It hit the cable news networks, interrupting whatever was on, to announce that hail the size of nickels would soon be falling in Los Angeles County. This was an alert from the National Weather Service
. So my 10 year old daughter and I walked out the door to examine the bright blue sky with a few distant, harmless clouds. "Looks like they're wrong." I said, annoyed that whoever had triggered the alert hadn't had the wits to get specific about the problem. Then, at 5:22pm, my telephone starts beeping: an ALERT from the National Weather Service advising me to avoid flash floods
. Again, a brief excursion outside, and a verification that no precipitation is imminent.
Now the phone offers me a choice: would I like to turn off alerts? Given my recent experience, that they seem to be triggered by a bored technician on a Sunday afternoon for laughs (this is, of course, my opinion of what just happened, despite Verizon's assurance that "Authorized Senders issues these alerts only within strict guidelines and when they feel it is necessary to do so."), I turn off what I can. It helpfully informs me that I can't turn off a Presidential alert
. I look at the phone. I realize that this is the reason that I need to vote President Obama out of office: he evidently thinks I should be looking to my cell phone for misinformation, when I have the Internet available for the purpose, and I have the wit to turn off the computer. I'd prefer not to turn off the phone, so, with the demented logic of a politician, he's sure I want to listen to whatever he wants to say.
I am unconvinced, after September 11th, where I was uncomfortably aware of what was going on in New York within moments of the first aircraft striking the World Trade Center, that I need any such alert system. What I need is a working telephone that won't be interrupted by an idiot.