Give It To Me Straight, Doctor, I Can Take It: Howard Hesseman, 1940-2022

Yes, time passes, and yes, death is inevitable when people are in their 70s, 80s, 90s.  But that doesn’t make it suck any less.

Howard Hesseman is better known to Millennials as teacher Charlie Moore from “Head Of The Class”.  But to GenXers, he will be forever remembered as Dr. Johnny Fever of WKRP In Cincinnati.  I didn’t know until I read some of his obituaries, but Hesseman actually worked as a radio DJ in his younger years, and that was partly why he was chosen for the role.

I loved WKRP for more than the comedy.  Every character on the show was a decent person, each someone that different viewers could identify with.  The only character that didn’t age well was Herb Tarlek; being an “ex-gay” would be handled very differently today, or the the character would have been openly gay or LGBTQIA.  WKRP won a Humanitas Award, which as the Humanitas website describes, “Humanitas honors and empowers film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way which brings the global community closer.”

WKRP was record on video instead of film as a cost cutting measure.  By using video, the show’s creators paid a lower royalty rate for using hit songs of the era.  This is why you heard song clips by the original artists.  Other shows of the era used recordings by cover bands.  When the show was released on DVD, it was reformatted to film and the songs replaced by covers.  Bleah.


Other videos worth watching:

When Johnny Fever’s reactions improved during a drinking reaction time test.

When Fever confronts Mrs. Carlson Sr. about how she runs the station.

Anyone who grew up watching that show remembers it fondly.

Documentaries And Songs To Show: The 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

As I mentioned the other day, the third and most recent Bloody Sunday happened in Derry, Ireland, on January 30, 1972.  The English perpetrated others in 1887 and in 1921.  In Derry, the brutish . . . I mean, british . . . okay, brutish military began firing live bullets on unarmed protesters, murdering fourteen.  Most were shot in the back.

In 2010, then UK prime minister David Cameron gave an “official” apology to the people of Derry.  However, the “official” policy in England is still that the ones who committed the crimes will never be punished.  Boorish Johnson has actively tried to prevent it.

Sinn Féin produced this twenty minute film to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and to remember its victims.

This is why I will never wear a poppy.

Below the fold, a news report and a few songs to commemorate the day.  No, I did not forget certain songs (i.e. the ex-beatle, the two character band name).  They’re intentionally excluded.

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Lunar New Year Arrives: Nine days off will be nice

The Lunar New Year is here, beginning on February 1, 2022.  What a relief.  I need a break from the kids.  The last time we had nine days off straight was 2015, since then it has wrapped around a weekend, meaning only six consecutive days off.

The Lunar calendar is (obviously by name) based on the moon’s phases, a 29.5 day month, and starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice.  A lunar year calendar could have twelve or thirteen months, compared to the solar year.

It also goes on a twelve year cycle, with a zodiac of animals: Rat (Mouse), Ox (Cow), Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (Sheep), Monkey, Rooster (Chicken), Dog, Pig.  2022 is the third year of the cycle, year of the tiger. You can tell how seriously many people take the zodiac by the number of kids of each age.  It’s not a big difference in number, but there are noticeably fewer kids age 6 and 18 because “year of the monkey” is considered unlucky.

I was born year of the goat, hence my ibex tattoo.  I also have an Asian dragon tattooed on my hide where you keep your wallet.  Now I wonder if I should collect the whole set.

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I Never Expected It To Happen: The NHL’s “Iron Man” record was broken

I have pretty much stopped following all sports on a regular basis (for multiple reasons I’ve given before).  If I pay any attention now, it’s limited to highlights or specific events.  One of them was the possibility of the NHL’s “Iron Man” record being broken.

As I’m sure most know, an “Iron Man” streak in sports is a consecutive number of games played without interruption due to injury or other reasons.  They can’t really be measured in numbers of games because different sports play different numbers of games per season.  The most accurate comparison is the number of seasons played.

The type of sport involved and how physically violent it is plays a role.  In some sports, there are positions which are protected more than others and players less likely to be injured.  In North American helmets and pads football, it shouldn’t surprise that quarterbacks and kickers have the longest careers.  Baseball plays the most games and has positions more taxing than others, but barring injury or poor play, any position other than a catcher or pitcher could break the record.  Hockey and basketball play the same number of games per year, but basketball has positions that take less physical abuse than others.  Hockey has no “protected” positions, though defencemen take more wear and tear than forwards. [Read more…]

Caoga Bliain Tar Éis: And justice is still denied

According to google translate, Caoga Bliain Tar Éis” is Irish for “Fifty Years Have Passed”.  This is the first item, I plan to write a second (about post-1971 events) before the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, on January 30, 1972.

As mentioned last month, Ireland was fractured in a fractious “peace deal” in 1921, intended to stop the conflict between Irish people who wanted independence and unionists who wanted to remain part of the “united kingdom”.  1971 marked the fiftieth anniversary of that deal, and people of Occupied Ireland (what many call “Northern Ireland”) did not see it as in their interests.  Why would they, when the corrupt English oppression of Ireland before the twentieth century still continued in Belfast and the other occupied territory?

The word gerrymandering originated in Ireland (PDF from Trinity College Dublin).  Electoral corruption favoured and guaranteed unionist parties power at the expense of larger populations of Irish people.  The minority unionists corruptly held power to ensure a popular independence party could never be democratically elected, no matter the vote tally.  This corruption carried on for 50 years, the unionists rigging the system from “proportional representation” to “first past the post” whenever it was to their benefit.

Protests that began in 1969 continued and become louder and more common throughout 1971.  The tit for tat war of violence by both the Irish Republican Army and English military (bombings, shootings, killings, etc.) did nothing to quell people’s mistrust and animosity towards the occupation.  In January 18, 1972, the puppet “prime minister” of Occupied Ireland did as he was told by London and banned all marches, parades, and protests in an attempt to control the people, intending to use force to do so.

On January 30, 1972, a group of 10,000–15,000 protesters marched through the Bogside area of Derry, one of the most corrupt and gerrymandered cities in Occupied Ireland.  What started as a peaceful protest escalated into pockets of violence across the city (who provoked whom is uncertain).   But what matters is that around 4pm in the afternoon, the English military incited violence against the protesters.  Ordered to arrest people with minimal violence, the military disobeyed orders and began to violently assault protesters and bystanders, beating them or driving over them with vehicles.

When people fled the violence, the military began shooting indiscriminately.  They murdered fourteen, many shot in the back as they ran.  Fifteen more were officially reported as injured, though how many other injuries were not tended in hospitals is unknown.

Much like a conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, the conflict in Derry that day was military weaponry versus rocks, and those with the weapons seeing themselves as “justified” in shooting unarmed civilians.  Official “investigations” into the events were farcical whitewashes, designed to clear the government and military of any responsibility.  Attempts to attain justice were denied by a corrupt government that wanted to protect the guilty.  Significant legal action against those who committed the murders did not happen until 2019, but even then, they have never been held accountable.

Below the fold, some links to historical records of the events.

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Religiosity Was The Only Thing That Declined

In a surprise only to the disingenuous and rabidly religious, a University of Munich study published (PDF) in the Centre for Economic Studies (CESifo) reports that the lack of religion in schools only makes people less religious.  And in fact, it makes them more moral.

From the National Secular Society of the UK:

RE promotes religiosity but not morality, German study finds

Religious education promotes religiosity but not broadly shared moral and political values, research suggests.

Researchers at the University of Munich’s Institute for Economic Research have found German states’ decisions to replace compulsory religious education (RE) in the 1970s with optional ethics classes significantly reduced pupils’ religiosity in adulthood.

The researchers’ findings were published in a recent study, Can schools change religious attitudes? which found students with the option to attend non-denominational ethics classes rather than RE were less likely to describe themselves as ‘religious’ (49% verses 52%) or ‘very religious’ (9% verses 11%) as adults.

[. . .]

The paper also found the non-denominational ethics option led to a decrease in conservative gender and family attitudes, particularly around beliefs that men are more suited for certain jobs, and a decrease in prejudice towards unmarried couples.

It also found no significant impact on pupils’ “ethical-value outcomes including reciprocity, trust, risk preference, volunteering, and life satisfaction” or “political-value outcomes such as political interest, satisfaction with democracy, or left-right voting patterns”.

So, being raised without religion encouraged social and personal responsibility, more respect and equality for women, and more respect and equality for LGBTQIA people.  And young people’s sense of morality improved.  Whodathunkit?

Here’s an excerpt from the PDF linked at the top.  Emphasis after the title is mine:

Can Schools Change Religious Attitudes? Evidence from German State Reforms of Compulsory Religious Education


We study whether compulsory religious education in schools affects students’ religiosity as adults. We exploit the staggered termination of compulsory religious education across German states in models with state and cohort fixed effects. Using three different datasets, we find that abolishing compulsory religious education significantly reduced religiosity of affected students in adulthood.  It also reduced the religious actions of personal prayer, church-going, and church membership.  Beyond religious attitudes, the reform led to more equalized gender roles, fewer marriages and children, and higher labor-market participation and earnings. The reform did not affect ethical and political values or non-religious school outcomes.

[. . .]

8. Conclusions

Our study investigates whether compulsory religious

education affects people’s religiosity in the long run. We argue that the different timing of reforms that abandoned compulsory religious education across German states provides plausibly exogenous variation in individuals’ exposure to compulsory religious education. Students could now choose to attend non-denominational ethics classes rather than religious education, which likely also changed overall social norms towards religion and, by competitive pressures, the content of religious classes. We find that, conditional on state and birth-year fixed effects, the termination of compulsory religious education led to a significant reduction in the religiosity of affected students in adulthood. The reform reduced the share of people reporting to be religious by about 3 percentage points (compared to an average incidence of 52 percent) and of those reporting to be very religious by 2 percentage points (average 11 percent). Similar standardized reductions are found in three measures of religious actions – prayer, church-going, and religious affiliation.

We do not find that the reform affected ethical values and behavior such as reciprocity, trust, volunteering, and life satisfaction, nor political values and behavior such as interest in politics, satisfaction with democracy, or voting. It appears that the counterfactual of attending non-denominational ethics classes was equivalent to attending religious-education classes in terms of these outcomes, speaking against concerns in the policy debate at the time that abolishing compulsory religious education may deteriorate students’ ethical orientation.

Beyond the religious sphere, the reform also affected family and economic outcomes.  Affected students express less conservative gender and family norms later in life. This finding provides insights for the literature on gender norms which shows that these norms are important determinants for lifetime outcomes (e.g., Kleven et al. (2019); Jayachandran (2021)). Yet, it is not well understood where these norms come from. Our results provide evidence that changes in school curricula can impact gender norms, implying that they are malleable in public settings outside the family. The abolishment of compulsory religious education also affected actual family outcomes – lower incidence of marriage and number of children – as well as labor-market outcomes – higher employment and earnings. Thus, the reform also had economically relevant repercussions.

Rape And Murder Is What He Wants

Tom Cotton?  Cottonmouth is more like it, because he’s a snake.  He wants to force states to place Transgender women into male prisons, and threatening states that segregate Trans people from the general population.

He knows full well this will inevitable lead to violence, rape, and murder, because that’s what he wants to see happen.  I’ll bet Cotton enjoyed hearing that Cheetolini’s ICE goons raped women and raped children in the concentration camps.

If TERFs and other anti-Trans trash and bigots were actually “worried about cis women’s safety in prisons”, they would be creating “Trans only” prison wings.  US prisons have populations of 1,000 to 3,000, and there are approximately 5,000 Transgender and Non-Binary people currently incarcerated.  The US could have three to five solely Trans/Non-Binary prisons in regional locations for their housing, eliminating any alleged “threat”.

But scum like Cotton, Greer, Rowling, and other trash want to create a threat, not eliminate one.  They want to create situations that will lead to the assault, rape, and murder of people who are not cis, especially so Transgender women.

GOP Sen. Tom Cotton wants to force trans women to be locked up with violent men in prisons

On Thursday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a bill that would require the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to house trans federal inmates based on their sex assigned at birth rather than their gender, a policy that LGBTQ equality advocates say will put transgender people at risk of violence.

The bill would also incentivize state prisons to do the same by limiting funding to those who house inmates by their gender identity.

Cotton proposed the bill under the guise of protecting women from violence, even naming it the “Preventing Violence Against Female Inmates Act.”

The bill is a response to a report that leaked from the Department of Justice (DOJ) detailing a potential executive order from President Joe Biden that would mandate prisons house inmates according to gender.

“President Biden’s plan to house male and female prisoners together will put women in danger,” Cotton claimed in a press release that denigrated trans identities. The release cited unspecified anecdotes about violence against cis women but not any statistics on the alleged problem.

Of course Cotton has no evidence to cite, because if he did proper research, he would know that Transgender and Non-Binary people are targeted for abuse by violent predators, that prisons allow it to happen, and are probably encouraging it.  The “anecdotes” claiming “Trans predators” are unverifiable fictions and hate propaganda, reported only in rightwing “news”.

Two Trigger UNhappy Things To Note

On January 22, 1987, thirty five years ago, Pennsylvania republican R Budd Dwyer died.

In December 1986, Dwyer was convicted of conspiracy, perjury and other charges after taking bribes.  (Many on the right continue to claim he was innocent despite overwhelming evidence.)  The day before he was to be sentenced to 55 years in prison, Dwyer held a press conference.  Many assumed he was going to announce his resignation, or that he had accepted a plea deal of some sort.  Pennsylvania prosecutors said there was no such deal on offer.

Dwyer handed out envelopes to various (specific?) attendees which turned out to have a letter to his wife, among other statements.  After speaking, Dwyer pulled out another envelope which contained a .357 magnum handgun.  Many who worked with Dwyer suspected he might lash out at others verbally, but not with a weapon.  However, Dwyer only aimed the firearm at one person.

The press conference was being broadcast live.  The TV stations made the poor decision to continue broadcasting live when Dwyer pulled the weapon.  His death was the first suicide live on US TV since Christine Chubbuck in 1974.  I will not link to any video of the shooting; grotesquely, the film is too easily found.

Several songs have been written about the incident.  By comparison to the others, Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot” from 1995 is ‘tasteful’.

The second death of note is Ronald Gay, who died on January 21.  Gay was sentenced to four life sentences for the mass shooting and murder he perpetrated at in September 2000.  The Backstreet Cafe was a gay bar, and he went their with the intent of committing mass murder.

Ronald Gay went on a shooting rampage at a gay bar. 22 years later he’s dead too.

Ronald Gay — a 75-year-old former Marine who killed one man and injured six others in his September 2000 shooting of the Backstreet Cafe gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia — has died of natural causes as a prisoner in a hospital. He was 75.

The shooting, which happened one week after the local Pride festival, was the last major gay bar shooting before the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

[. . .]

Roughly 16 years later, on the day of the Pulse Shooting, [Joel] Tucker told The Washington Post, “I woke up and cut the TV on, saw CNN and every bit of what happened in 2000 just flooded back. It was like it just happened, the whole thing.”

“My ex-partner texted me and said, ‘Oh my God, did you see what happened?’ He was sitting beside me [at Backstreet]. It all just came back, tenfold. Oh my God, what a tragedy,” he added.

He said later of the Pulse shooting victims, “My heart went out to those people so badly. When I think about all these people that are dead because of them just enjoying their life — and I think about all those people that are laying in those hospitals and suffering — you have got to be strong.”

“Don’t let something like this ruin your life because it could’ve ruined mine,” he added.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I Hate When I Forget: Banting’s discovery of Insulin is 100 years old

You’d thnk something this important would be remembered.  I’m mildly annoyed at myself because I mentioned it previously.

Frederick Banting announced the discovery of Insulin to the world on November 14, 1921.  And it was first administered to 14 year old Leonard Thompson on January 11, 1922.  While Thompson only lived until 1935 (age 27), that’s more life than he would have gotten without Banting’s discovery.  Prior to that, Type 1 diabetes was a short and painful death sentence, surviving only a few weeks or months.

Knowing how important the discovery was, Banting forewent the patent and gave his discovery to the world for free.  He wanted to save lives, not profit from it, which makes the US medical industry all the more deplorable for holding people’s lives hostage with excessive prices.

Insulin was the first hormone therapy, something commonplace today, especially important to Transgender, Non-Binary, and Intersex people.  The discovery of Insulin earned Banting and his team the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923, the shortest time ever between a scientific discovery and awarding of a Nobel prize.





How Time Passes: The Commodore 64 turns forty

The Commodore 64 (base 10) turns 40 (base 16) years old this week.  How fitting.

The C64 was first displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show, January 7–10, 1982.  It became available in stores in August 1982, and was only discontinued in 1994.  Over those twelve years, the C64 sold (depending on whose estimates you believe) anywhere from ten million to thirty million units.  Even at the low end, the C64 is the best selling computer of all time.

This is why the C64 has not increased greatly in value despite the nostalgia craze of recent years.  Millions of them have survived, making them easy to find on the market.  The real value in them, and what set the C64 apart from all other computers of its era, is the SID chip.

The SID chip (or MOS Technology 6581/8580 Sound Interface Device, to use its full name) was arguably the first general use and popularly used sound chip.  It was capable of three sounds simultaneously, eight octaves, ADSR envelopes, four different waveforms, a random number generator, and other features.  The C64 was capable of sounds that weren’t matched until the Tandy 1000 series and later dedicated sound cards like the Adlib and Soundblaster.

The three voices of the SID were not fixed, and could be changed on the fly.  This allowed creative composers to change each voice constantly, giving the illusion of more than three voices.  Kits exist now that allow people to combine two SID chips into one C64 and have six voices (video: 8bit Guy). But that means raiding old C64s and leaving them without chips.  MOS Technology ceased producing SID chips years before it went out of business in 2001.  C64 fans thought the supply of SID chips was limited until the SwinSID was created.  While not a perfect clone of the 6581 or 8580 chips (video: Adrian’s Digital Basement), the SwinSID is reportedly 99% compatible, making it a suitable modern replacement.

The C64 was also capable of advanced graphics for its time, with sprites, scrolling, bitmaps and other features.  It’s even possible to browse the internet with the C64 using the Contiki operating system and the CaTeR unix/linux terminal for the C64 (with CaTeR).  or even the 64NIC+ card or other terminal software and dedicated hardware.  If you don’t want to use the built in Basic-based operating system, there are others such as GEOS (from the 1990s) and Final Cartridge III (from 2019) or C64OS (2021).  Sadly, while CP/M was available for the C64 and it worked, few examples exist because it failed in the marketplace.

The biggest failure of the C64 had to be its floppy disk drive.  Unlike the Apple II which was fast and easy to use, the C64’s commands were obscure and the drive was slow.  There were fastloaders available which increased performance, but these were after market cartridges which meant they were best used for file transfers or playing disk-only games.  Today, you can get Flash memory card loaders like the SD2IEC.

Below the fold are a few links to videos of the C64’s history.  But more important, how the C64 changed electronic music, both how its made, and how game music influenced a generation.

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I Can’t Wait To See All The TERFs’ Heads Explode

Normally I pay zero attention to any awards shows.  If an artist or their work was good, they usually get the attention and recognition they deserve.  Awards shows are public masturbation.

However, I am gleeful with the news that Michaela Jaé “Mj” Rodriguez (“Blanca”) has won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a TV drama.

Cue the racist TERF trash of the world calling this “erasure”.  They’ll probably call this “rape”, too, devaluing the word.

Mj Rodriguez becomes 1st transgender actor to win a Golden Globe

And the category is…Golden Globes history.

On Sunday, Michaela Jaé “Mj” Rodriguez, 31, took home a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as housemother and nurse Blanca on the FX show “Pose.” It marks the first time in history a transgender actor has won a Golden Globe.

This is also the first Golden Globe win for “Pose,” which premiered in 2018.

Rodriguez made history for the first time last summer after becoming the first transgender performer to be nominated for a lead acting Emmy. Rodriguez did not end up winning that award.

While “Pose” has been hailed for the largest transgender cast in a scripted series, the show’s stars have been vocal regarding the lack of award recognition they have received.

In 2020, “Pose” co-stars Indya Moore and Angelica Ross spoke out against the Emmys for overlooking the show’s Black transgender cast in its list nominees that year.

“POSE” was groundbreaking.  For the first time, Transgender people were presented not as the four most common stereotypes (serial killers or monsters; “traps” and sexual predators; comic relief; tragedies who must die) or the fifth from OITNB (criminals in prison).  We were shown as normal human beings living normal lives, shown as people.

POSE was especially important for Transgender People of Colour, those most likely to suffer discrimination, violence and murder.  Already in 2022, there have been two murders of Black Transgender women in the US.  Showing people as normal human beings is the best way to counter hateful propaganda.

I’m Sad To Announce: Sidney Poitier, 1927-2022

Sidney Poitier has passed, age 94 (February 20, 1927 to January 6, 2022).  Here is an obituary from CNN, and an obituary from the Guardian.

An acting legend and all round decent human being, Poitier changed hollyweird.  Though racism precluded him from romantic roles in the 1960s, his choice of films and performances smashed through barriers that denied other Black actors and actresses leading roles and quality parts.

“To Sir With Love”

“In The Heat Of The Night”

“Blackboard Jungle”

“Porgy & Bess”

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

The list goes on and on.  Even in his later commercial films, he was memorable (“Shoot To Kill”, “The Jackal”, “Sneakers”).  The only regrettable part of Poitier’s career was the films he did with Cosby, and I doubt Poitier knew of or approved of the other’s prurient behaviour.

You can tell yourself a thousand times that no one lives forever, but that doesn’t make someone’s death any less shocking. I grew up watching Poitier, he was a massive influence on me.

I do NOT believe in superstition, such as “deaths in threes” nonsense.  But if someone else dies in the next week after Poitier and Betty White, I’ll be pissed.

You Ought To Read: Oughtred’s invention at 400

In 1622, four hundred years ago, English clergyman and amateur mathematician William Oughtred invented the Slide Rule.  It was one of most important inventions in the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, used in mathematics, engineering, physics, and many other sciences.

Like the navigation compass (11th century), the printing press (1440), the microscope (1590), the telescope (1608), the manual typewriter (1867), and other technological leaps, the slide rule remained in constant use from its invention until the age of transistors (1947) and microchips (1958).  It was digital computing that made these devices expendable, not because they stopped working.  For almost three hundred and fifty years until the first portable calculators in 1970, the slide rule was THE mathematical computer.

The slide rule was used in the construction of buildings, bridges, ships, trains, cars, airplanes, and other constructions.  Isaac Newton used them to solve cubic equationsAlbert Einstein used them to do his groundbreaking work.  It was used by NASA, both by Katherine Johnson to compute flight trajectories and by the crew of the Apollo 13 to do the calculations that brought them home safely.

As with other inventors and inventions (e.g. Johan Gutenberg and the printing press), Oughtred didn’t create every part of the slide rule.  He took the works of others before him and put them together in a way that made the invention useful and indespensible.  The slide rule provided the ability to do fast and accurate calculations which previously were prone to error when done by hand.  The slide rule he invented was a simple design, refined over the next 300 years with additions like Newton’s cursor.

Slide rules aren’t limited to logarithms and trigonometry.  There are slide rules for engineering, airplane pilots, music, chemistry, astronomy, welding, metallurgy, and many other uses.  They’re portable and accurate quick references.  The slide rule and the other inventions mentioned above still work (the microscope, the typewriter, et al).  They only fell out of use because newer inventions do the work faster.  (Do a least squares regression with a slide rule?  Only if there’s no other way!)

Over the coming months, the plan is to write multiple posts on Slide Rules: the mathematics that made them possible, the invention, how to do math on a slide rule, the different types, how to make your own slide rules, where you can still buy them, and possibly others.

For now, a little fun: below the fold, slide rules in popular culture.

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Where It All Started: “The Night Stalker” turns 50

For those who lived through the 1970s, “The Night Stalker” doesn’t just mean the serial killer Richard Ramirez.  It also means the film starring Darren McGavin as reporter Carl Kolchak.  It first aired on January 11, 1972, fifty years ago this week.  It was the highest rated TV movie of its era, and it’s 33 rating is good even now.

There’s one thing that sets the two movies (this and 1973’s “The Night Strangler”) and TV show apart from a lot of action, horror or drama shows that have come since then.  Kolchak is a reporter, armed with only a camera and a tape recorder, not a gun. He’s not a tough guy hero, he’s a coward, a vulnerable and normal person, which makes him easy to identify with (similar to the vulnerability of John McClane in the original “Die Hard” movie).  But he’s also a nosy parker interested in getting the story and as abrasive as #60 sandpaper, which gets him into so much trouble and makes him fun to watch.

The movie has an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes.  Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz cited the “Night Stalker” films and TV show as inspiration for “The X-Files”.  Legal or not, the movie can be watched on youtube.

When Events Coincide: Bicycles beat religion

I keep expecting no more of these stories.  Maybe the increasing number of them is a good sign for the environment.

You might remember the news items about Ireland and the catholic cult’s reduced attendance due to the pandemic.  Now they have another problem: the loss of parking spaces on public roads.

In Fingal County, a protected bicycle lane has been created to allow cyclists (mostly commuters, children, and families) to use the roads safely.  This cycling lane comes at the cost of parking spaces along a stretch of road, which would require the catholics to park elsewhere and walk.

They’re griping that it’s “not viable given our age profile”.  Translation: the only people attending church are the old and wealthy, and they want everything for themselves, even at the expense of children’s safety.  And since they are all old, they’re not going to live as long as the kids they want to endanger.

I don’t see how this is a problem.

Right to worship being overtaken by right to cycle, church elder claims

The “right to worship is being overtaken by the right to cycle” under plans to install a segregated cycle path on the Howth Road in Dublin, the local Presbyterian church has said.

Fingal County Council plans to install bollards from Howth to Sutton to segregate the cycle lane from traffic. The intervention will prevent on-street parking for several kilometres, including in the area in front of the Victorian church.

Church elder Michael Sparksman said the congregation comes from a wide area across north Dublin and many elderly parishioners would be cut off from the church if unable to access it by car.

“The council suggested people walk, cycle or take public transport but that is really not viable given our age profile and the distances people come from,” he said.

[. . .]

“The council suggested parents could park in Howth and walk with the children. That would take 15-20 minutes, and what are they to do in the rain? It is an attitude that beggars belief and borders on arrogance,” he said.

In a statement, the council said the installation of bollards was “intended to improve road safety and create a safe environment for vulnerable road users and children to safely walk or cycle”.