The Ecphorizer

Take Heart -- A Messiah Cometh
Lisa Barrigan Basker

Issue #12 (August 1982)

Converting the Gold Country into a nuclear redoubt

I have read with considerable dismay some of the problems plaguing you folk there in the Bay Area lately. With my customary altruism and concern, especially for my fellow Chosen Twopercenters, I have found a solution for at least one major problem, and I offer it to you here, knowing you

80-story skyscrapers will be disguised as giant Sequoia redwood trees...

will thank me in your hearts, if not more tangibly.

[quoteright]There is nothing I can do to help with the Stinson Beach shark situation. You will have to cope with that your own way. In the case of our own local M events, we have been troubled with some non-Mensa "crashers." One or two persons who flunked the test and who won't take their nonqualifying scores seriously insist on attending things. So I suggested we plan a beach party for Stinson Beach and have a contest as to who can swim out the farthest, one at a time. You can fill in the details on that one. If you have similar problems, feel free to use the idea.

Another very serious problem is the new editor of Roget's International Thesaurus "that gem of constancy, that steadfast authority, that linguistic Rock of Gibralter since 1852." (I quote the news item which reported on the matter). The new editor, a woman, has decided to edit out all "sexist" words, banishing them forever. Mankind will go, of course, and carried to the extreme, if she does go that far, so will chairperson, and other words with the masculine "son" in their midst So will woman, because it contains m-a-n. So will manicurist, which can't be personcurists, so must be pericurist. Athough I have never per-ally heard of a male who did nails and cuticles, there very well may be one, somewhere. So fe-s will be "wo"s, and chairpers will head committees and preside at meetings.

Are you with me still? What this means, of course, is that we can no longer be Mensans. We have to be Persans, and change our logo and our lingo. We'll be MPs and FPs, I suppose, or just PPs. This may be worthy of a national SIG, to work out the many challenges of a whole new language. And a word to the wise - hang on to your old copies of Roget's; they will soon be collector's items. So 'tis an ill wind, and all that.

But at the beginning, I promised you a solution to one major problem. Of course you all have read the report, edited by David E. Kaplan, Nuclear California: An Investigative Report which identifies, among California's three major radiation laboratories, the Lawrence Livermore plant. You all know where that is. The report underscores the potential for nuclear havoc in the state's most populous areas: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The Oakland-based writer-staff explain the hazards accompanying the manufacture of nuclear weapons, which include the dumping of and transportation of radioactive materials, and earthquakes. They identify 54 military, research and commercial reactors in the state. There are also 13 defense facilities storing an estimated 1,200 nuclear weapons.

However, history has proved that in times of crisis, a savior, a leader emerges. Our messiah walks in the hills, the light of his dream a beacon of hope to all of us huddled in fear of nuclear proliferation, its accompanying dangers, and imminent oblivion.

Quite appropriately (although temporarily, until the new Roget's is issued), his name is Mann. Wayne Mann has a grand plan, the details of which were described in a recent issue of the Sacramento Bee, and I feel they should be conveyed to Mensans removed from that newspaper's circulation area.

I predict that all of you who read this account of his plan, being traditionally pragmatic and realistic, as most Mensans are, will feel it is just too good to be true.

Mann himself states that it is still, at this stage, "puff and smoke," but he is in contact with "intermediaries" for powerful Swiss money interests, none of whom are identified, as a source of getting his plan off - and in this case, into - the ground.

The locale of Mann's Plan is the historic Mother Lode country extending along Highway 49 from Auburn to Placerville. The centerpiece of his envisioned dream would be 80-story skyscrapers disguised as giant Sequoia redwood trees. These pseudo redwoods would sit atop a 15-mile tunnel dug deep through the heart of the Gold Country, and could shelter a million persons during or after a nuclear explosion or attack.

Mann is certain that Sacramento, the state's capital, and your Bay Area (for the reasons cited by the Kaplan study), are prime attack targets. And, of course, the hair-trigger probability of an accident is always there. The Rancho Seco nuclear power generating plant, a near twin to Three Mile Island's, is right here in Sacramento County, as are Mather A.F.B., McClellan, and Aerojet's missile factory. All prime targets. But our Wayne Mann has thought ahead on all that.

Near the tunnel, the redwood tree skyscrapers, and the new national park (another jewel in Mann's dazzling plan) would be underground launch silos, housing scores of multiple-warhead intercontinental MX missiles, which would be ever on the ready for a U.S. President's order to kick off a mission.

Mann's imagination has encompassed a future Gold Discovery National Park, a super tollway lined with hotels, restaurants, shops, and museums. "Tourism is the world's biggest business, bigger than oil," Mann states emphatically.

Electracars, duplication of the world's most famous waterfalls and other marvels, completion of Auburn Dam in a manner that would make more feasible the resumption of mining the millions in gold that still lie thousands of feet deep in the Mother Lode, are all part of his plan. The total cost, Mann admits, would run over $50 billion. But it would employ thousands of people who, when not taking shelter in the tunnel, would work in the redwood tree offices. Those high-rise trees would also house state government leaders and staff personnel, should the Capitol be obliterated.

Our Mann, Wayne, is the semi-retired president of Cushionrail International, a research and development company he founded in Roseville,but which he now operates out of his home in Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento.

Mann has suffered many disappointments, but remains optimistic, even cheerful, about his dream for the future. He had a plan to save Chrysler Corporation by forming a new auto company to be headed by Mario Andretti, the renowned racecar driver, but at the last moment, Andretti dropped out.

Wayne also had the skids put to a $100 billion deal with a Japanese financier to build superseaports and land transport complexes on the east and west coasts of the U.S.A. and in Middle East countries.

He struck out on a plan for a Cushionrail transport system between New Delhi's airport and the Taj Mahal, too. The Mormons in Utah quashed his plan for a "Fair of the Free World" on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

Mann chuckles, "I'm a superstar in a galaxy of failures!" But you know his luck will change. You must agree he is most Mensalike in his creative, imaginative solutions to our grave dilemma.

You realize, too, that I bring you this information because of my desire that Mensans, more than any others, survive a disaster such as Mann, Kaplan, et al, predict. You can be sure I will alert you to the date when Mann's plan is ready, so that you can let me know you intend to queue up on Interstate 80, headed this way. Meantime, if you want to really pin down a place in the tunnel, let me know and I will get Mann to issue each of you a Wayne-check.

Now all you have to worry about are the killer bees, which are headed your way, toward California's coastal cities. I will start working on that at once. Just off the top of my head, I think the first step is to get a volunteer who will indentify and capture the queen. 

She's a professional writer, survived the slings and arrows of last month's Letters column, and is back for more.  She writes us that the magazine is "gooder and gooder all the time."

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