The United States Census Bureau estimates it wont happen until March, but according to the United Nations Population Division, today is the red-letter day the day when the number of people on our planet reaches 7 billion. Thats three times what it was when I was born!
According to a WWF assessment, we were already living 50 percent beyond the planet's biocapacity four years ago, and by 2030 humans will effectively need the capacity of two Earths.
Anyone know where we can find a new world?
OCTOBER 30, 2021 TURNING FOR HOME
Earlier this month, I told about the first two Vanderbilt Cup races on Long Island in the early years of the 20th century, as described in a book I gave my father for his birthday on this date in 1952.
The story now continues in The Vanderbilt Cup, Part Two, in which the book's author attends the 1910 event. There he becomes acquainted with another fan, a pretty young singer.
As a retired graphics person, I can't resist showing the leader board and the course diagram (with moving car icons) behind the grandstand. Also, now there are actual pit stops, and part of the course is paved!
OCTOBER 28, 2021 LAUGHING LARRY TURNS 100
In high school my best subjects were science and math, so when I went to Oberlin College I became a physics major. It was assumed that I would continue my science studies in graduate school at some larger institution. However, I had other interests including radio. I was the WOBC station director.
Gradually, physics became increasingly abstract to me, and I decided it would be better to pursue a career that I actually enjoyed. When I did go on to graduate school, it would not be in physics; it would be in radio and television.
I felt a twinge of guilt about becoming a mere broadcaster instead of a more prestigious scientist. Would I be wasting my abilities? Would I be wasting the four years of education that had cost my parents tens of thousands of dollars? But everyone agreed that, in choosing a career, it would be best to do what I wanted to do not what someone thought I ought to be doing. I applied to the highly recommended master's degree program at Syracuse University.
In due course, I received a letter from Lawrence Myers, Jr., the chairman of the Radio-TV Department. Dear Mr. Thomas: The Graduate School has forwarded to us your completed application for admission to Syracuse University to study in our department. Based on these credentials, which are outstanding, I am pleased to recommend that you be admitted.
May I add that I was particularly impressed with your discussion. It is unusual to switch from a field in which one has done relatively well to a new field. I sympathize with you, however, because my first degree was in chemical engineering!
After I obtained my Master's degree, I found employment at a small cable TV studio in Ohio. I wrote to Dr. Myers and described what I was doing in terms of studio operations and cost-per-thousand and all sorts of other things we'd been exposed to at Syracuse. He wrote back, Your work at the Marion CATV operation is a fascinating description. I trust you won't mind if I read excerpts to our new sequence, as it touches base with so many of the activities in which they are, or will be, engaged.
OCTOBER 26, 2021 HARDING'S HARD TRUTH
My first job in broadcasting was at a small cable TV studio in Marion, Ohio, starting in 1970. One of my coworkers had gone to school with John Dean (on the left below), of later Watergate fame. But the most famous Marionite was Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States. Although historians do not regard him highly, upon his unexpected death in office in 1923 he was deeply mourned. A marble memorial was erected on the south side of the city.
It was exactly 100 years ago today that President Harding traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, to congratulate that steel city on the 50th anniversary of its founding. He told a crowd of 100,000 that he was going to speak frankly to them. Parts of his speech received a mixed reaction.
Because Black laborers were migrating to the North, the President noted that race was becoming not merely a regional issue but a national one. Dean has written that Harding unflinchingly told his audience that political and economic equality for African-Americans was only a matter of time. The Constitution guaranteed political equality, he asserted. Let the Black man vote when he is fit to vote. Prohibit the white man voting when he is unfit to vote.
Cheers were heard from the segregated African-American section, but the white portion of the audience remained silent. Harding pointed directly to the whites and said, It is the problem of democracy everywhere, if we mean the things we say about democracy as the ideal political state. Whether you like it or not, our democracy is a lie unless you stand for that equality.
African-American scholar W.E.B. Dubois called the address a sudden thunder in blue skies, driving everyone who had discussed the Negro Problem out of the shadows and into the clear light of truth. On the other hand, Senator Thomas E. Watson of Georgia wondered why it was necessary for the Ohioan to travel to the South to lecture their people and accused Harding of planting fatal germs in the minds of the Black race. Senator Pat Harrison of Mississippi called the remarks unfortunate in the extreme and warned that if the President's theory is carried to its ultimate conclusion, then that means white women should work under Black men in public places. He noted with horror that it meant the Black man can strive to become President of the United States!
OCTOBER 25, 2021 SPORTS UPDATE
This late weekend score just in: Atlanta 33, Pittsburgh 3.
No, that's not a football score; it's actually a baseball score, and it's extremely late. On the weekend of May 22, the eventual National League champion Atlanta Braves launched thirteen home runs in three games to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates by margins of 20-1, 6-1, and 7-1.
OCTOBER 23, 2021 RARE CELLER
As an aging baby boomer, it was only a few years ago that I reluctantly slipped a cell phone into my pocket. I still communicate mostly at my desk, using the computer and landline phone. I check my emails often but texts rarely. I leave the smartphone switched off unless I'm expecting someone to call that number or I need it for some special purpose away from home for example, notifying a store or restaurant that I've arrived for curbside pickup.
I'm not typical. Arthur C. Brooks writes in The Atlantic about addiction to mobile devices. The average smartphone user rarely goes two hours without using her device and unlocks her device 50 or more times a day. You know what I mean: If you have 15 seconds of downtime in an elevator or waiting at a red light, out pops your phone. You are basically just killing time. He suggests ways to counteract mindless scrolling. Set times each day or week to look at your smartphone and really focus on it. Don't do anything else; be all about the phone for those minutes, as if it were your job.
Also some folks, expecting 3:00 AM messages, leave their cellphones on 24 hours a day! Brooks advises, Silo off parts of your home where your phone is not physically proximate, such as the dinner table and the bedroom. My personal strategy is to plug in my phone in the kitchen at night before I go upstairs to bed. If I wake up during the night, going to check it would take a lot of effort, so I don't.
Because my messages pop up via email on my desktop computer, my version is to locate it where I can't see it unless I'm actually at the desk.
A year ago, the NSA issued security recommendations to reduce hacking. They suggest turning a phone off and on to reboot it once every week. I'm well within that guideline, but I'll pass the NSA's advice along.
OCTOBER 21, 2021 THE WAY WE WERE
When I was in elementary school, as I reflect in this month's 100 Moons article, the left and the right did not seem to be such mortal enemies.
Mark Evanier has explained, Elvis was grotesquely overweight in his final years of touring. On stage, The King performed his greatest hits, accompanied by a group of back-up singers who aided him with the notes he could no longer reach. Even with this help, the King still delivered a show so short that, when he left the stage, everyone knew it was just a fake bow-off and he'd be coming back for ten more numbers.
Sometime before the turn of the century, I was working a telecast of a Memphis State football game from Liberty Bowl Municipal Stadium. The guys in the tape room had a selection of clips showing local Memphis tourist attractions, something like below, which we were using to assemble a series of billboards.
A local technician quietly suggested that we might want to redo the one featuring scenic #4. It featured an imposing equestrian statue that happened to be the memorial of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. We agreed and used a different clip.
By the way, that Jim-Crow-era statue was removed in 2017. Then four months ago, the remains of Forrest and his wife were exhumed from ten feet below the statue's base and taken to a vault in an undisclosed location.
OCTOBER 11, 2021 INDIGENOUS CRAFTS TIME
I have a couple of those gray stones in my apartment. Where did they come from? I'll speculate in an article about Native American Artifacts.
How do you excite a pro athlete? Change his circumstances. At least thats what hell tell you. Interview him and notice how often he uses the word excited.
Thats the typical athlete. Mr. Excitement. But how about you, Mr. Straight Talker? The trade that brought you to our city are you excited about it?
OCTOBER 8, 2021 PINK SURNAMES ARE FOR GIRLS
When she marries, an American woman such as Sarah Jessica Parker traditionally abandons her maiden name and adopts the surname of her husband to become Sarah Jessica Broderick. Their children are also Brodericks.
However, we're learning to respect the woman's identity and allow her to keep her birth name, especially if she's become well-known using that name. Many children of such marriages now include both parents as in Tabitha Parker-Broderick.
In Spain, names given to children also honor the mother by including two apellidos or surnames without hyphens, as in María Castro Molina. The order is: nombre or given name (Mary), father's first surname (Castle), mother's first surname (Miller). But because the last part is often omitted, this name would be alphabetized under C like the father. Ken Jennings remarks, Let's not kid ourselves. These are still patriarchal cultures.
So were the ancient Romans. They too often had three names, but the mother's was not among them.
In Plutarch's Parallel Lives, he explains while introducing Caius Marcius Coriolanus that Caius was the proper name; the second name, in this case Marcius, was the common name of family or clan; and the third name was adopted subsequently, and bestowed because of some exploit, or fortune, or bodily feature, or special excellence in a man. In this case Caius Marcius captured a town called Corioles (kuh-RYE-uh-lus), so his cognomen became Coriolanus (kor-e-uh-LANE-us).
So I, having been baptized Thomas with a Buckingham mother and a Thomas father, would have been Thomas Thomas Buckingham if I been born in Spain. And if I been born in ancient Rome, I would have been Thomas Thomas Chyronist.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 THE BIG RACE
Here's how racecar driver Louis Wagner described the beginning of his victory on the road course. Starting in tenth place, my time for the first lap, 28:36, enabled me to overtake and pass Nazzaro and Luttgen, then Heath and Le Blon.
It required half an hour to complete that first trip around the circuit? As you may have guessed, this was not a recent event. It took place on this date 115 years ago: October 6, 1906. Wagner and his riding mechanic were competing in the third annual Vanderbilt Cup Race near New York City.
The leading cars, Wagner wrote, were behaving with wonderful consistency. But the crowd! On rounding the Hairpin Turn for the second time, directly in the road were at least 50 persons as we approached the turn. They swiftly made way, but my car must have brushed at least a dozen coats while taking the turn. I actually shut my eyes and piloted the machine by blind instinct, expecting any moment to mow down several lives. That no one was slain was nothing less than a miracle, for the oil-sodden roadstead to one traveling faster than a mile a minute was nothing but a very narrow ribbon fringed at brief intervals with blotches of humanity.
As for the 11 sharp bends in the course, it was impossible for me to know from my own vision just when and where they may be met. For this knowledge I depended entirely upon my companion who directed the way with his hand.
The prestigious event soon proved too popular for its own good. Four years later an author attended the last of these Long Island spectacles, and I've quoted liberally from his book to assemble my latest article including lots of illustrations and even film footage. It's called The Vanderbilt Cup.
OCTOBER 3, 2021 POWERLESS PEOPLE
Here we see the O'Tent family as they leave their home on a beautiful Sunday morning. The father Imp and his teenage son are walking in one direction, while the mother and her daughters have headed the opposite way.
OCTOBER 1, 2021 THE YEAR IS WRONG
Last night CBS aired a two-hour special celebrating the start of the 50th year of its popular daytime game show, The Price Is Right. I could stand to watch only a few minutes of the hyperactive contestants jumping up and down and applauding their chances of winning big.
But I thought the show was even older than that. Sure enough, when they showed a 49-year-old tape of Bob Barker, the title was The New Price Is Right. There was an earlier program by that name?