A Stubborn Case of the Shakes

More than 5,000 aftershocks later, Los Angeles is having a hard time settling down

In L.A. Story, his prophetic film satire, Steve Martin portrays a weatherman who at one point is trying to enjoy Sunday brunch in a garden restaurant with friends. Suddenly the sunlit get-together is interrupted by an earthquake. As a neighboring table rattles past them across the floor, its traveling occupants keep chatting without even looking up from their arugula. "How strong is it?" a guest at Martin's table inquires blithely. "Oh," Martin says with a shrug, "I give it a 4."

If only the rattled citizens of the real Los Angeles could be quite so blase. If only they could take...

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