Category Archives: television

happy 62nd birthday, twilight zone.

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The Changing of the Guard – 1962 

(one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows by one of my favorite writers, rod serling)

 

OPENING: Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Spring School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.

Professor Ellis Fowler is an elderly English literature teacher at the Rock Spring School, a boys’ prep school, who is forced into retirement after teaching for 51 years at the school. Looking through his old yearbooks and reminiscing about his former students, he becomes convinced that all of his lessons have been in vain and that he has accomplished nothing with his life.

Deeply depressed, he prepares to kill himself on the night of Christmas Eve next to a statue of the famous educator Horace Mann, with its quote “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” Before he can follow through, however, he is called back to his classroom by a phantom bell, where he is visited by ghosts of several boys who were his students, all dead, several of whom died heroically.

The boys tell him of how he inspired them to become better men, and the difference he made in their lives. One posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions at Iwo Jima; another died of leukemia after exposure to X-rays during research into cancer treatments; another died at Pearl Harbor after saving 12 other men. All were inspired by Fowler’s teachings. Moved to tears, Fowler hears the phantom bell again, and his former pupils disappear. Now accepting of his retirement, content that his life is fuller for having enriched the lives of the boys, he listens to his current students caroling outside his home.

Closing: Professor Ellis Fowler, teacher, who discovered rather belatedly something of his own value. A very small scholastic lesson, from the campus of the Twilight Zone.

 

 

credits: imdb, twilight zone

just a stone’s throw away.

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‘ESPN to televise stone skipping competition from Mackinac Island. And I’m not kidding.’

– d.m.

 

“all sports for all people.”

*Pierre de Coubertin

*Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (French) 1863 – 1937, (also known as Pierre de Coubertin and Baron de Coubertin) was a French educator and historian, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and its second President.

 

 

credits: dave millar, roger priebe, mackinac island dockporters association

Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA – Spring 2020

sci-fi or reality tv?

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 Rod Serling – working at home in Connecticut, 1956

anti-war and social justice activist, tv-writer, producer, narrator

and one of my idols. 

*In 1955, the miscarriage of justice in the Emmett Till case proved a galvanizing point in the Civil Rights Movement. Rod Serling, a 30-year-old rising star in a golden age of dramatic television, watched the events play out in the news. He believed firmly in the burgeoning medium’s power for social justice. “The writer’s role is to be a menacer of the public’s conscience,” Serling later said. “He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus the issues of his time.”

Soon after the trial concluded, Serling, riding off the success of his most well-received teleplay to date, felt compelled write a teleplay around the racism that led to Till’s murder. But the censorship that followed by advertisers and networks, fearful of blowback from white, Southern audiences, forced Serling to rethink his approach. His response, ultimately, was “The Twilight Zone,” the iconic sci-fi anthology series that spoke truth to the era’s social ills and tackled themes of prejudice, bigotry, nuclear fears, war, among so many others. At this point in history, the censors didn’t know what to make of this genre and he was free to deliver his message in a new way.

in honor of Rod Serling on national science fiction day,

who understood the power of the arts

as a way to communicate important messages. 

“there are weapons that are simply thoughts.

for the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy.”

-rod serling

 

credits: Getty Images, *Smithsonian Magazine

less not more.

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i wish this option was available.

after noticing that my bill had made a huge monthly rate leap

it was time for yet another wacky interaction with my cable provider

the rep was very friendly as he told me

that my old rate was purely promotional

 it had expired without notice

and was no longer available

i then told him that in that case

i’d like to cut back on my service

to restore it to a more reasonable (yet still crazy) rate

he offered to get right to work for me

to find a happy solution to my problem

after thanking me often

during my 37 minutes of insane hold music

my rep came up with my new rate

 i laughed out loud when he quoted me a price

that was actually higher than the one

i was calling about when we began

 he quickly and politely explained

that he had provided me with their premier package

adding in home security, a landline, voice controls,

and i think something to do with walking my cat

(none of which i requested)

 he also told me that he had used

their new state of the art billing service

(why it took so long)

which is very finely tuned

to review my bill and only charge me

based on the channels and services i use

offering me the best possible deal available

i reminded him that i had actually called

to eliminate channels and extra services

and to pay less not more

he politely went back to work on my issue

after a lot more hold music

i eliminated my useless channels and services

declining the best deal in the universe

even after he warned me i would be giving up things such as:

the rodeo clown channel, the quilting channel, and the watching paint dry live channel

i held my ground

and finally

in a twist of fate and luck and cable math

i somehow ended up back at

the special no longer available promotional rate

that i had requested to return to when we started .

“the real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.”

-b. f. skinner 

 

 

 

image credit: gadgetpage.info