Blog-Off 2008: Nessie Attacks, Red Cross Responds

Today’s BLOG OFF 2008 challenge comes from a Portland Mercury reader who said,“I’d like to hear a response plan from each agency on a Nessie-esque beast in the water reservoirs. Assume it is dangerous, eating skinny dippers, dragging dogs underwater, etc.” The moderators offered bonus points for illustrating the scenario. We decided to up the ante by making a video. (See below.)
Usually the American Red Cross is busy responding to more conventional emergencies like housefires, hurricanes and earthquakes. But when disaster unexpectedly strikes — be it Godzilla, Mothra or Nessie — Red Crossers are ready to take action.

Given that this particular monster is confined to a reservoir, the primary Red Cross responsibility would be to whip up food for police and fire departments, whose men and women would be busy trying to contain the beast and provide emergency medical care. With the hope that providing culturally-appropriate cuisine might give responders the additional strength they’d need, we’d offer morning porridge, Scotch eggs for lunch and, naturally, haggis for supper. While it would be necessary to keep everyone sober to complete their important duties, afterhours might see bottles of whisky, scotch and ale being passed around…none of which would be supplied by the Red Cross, of course.

“Reservoirs Run Red!” the headlines would scream, while local TV stations offer wall-to-wall “Monster Attack 2008” coverage. Of paramount interest are the number of skinny-dippers traumatically injured in the attacks, all of whom have required multiple transfusions. While the Oregon Trail Chapter is hard at work responding to the disaster, Pacific NW Regional Blood Services has put out a red alert, urging Oregonians in unaffected parts of the state to give blood.

When it becomes clear that Red Cross resources will be stressed, our fundraisers leap into action — “Nessie might go back to Scotland, but your money will stay right here at home.” Financial support comes swiftly from around the world, most notably from the British Red Cross (they’re responsible for Scotland), who are intimately aware of the devastation Nessie can cause.

Though this plan speaks to the Red Cross response if Nessie stayed confined to the reservoirs, we have little doubt that she’d be off the hands of the Water Bureau pretty quickly. No, the sea monster would likely be heading towards the Willamette or Columbia in no time, leaving a swath of destruction in her wake. While we’d urge Portlanders to evacuate BEFORE Nessie’s escape, if they didn’t, we’d strongly advise them to “shelter in place,” lest they get trampled. We’d also advise not drinking the contaminated water…if they had a WaterBob and a good 72-hour kit, they’d be ready, however.

Note: While Blog-Off 2008 seems like fun and games, there’s no doubt in our minds that Portland has the potential to be destroyed by a monster attack. Here are some quick suggestions for when it happens to us:

  • Get a kit — For if you have to shelter in place or are trapped in your home. You might want to include a bottle of champagne, just in case it’s your last night on earth.
  • Make a plan — Highways might be congested when everyone leaves the city at once, so have a plan for how you’ll get out and where you’ll meet up with family and friends.
  • Be informed — As sensational as it is, watch the wall-to-wall coverage for instructions. You might also get trained in first aid to fix minor Nessie-related injuries.

Recommended reading: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide
See what the Water Blog posted here (which, we might add is NOT a response plan, as requested by the moderators) and vote for your favorite in the comments below.


  • A press release does not a disaster plan make. Cross Blog wins since the Water Blog didn’t follow the guidelines.

  • Serious points for the video (my favorite part was the emergency vehicle noises)! And a very well thought out response plan.

  • I can’t imagine any of the PFD wanting to eat haggis. This is concerning, as I’m not sure they’d have the stamina to control the situation.

    But I admire any blog that can work Scottish cuisine into their post.

  • Leave it to the Crossers to take the competition to YouTube. Oh, Water Blog. You’re helplessly old-fashioned.

  • This video is the best! I loved the people in distress being helped by Red Cross vehicles and volunteers…go team – so creative.

  • I’m wondering how similar Japanese and Scottish monsters really are. They seem pretty different, but I imagine both can do serious damage.

  • Hey Elana! — Funny thing is, I wonder how you act as:

    Data and Information Supervisor at American Red Cross – Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region

    Also… Past Business Manager at American Red Cross

    Also… Administrative Assistant at OHSU – Child Development & Rehabillitation Center

    Also… Administrative Assitant at City of Portland, Mayors Office

    Education Warner Pacific College
    Western Business College

    without living in Portland? (See Elana's comments on the Water Blog) Looks like the Cross Blog's employees are not playing by the rules that the Cross Blog themselves set forth: "If you can't say anything nice, vote for the other blog."


  • Correction: Elena is not a Cross Blog employee.

    We don’t employ anyone. Though surely Robin and I deserve to make lots of extra money for putting so much work into blogging!

  • And in response to “Anonymous” indeed I did not prepare a response plan, but a news release, because in the fantasy world that we’re all blogging in today, Taboratha was a strategically planned maneuver.

    And to another “Anonymous” … yes, we are old fashioned over here at the Water Blog. We find it hard to justify spending tax payer dollars on erroneous technology. Our bad.

  • I loved the video and like the plan. Good Cross blog.

    I have heard from my friends in the animal biz that PETA is looking to file a lawsuit against the water blog for animal cruelty.

  • P.S. Video was done with a regular digital camera. We don’t spend money on fancy technology ourselves…though we are pretty adept at using what we have!

  • I’d ask what kind of a name Tabortha is, but then I’d have to ask what kind of a name Lise is…

  • I jsut love the Red Crosser Spirit.

    Disaster is truly our calling! hit all the basics and VIDEO TOO! Who Hoo.

    Great Job

  • I think what I like best is that the Red Cross doesn’t just treat the challenge like a joke. There are some good tips in here, monster or not.

    Implausible, yes. Actually helpful, absolutely.

  • Ditto with Jennifer’s comment. If the point of the blog is (partially) to educate readers, I think this blog wins.

  • Even though I’d prefer not to be attacked while swimming naked by a hungry and vicious sea creature, it’s nice to know what to do just in case. Well done, Red Cross, well done.

  • I wonder why the water folks didn’t spend more time on their response as they did on researching the folks who are giving feedback – they might have actually posted something relevant to the moderators request – not a slam to the water folks just an observation

  • I love that you finally have a way to make use of the relationship that you’ve already developed with the British Red Cross. Nice work!

  • Nice use of technology to tell the story and engage readers. I also liked that you educated, highlighted blood services and preparedness, and referred to partnerships (police, fire, British Red Cross) that strengthen the organization’s ability to respond to monsters (even Nessie Jr.).

  • From what I can tell, the whole video was shot in one take, giving it the makings of a classic…not unlike Hitchcock’s Rope.

  • You’ve got my vote! Water blog didn’t even create a response plan, so they should receive ZERO points for this round. Keep it up ladies!!

  • Love the video! I know the Red Cross is culturally sensitive and responsible – but can their mobile kitchens really whip up haggis? Regardless, this blog spot gets my vote!

  • I work for the Water Bureau, and I have to admit, Cross won this one. The water blog did seem to miss the objective of a response plan. Although I do trhink the water blog is better written. Cross needs to work on the flow of their writing.

    It’s now a tie on my stat sheet. What will roud 3 bring?

  • Ouch. That almost hurt as much as giving blood.

    But okay, we’ll work on improving the “flow” of our writing. You Water Bureau people and your puns!

  • Loved the video….someone needs to install an up to the minute tracking device on Nessie…

  • Now that you’ve got a handle on Nessie, how about taking charge of the Montauk Monster, Chupacabra, and Bigfoot – all 3 of whom have been seen in the last month.

    Great job Cross Blog! I feel safe from all real and imagined monsters in your capable hands.

  • Judging from the success of this one (which won, IMHO), I’m looking forward to today’s post.

  • I’m late responding, but I hope that’s okay. I was busy moving classrooms and had no computer access.
    I love the video! You don’t need fancy technology to make videos; we do it all the time in my classroom with an under $100 digital camera and free software from Microsoft!
    The only part I disagree with is Nessie’s future resting place. I think she’s going to head straight for Williamsburg, Virginia, where Busch Gardens-Williamsburg has an entire area devoted to Scotland and Nessie. In which case, those of us in Virignia better get ready!

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