The Time Lady is going…going…gone. As of September 19, Californians will no longer be able to call for the time. You remember: you call a number (New York it was 976-1212; here in Northern California it’s POP-CORN) and a female voice says “At the tone the time will be…eight-fifty-six…and 15 seconds.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Northern California’s Time Lady was Joanne Daniels, “an Atlanta actress who recorded the time signals 20 years ago in a Georgia studio – more or less in one take.” No residuals (can you imagine?), just a flat $500. If you want to hear Daniels being interviewed about her life and weird Time, check out sfgate.com/podcasts.
Another former Time Lady, Jane Barbe, retired in 2003 after 40 years of time-telling. That’s a lot of Time. Some people managed to make a career of Time, but it was definitely a niche market.
So how are they going to go out? Will they bring Daniels in to make a farewell time statement? “When you hear the tone the time will be…eleven-fifty-nine-and…bye now.” Or just “This is the Time Lady and I’m…outa time.” Or just a simple, dignified, “G’night.” And what of the people who aren’t in the loop, who call in the next day and get “Hey, Jimmy’s Pizza, can I take your order?” or “The number you have dialed is not in service” and wonder what has happened to Time Itself. It’s bound to be a little disorienting, don’t you think?
I’m preparing a really cool post on the space program, but it’s taking me longer than I thought. So meanwhile, here is a good interview on H5N1 with Dr. Grattan Woodson, a physician who is an expert on flu.
…the chances of a major pandemic are really only 1 in 3. In medicine, thatâ€™s a big risk. I donâ€™t know about in other fields, but if something has a 1 in 3 possibility of happening, thatâ€™s a really major chance, and we want to do everything we possibly can to reduce the risk or the impact of the event if it happens. And thatâ€™s why I wrote the manual on the preparation for the coming pandemic. I wish I could be more definite about the timing. Itâ€™s just not possible to say when it will happen. There are only probabilities and it may be this year or it may not. But it will happen. Itâ€™s not a matter of if, itâ€™s a matter of when. [emphasis mine -mjl]