. The competition winners – two software programs designed to intercept and divert – split the $50,000 first prize. The problem? The Challenge was conducted over five years ago, yet robocalls are more rampant than ever today.

courtesy of nbcconnecticut.com

The telemarketing calls of old seem quaint compared to the lifeless computer-generated voices of the last several years. Used to be, you’d answer the phone to a real voice; a sunny greeting in oft-broken English or heavy accent. The caller would say, “Yes, is this David Wilson, please?” or, “Hello Mr. Wilson, how are you doing today?” Who do you know who starts a phone conversation with wording like that? (Even better, when they’re looking for my wife Brigid – pronounced with a soft “g” – they mangle her name in ways I’ve never heard before.)

At least the old telemarketers sold you products or services too good to be true (“Congratulations – you’ve won a seven-day Hawaiian cruise!”), and at least they were human. Today’s robocalls are scams disguised as threats. Pay this tax bill immediately or the IRS will break down your door and haul you off to prison. Upgrade your Microsoft operating system now because your warranty’s about to expire. Buy this health insurance plan because yours doesn’t cover anything. I might listen to these pitches if they came from a real person, but the synthesized voice of a robocall triggers the involuntary reflex “hang up”.

courtesy of cio.com

For me, the most effective solution to robocalls is simply not answering in the first place. If the Caller ID doesn’t convince me it’s a real call, I let it go to voice mail. Sure, my provider offers a call-blocking service, but they charge a fee. Why would I pay good money to manage a situation I didn’t ask for in the first place? The same goes for the better call-blocking applications out there. They’ll make them go away, but it’s gonna cost you.

By the way, not answering in the first place also stops robocall breeding. Just by picking up the receiver or hitting “Answer”, you’ve identified yourself as a number that works, which means the robocall provider sells your number to other providers, and that means more robocalls. Picking up the phone is why Americans received 16.3 billion robocalls in 2018… and that was just January-May.

courtesy of komando.com

Robocalls are a nuisance – sure, but at least they’re not threats to the human race itself. That prospect turns my dreams into nightmares every so often. Whether vast supercomputers, unfeeling combat robots, or microscopic drones, you have to admit – we’re on the precipice of technologies just itching to get beyond our control. Fiction does a great job exploring the possibilities. Read Michael Crichton’s “Prey” (self-replicating nanotechnology), Daniel H. Wilson’s “Robot Uprisings” (just what the title suggests), or simply watch the brilliant 2014 film, “Ex Machina”. The final scene – when Ava walks confidently into the public domain and the credits roll – is perhaps the most chilling moment of the entire movie.

courtesy of IMDB.com

As if to mock this post, my brother-in-law – visiting here at the house as I speak – just received a call on his mobile phone. Another robocall, and probably another scam disguised as a threat. Maybe the call wasn’t by accident, but rather a triggered response from a nanobot keeping an eye on my keystrokes. A subtle message, as if to say: we’re here and we’re watching. Sure, I can plead “no-mo-robo” (which is also the name of a call-blocking company), but I know the robots are only growing in numbers. Better make room then – another highly-intelligent species is quietly joining the party here on Earth.

Dusting Off Dumbo

In March, Disney will release a remake of the children’s classic “Dumbo”, almost eighty years after the original. An intriguing story (Tim Burton directs), and the wonders of computer animation suggest the new version will be pretty good; standing on its own the way Jim Carrey managed with his version of the Grinch. “Mary Poppins” also Returns next week after a fifty-year absence. Emily Blunt looks supercalifragilistic in the previews, but with all due respect, there’s only one Mary Poppins and her name is Julie Andrews (there is also only one Maria Von Trapp and her name is also Julie Andrews).

Movie remakes are blog-worthy, but that’s not my mission today.  I’m here to talk about Dumbo.  Even though his modern-day movie doesn’t come out for a few more months, you’ll find him at any one of the six Disney parks.  He’ll fly you in dizzy circles with his big ears and colorful cap; as happy an elephant as he’s ever been.  But on closer inspection, you may find your Dumbo needs a little dusting off.  That grey may be his (plastic) skin perhaps, but – brace yourself – it may also be the scattered remains of deceased Disney devotees. Apparently some souls choose to be interred in an urn known as The Happiest Place On Earth.

Okay, I know some of you were anticipating a jolly-holiday post this time of year, with visions of chestnuts roasting on an open fire (“pop! pop! pop!”) or a “Baby It’s Cold Outside” fire (romantic embers) but sorry; today we’re talking about a cremation fire.  Doesn’t the topic make you just a little curious?  Did you know for instance, we humans spread our ashes (or I should say, have our ashes spread) at sea, in woodland groves, into volcanoes, over sports stadiums and on golf courses, and yes – all over the Disney parks, but “at sea” is the only legal option on the list?  Or, did you know, if you spread an entire urn’s worth, you’re talking about five pounds of ashes?  Not exactly a spoonful of sugar, Mary.

I never knew Disney had this sort of problem in its parks (although at The Happiest Places On Earth, there are no “problems”).  Scattered ashes are reported at least once a month.  Disney handles these incidents the way they do other “real-world” stuff: with complete discretion.  First, an employee notices said “pixie dust” (maybe with help from Tinker Bell?).  Then a “HEPA” text – high-efficiency particulate air – is sent to maintenance, because that’s the kind of vacuum you’re gonna need.  Then the ride or area of the park is closed off and the deceased is sucked up “spit-spot”.  You can almost see the maintenance guy whistling while he works.

HEPA vac

Scattering ashes (other than at-sea) is a misdemeanor, but in true Disney fashion no charges are pressed if you’re caught.  Instead, your mouse ears are removed and you’re escorted out the nearest gates, back to the real world.  Any patrons inconvenienced by your actions get reimbursed with a Fast Pass or a store voucher.  Having said that, plan on a few extra minutes getting screened at the entry gates.  Besides knives, bombs, and alcohol, they’re looking for urns.  Or, in the backpacks of the more determined: plastic pill bottles and makeup compacts.

Disney’s Dumbo ride is a common place to scatter ashes (specifically, the moat under the flying elephants), as is Cinderella’s Castle (flowerbeds) and It’s A Small World (anywhere near the delirious singing dolls) but where do most scatterings take place?  Why, the Haunted Mansion of course.  It’s the only truly morbid location at Disney.  As your “ghost host” says over and over, “we have 999 happy haunts here, but there’s room for 1,000 – any volunteers?”  I guess some people take their ghost host seriously.

On a related topic, several years ago Disney sold personalized hexagonal pavers at its Florida park.  You could put anything you wanted on the tiles, except the words “In Memory Of…” Why?  Disney didn’t want people to have death on their minds at The Happiest Place On Earth.  As Mary Poppins would say, they’re just trying to be practically perfect in every way.  But clearly, some people have death on their minds anyway.  Or at least, ashes in their backpacks.

Some content sourced from the Wall Street Journal article, “Disney World’s Big Secret…”.

Rumble in the Jungle

Last Friday, a Miami prep school put on a senior prom.  The party included the usual accoutrements: decorated tables surrounding a darkened dance floor, strobe lights sweeping in rhythm to the blaring music, and the students themselves, dressed in never-be-seen-in-again styles and colors.  The theme (there’s always a theme at prom) was “Welcome to the Jungle”, played out through the room’s exotic backdrops and fabricated trees.  Somewhere during the festivities, a pair of fire-eaters put on a show.  And eying everything that moved, from a cage at the edge of the dance floor?  One extremely agitated, very-much-alive, time-for-dinner, full-grown Bengal tiger.

    

I had to watch the video (here) to believe the headline, but yes, snopes.com – true story.  A tiger went to prom.  Judging from the size of the cage and the attitude of the animal, it’s no wonder the authorities were all over this one, from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to PETA.  The students – er, administrators – will “have some ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy”.  For starters, where the heck did Principal Pugh find a Bengal tiger for rent?  And then, did Pugh and his staff really think students would want to see said tiger up close and personal? My date wouldn’t have been impressed as I peed in my tuxedo pants.

Prom wasn’t always this way.  Once upon a time it was entertainment enough to simply go to a high school gathering off high school grounds.  Prom was more about the one time you got to borrow Dad’s fancy car; the one time you could be at one of your town’s finer hotels as a minor; the one time you could stay out past curfew (oops; discovered that last one wasn’t actually true after the fact).  Prom was simply dinner and a dance; 95% perspiration and 100% awkward moments.

I can’t remember how I asked my date to prom.  These days, the asking is an event all of its own.  “Promposals” – as the ladies now expect – are supposed to be “creative, elaborate, and over-the-top” invites.  A Breaking Bad fan convinced Bryan Cranston to film a promposal for his date.  Another guy changed his name and photo in his date’s cell phone, so when he called her, the promposal popped up on the screen.  Yet another had a pizza delivered to his date’s house, with “PROM?” spelled out in pepperoni.  A phone call just isn’t enough to get a “yes” anymore.

Proms go back a long way; well over a hundred years.  Proms were originally deemed “times of firsts”, as in first “adult” social event for a teenager, first time taking the car out after dark, first real dress-up affair, first ride in a limo, first formal photo with a date, and so on.  Today, firsts happen a lot sooner, don’t they?  Maybe that’s why we add tigers and fire-eaters to quicken the pulse.  Or hold our prom in the East Room of the White House, as Susan Ford (daughter of the late President) did alongside her Holton-Arms classmates in 1975.

Photo courtesy of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Here’s a bit of prom trivia: the word is short for promenade.  Promenade means “a stroll or a walk, especially in a public place, as for pleasure or display”.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Further, promenade comes from the Latin word prominare, which means “to drive (animals) onward, with shouts”.  With a nod to Miami – makes sense, doesn’t it?

(Note: PROM also stands for “programmable read-only memory”; a form of computing memory where the setting of each bit is locked.  Makes me think of teenage hormones, especially at prom.  Locked/loaded – nothing you can do to change any of the settings.)

Not to rain on this parade – er, promenade – but every time I think of prom I can’t help but think of the movie “Carrie” – the original version of course, with Sissy Spacek.  Still terrifying after all these years (and I can still hear her mother’s haunting scream, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!!!”).  At least now I’ll just have nightmares about hungry tigers.

Venus and Her Deadly Sisters

Let’s begin with a quiz. Name a movie you’ve seen – any movie – where long after the fact you wished you’d never watched it. Not because it was a bad movie or a boring movie; rather because it left you with brain-burned images you’ll carry to the grave. I’ll give you a “pause” so you can come up with a movie.

[pause]

My own regret-I-saw-them movies are the following three: Fiend Without a Face (from the wonderful television series “Creature Features”, when I was a young and impressionable teenager), Deliverance, and Saving Private Ryan. If you haven’t seen those films, read the web synopses to understand where I’m coming from. Trust me; it’s safer than watching.

Recently, I’ve decided to add a fourth movie to my list: 2005’s War of the Worlds. Why recently? Because my wife decided to go all green-thumb on me in the last couple of weeks. She went to Home Depot and Lowe’s and purchased several plants for our recently remodeled home. She even ordered a few growee’s on-line (didn’t know you could do that).  We have quite the conservatory now, from potted palms to fruit-bearing minis to fresh herbs. But the real reason for my fourth movie sits quietly on the kitchen window sill: three Venus Flytraps.

Venus Flytraps fall into the category of “carnivorous plants”; which, from an insect’s perspective, is entirely accurate.  The organic mechanism of the Venus – called a “snap trap”, is frighteningly sophisticated.  Pairs of hinged leaves lay open at the ends of delicate stalks, secreting a sweet smell to attract the bug.  Once said bug steps on said leaves, hair-triggers activate a rapid closure, forming a capsule.  The more the bug moves, the more the capsule hermetically seals, forming a “stomach” to allow digestion over the next one to two weeks.  The capture itself takes less than a second.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with our own Flytraps.  Venus #1 is still digesting the bug I placed on her leaves a week ago.

Besides the “snap”, carnivorous plants include four other delightful trapping mechanisms.  “Pitfall” traps, as in pitcher plants, collect prey in a rolled-leaf container complete with a deep pool of digestive enzymes.  “Flypaper” traps, as in sundews, utilize a glue-like substance all over their leaves to trap and starve their victims before digesting them.  “Bladder” traps, as in bladderworts, create a vacuum inside a cavity sealed by a hinged door (I did say sophisticated, didn’t I?)  Bladderwort victims trigger a surface hair and are literally sucked into the bladder, to be quickly digested.  Finally, “Lobster-pot” traps, as in corkscrew plants, remind me of the Eagles’ Hotel California: thanks to their inward-pointing bristles, “you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave”.

pitcher plant
tropical pitcher

Like my regret-I-saw-them movies, research on carnivorous plants should’ve stopped with the trapping mechanisms.  Unfortunately, I kept reading and there’s more.  Creature Features take note – these little guys are evolving.  Pitcher plants used to get flooded by rain (compromising the digestion process), so they developed a flared leaflet to cover the opening.  Sundews developed tentacles, which along with the flypaper help to trap their victims.  Even more disturbing, larger sundews developed a symbiosis with a species of assassin bug.  The bug eats the trapped insects while the sundew subsists off the insect feces (team effort!)  Finally, some versions of monkey cups (which contain pitfall traps) consume small mammals and reptiles.  Would you like another pause to consider that last bit of carnivorous plant trivia?

cobra plant (pitfall trap)

Carnivores are defined by just two characteristics.  They must exhibit an ability to attract, capture, and digest their prey; and, they must be able to absorb nutrients from the dead prey and gain a fitness advantage from those nutrients.  Hello, War of the Worlds human-harvesting Tripods.  Hello, exotic-but-pernicious Flytraps.  Maybe I should consider moving to Antarctica?  It’s the only continent on the planet where carnivorous plants cannot sustain themselves.

I know what you’ve been thinking since the very first paragraph.  “Dave, the perfect regret-I-saw-it movie for you is Little Shop of Horrors.”  No thank you, good reader.  I’m familiar with the Shop plot, and Audrey the Venus Flytrap sounds like a full-sized combo-nightmare of everything I’ve described above.  On that note, uh, hang on.  I should check my kitchen window Flytraps.  I swear they look a little bigger than the last time I checked.

Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Personal Space

We’re in the midst of Holy Week (for us Christians), which for some means spending more than the usual amount of time in church. Starting with this past Sunday, most Christian denominations conduct a total of five church services unique to this week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Our Methodist church here in Colorado devotes an hour to each of these services (short by Catholic standards); some during the day, others at night. No matter how you slice it, Holy Week means a lot of time in the sanctuary.

The church sanctuary wasn’t always a welcoming place.  Growing up in Los Angeles, my family and I belonged to a formal Methodist church, with a sanctuary I can only describe as intimidating (at least from a kid’s point of view).  You entered the building from the back, where the doorway greeters beckoned you to a narrow narthex.  So far, so good.  But the imposing sanctuary lay just beyond, through a wall of soundproof windows and closed doors, with stern-faced ushers protecting its every entrance.  The pews were hardwood and upright with thin cushions, thirty deep on either side of the main aisle, marching in perfect unison towards the steps of an even-more-intimidating white marble altar.  The booming organ drowned out any conversation (which was always at a whisper anyway), and the soaring structure of the ceiling made a kid wonder when it would all come a tumblin’ down like Jericho’s walls.

The congregation of worshipers was a lot of “old folks”; the kind of people who thought kids belonged in “Sunday School” instead of the sanctuary (that is, neither seen nor heard).  Hence as teenagers, my friends and I sat up in the balcony (at the back of the space, kind of like the last seat on the bus).  You couldn’t always hear the pastor, but at least we didn’t feel the eyes of the disapproving adults down below watching our every move.  From our vantage point they were just a bunch of suits and dresses, topped by a whole lot of gray hair.

“Sanctuary” took on new meanings as I grew older.  The San Diego Wild Animal Park (now the “Safari Park”) opened its gates in the 1970’s and put a completely new spin on the concept of a zoo.  Animals lived in wide open spaces instead of enclosures; broad, beautiful environments designed to mimic their natural habitats.  Instead of pressing noses against cages or glass, visitors saw the animals from a distance, confined to the seats of a quiet tram circling the park.  If I ever come back as a member of an endangered species (like the northern white rhino I mentioned last week), put me in the San Diego Safari Park.  That’s what I call an animal sanctuary.

Also in the ’70’s, Hollywood produced “Logan’s Run”.  The movie depicted a utopian society of the future, offering a wealth of pleasures and resources and good living… at least until you turn thirty.  At thirty you reported to the “Carousel”, where you were assured a place in “Sanctuary” – the supposedly better hereafter.  Logan and his friends decide to find Sanctuary before they turn thirty, and that’s where the curtain of the ugly truth is drawn back.  I can still hear Logan fighting the controlling supercomputer as he moans “THERE IS NO SANCTUARY!”  Logan’s world was seductive for sure, but it was the mystery of sanctuary that had me watching to the end.

Recently, sanctuary has taken on more puzzling associations.  In the 1980’s, American thrash metal produced the band Sanctuary (but nothing in my research explains the name).  Sanctuary Clothing is a line described as “…capturing the Los Angeles lifestyle… vintage styling with a handcrafted focus on detail…”  Again, nothing about the name.  The SyFy Channel’s Sanctuary ran for four seasons and explored gene therapy and cloning, and the “strange and sometimes terrifying beings” that emerged within the human population.  Finally, today’s sanctuary cities appear to be anything but, as the political feud between the Fed and the state overshadows any sense of actual security.

My definition of sanctuary will always be that primary space for worship in a church; or to put it in broader terms, “a place of refuge or safety”.  Whether that’s somewhere inside, worshiping in the pews as I’ll do tonight; or somewhere outside; say, walking on a quiet path in the forest, it’s more about a feeling than a location.  Sanctuary is all about personal space.

Land of Flying Cars

My wife and I live in a rural area of Colorado known as the Black Forest.  The high density of Ponderosa Pines in our small geography gives us our name.  Remarkably, there’s only one other notable place on the planet named “Black Forest”: the region near Bavaria in southwest Germany.  As it turns out, I have personal ties to both places, though I’ve never been to the south of Germany.  Follow along as I connect the Forests.

Fill in the blank, “Best Childhood Movie: ________”.  Most of you would respond with an offering from Disney.  Including “Snow White…”, “Mary Poppins”, and “The Little Mermaid”, you’ve already covered sixty years of film-making, with countless other Disney classics in between.  I don’t think I missed a single Disney growing up in the sixties and seventies, yet – go figure – my favorite childhood movie doesn’t come from the Mouse.  It doesn’t even come from my home country.  My childhood choice?  The UK’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, based on the 1964 novel by Ian Fleming.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” – the captivating musical about the inventor and his kids who lived in a windmill cottage; about those wonderful-though-not-always-perfect inventions (my favorite: the eggs-toast-sausage breakfast machine); about the candy-maker and the toy-maker and the captivating castle world of Vulgaria; and most importantly about the magical flying motorcar itself – created figments of my imagination like no other movie.  The lyrics to the title song (“…Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, our fine four-fendered friend…”) were burned into my brain.  Someday I vowed to visit the lands of Caractacus Potts and Baron Bomburst.

     

As it turns out, the Potts’ windmill cottage really does exist (and not on a movie set) – as the “Cobstone Windmill” in Buckinghamshire, England. The mansion where “Truly Scrumptious” lived is in the same area of the country.  And the Scrumptious Sweets Company was a working factory in Middlesex (today a steam-engine museum).  But it was the castle and village in Vulgaria I really wanted to see.  Not long after seeing the movie of course, I learned “Vulgaria” was a fictitious country.  Baron Bomburst didn’t actually lord over the land, nor did he ever keep all those children as slaves beneath his castle. But the castle and the village are based on actual places.  The village is Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria.  The castle is Castle Neuschwanstein, also in Bavaria.  And how ironic; both locations were inspirations for Disney as well: Rothenburg for the village in “Pinocchio”, and Neuschwanstein for the Cinderella castles in the theme parks.

To bring my journey full-circle, Rothenburg, Castle Neuschwanstein, and Bavaria sit in southwest Germany, adjacent to… the Black Forest.  Germany’s version of the Forest is a mountainous land of picturesque villages, castles, vineyards and spas.  This is the region that brought the world Black Forest Ham and “truly scrumptious” Black Forest Cake.  This is the land of glass-making and cuckoo clocks.  From the photos above, it looks every bit as charming as “Vulgaria”.

  

Colorado’s Black Forest barely amounts to a dot on Google Maps.  Within our pines, the “town” is a hodge-podge of nondescript businesses clustered around a couple of traffic signals, with nothing more alluring than a Subway, a post office, and a couple of coffee shops.  The terrain is fairly flat, with no windmill cottages or mountaintop castles or cuckoo clocks.  But it’s a great place to live, with its own unique charm.  And every now and then, when I’m deep in the pines, I’ll start humming that forever-familiar Chitty-Chitty tune, as I gaze up to the skies in search of a flying motorcar.

The Final Word

This time of year, we assemble our latest collection of “best-of’s” and “…of-the-year’s”.  On Monday, America crowned its national champion in college football (Alabama). In a few weeks we’ll get the NFL’s equivalent in the Super Bowl. Last month several magazines recognized 2017 of-the-year’s in photography and current events. Soon we’ll also have best-of’s in music (Grammy) and film (Oscar). In this spirit, did you know there’s an of-the-year for words?

To be clear, “word-of-the-year” doesn’t refer to the annual expansion of the Merriam-Webster (.com) Dictionary or the Oxford Dictionaries Online. With the former, over 250 words were added last fall; with the latter, over a thousand.  Instead, word-of-the-year is a single choice, representing “lasting potential as a word of cultural significance”.  That’s how the people at Oxford see it, and thus this year’s honoree is “youthquake”.  Huh?  Maybe if you’re in Britain you’re not shaking your head like me.  “Youthquake” means “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”  “Youthquake” has been around since 1965, but back then it was only a reference to the fashion and music industries.  Today, it could (and is) being used in reference to the myriad demonstrations of change commanded by the millennial generation.

With the Academy Awards – should you not agree with, “and the winner is…” – at least you might have a favorite in the list of nominees.  But the short list for 2017’s word-of-the-year is the following bunch of odd ducks: white fragility, unicorn, kompromat, broflake, newsjacking, gorpeore, milkshare duck, and antifa.  Okay, maybe “antifa” would’ve been a good choice, but I count at least four others I’m seeing for the first time.  More to the point, what happened to better choices like “hipster” or “pregame” or “alt-right”?  Did none of those even make it into the dictionary expansion?  They’re certainly more word-of-mouth than “youthquake”.

Perhaps “youthquake” will make it across the pond in the next year or two and enter America’s daily conversations.  But the word is not off to a good start, considering several in Britain – including the CEO of a youth leadership organization – claim they’ve never heard of it.  Maybe Oxford just has an affection for the word, so they throw it out there as an “of-the-year”.  But that’s kind of like being labeled “America’s Best City To Live In”.  The mere advertisement draws a bunch of tourists and other undesirables and next thing you know you’re no longer “best”.  By the time we Americans get right with “youthquake”, Oxford and Britain will have moved on to 2018’s word-of-the-year.

Merriam-Webster’s Peter Sokolowski claims their word-of-the-year (apparently the honor is shared) “…gives us insight into the collective curiosity of the public”. M-W took a more scientific approach to it’s recipient, looking at how often certain words were looked up online, and their context with respect to current events.  M-W’s 2017 word-of-the-year?  Feminism.  Look-ups of “feminism” increased 70% over 2016, and spikes in that activity were tied to comments made by politicians in Washington D.C., “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Wonder Woman”, and the sexual harassment revelations of the past several months.  M-W gives “feminism” two definitions, but I prefer the second: “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

Two years ago, Oxford made a particularly clever word-of-the-year choice in “pictograph”.  Rather than show the word, Oxford showed an emoji.  If my spell-check is any indication, it takes at least two years to embrace the current word-of-the-year recipient.  “Emoji” did not underline.  “Youthquake” most definitely did.