A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“As I get older, I remember all the people I’ve lost. Maybe a tour guide career wasn’t for me” (8/17)
“You should get an employee discount for using self-checkout in a store” (8/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (8/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (8/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (8/17)
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Entry from December 01, 2015
“California has four seasons—Earthquake, Fire, Flood and Drought”

Southern California doesn’t have the four seasons, but many residents joke that it does have four seasons: eathquake, fire, flood and drought. The joke has been cited in print since at least November 1993, when California’s four seasons were said to be earthquakes, droughts, fires and mudslides. The joke was popularized in January 1994, when Los Angeles experienced an earthquake. The Los Angeles (CA) Times of January 18, 1994 reported:

“There is a joke going around the region these days, ever since the wildfires of this past fall: Los Angeles has four seasons—fire, flood, earthquake and drought.”

The term “mudslides” is usually replaced by “flood” or “drought.” Some joke tellers have added another season—“riot.” While the joke originally referred to Southern California, it often refers to all of California.


Google Groups: alt.california
CA Bashing
Alix
11/16/93
There are four seasons in California....
anyone have any guesses?

earthquakes....
droughts…
fires…
and mudslides.

Los Angeles (CA) Times
A Rush of Fear, and Even the Lucky Are Left Shaken
January 18, 1994 | Sheryl Stolberg and Glenn F. Bunting | Times Staff Writers
(...)
There is a joke going around the region these days, ever since the wildfires of this past fall: Los Angeles has four seasons—fire, flood, earthquake and drought. It is black humor, but on Monday it wasn’t so funny anymore. People are tired, here in sunny Southern California. Nature has provided a land of great beauty but a land that can be cruel as well.

Google Groups: rec.arts.tv.soaps
DOOL - Major Earthquake in L.A.!
Dian De Sha
1/18/94
(...)
A sad possibility is that rain is forecast for Friday.  That means the thousands evicted by the earthquake will join those evicted by the fires to await the floods!  (It has been said that Southern California has four seasons:  drought, fire, earthquake and flood.  I hope we are spared season four this for a while. . .

Google Groups: bit.listserv.india-d
India-D Digest - Jan 19
Uma Ramamurthy
1/19/94
(...)
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 1994 16:00:59 -0800 (PST)
From:
Subject: LA Quake

Sleepin’ and dreamin’, but suddenly I was awake,
The earth was shakin’ and I yelled ‘it’s a Quake!’
We heard a slam and a BAM, and all hell seemed loose,
The noise was terrifying, and we just froze!

Welcome to the land of quakes and slides,
And of riots, disasters, and much else besides!
Floods and drought, earthquake and fire,
Yep, these are indeed the four seasons here!

Los Angeles (CA) Times
EARTHQUAKE / The Long Road Back : Loss in Santa Clarita Exceeds $80 Million : Recovery: The estimate includes private, public property. Residents have trouble finding food, water.
January 20, 1994|JOHN CHANDLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER
(...)
“Everyone’s starting to get a little gamy,” said Lowell Chambers, also of Valencia, whose house remained without water and natural gas service Wednesday. Chambers said residents in his neighborhood have been carrying buckets of water from a community pool to their houses to wash themselves and to flush toilets.

Even waiting in line at one of the city’s water distribution centers, Chambers still had enough of a sense of humor to tell a reporter a joke. “We have four seasons here. Right?” he said. “Fire, flood, drought, and earthquake.”

Google Books
Newsweek
Volume 123, Issues 1-9
1994
Pg. 92:
The quake revived an old joke about Los Angeles’s four seasons: earthquake, fire, flood and drought.

Google Books
Friends in Deed:
Recovering the Lost Art of Being a Good Neighbor

By Don Hawkins
Chicago, IL: Moody
1995
Pg. 31:
The Los Angeles quake prompted the revival of an old joke about Los Angeles’s four seasons: earthquake, fire, flood, and drought — to which some sarcastic wags added a fifth, riot.

Google Books
Against the Tide:
The Battle for America’s Beaches

By Cornelia Dean
New York, NY: COlumbia University Press
1999
Pg. 121:
Some people joke that California has four seasons: drought, fire, flood, and earthquake.

Google Groups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
RV antenna at home?
Ken Bosch
5/31/05
(...)
Southern California’s Four Seasons:
Earthquake, Mudslide, Brushfire, and Riot

New York (NY) Times
In California, Louder Calls to Prepare for Quakes
By JESSE McKINLEY
Published: April 5, 2010
(...)
State Senator Christine Kehoe, a Democrat from San Diego and the chairwoman of a joint legislative committee on emergency management, said California’s earthquake response was still “the finest in the world,” citing up-to-date communications equipment, regular multi-agency drills and ample experience in dealing with natural disasters. (California officials like to say the state has four seasons: flood, fire, mudslide and earthquake.)

Policy.Mic
Billionaire Tom Steyer Wants to Prove That Fighting Climate Change Can Save the Economy
By Scott Bixby December 01, 2015
(...)
Although California has always been subject to melodramatic acts of god — an old joke posits that California’s four seasons are earthquake, fire, flood and drought — recent events are pushing the resilient state to its limits.

Posted by Barry Popik
Oregon (Beaver State Dictionary) • Tuesday, December 01, 2015 • Permalink