20180622

ONLY JUST BEGUN

Michele Lee was an American of Polish, Hungarian and Russian descent. However "my grandmother was English, though." Of the TV series, 'Knots Landing', Michele Lee told Sylvia Lawler of 'The Morning Call' in 1992, "I really love the show. Karen is really me. I think Michele Lee/Karen MacKenzie is a girlfriend, somebody who is unthreatening to the audience. I like people and I don't believe in pretense. I just kind of cut through all that kind of stuff, and I think that people feel that when they're with me or talking to me.

"And I think that shows on camera. It might come from an early need to be liked, I don't know. But I have this outgoing personality that somehow feels unthreatening. I'm one of those people ... a nester. I keep things that are familiar around me all the time … That's one of the reasons I find myself in the same home for 22 years (or since 1970) and that I'm still friends with my ex-husband." Of the 'Knots Landing' cast and crew, Michele Lee maintained, "We're very familial."

The 6th last episode of the 1989-1990 season of 'Knots Landing' was titled 'Only Just Begun'. On the series, Paige Matheson tuned to car radio 93.2 FM, the station for golden oldies 24 hours a day. Written by Bernard Lechowick, Paige Matheson's favorite song growing up (before "things change"), 'We've Only Just Begun' by the Carpenters, was heard playing on the radio.

'We've Only Just Begun' which talked about "so many roads to choose, so much of life ahead and watching the signs along the way" peaked at No. 1 for 7 weeks in October 1970. Speaking to Carl Wiser on the Songfacts website in 2007, songwriter Paul Williams said of 'We've Only Just Begun', "'It had all the romantic beginnings of a bank commercial' is the way I describe it.

"There was actually a wonderful writer named Tony Asher who wrote for this ad agency, and he'd had a skiing accident and he broke his arm, so he couldn't write or play the piano or whatever. So he suggested Roger Nichols and I as replacements to write this ad. The ad agency called us and said, 'Look, we're going to show a young couple getting married, driving off into the sunset, and it's going to say, 'You've got a long way to go, we'd like to help you get there to the Crocker Bank.'

"And I went, Okay, what rhymes with Crocker? Crocker what? It was like ... to write a jingle. And they said very specifically, 'No we don't want a jingle.' What they asked for is what we would today (in 2007) call a music video. It was going to show a young couple getting married, driving off into the sunset. After the ceremony, the first kiss and all.

"So Roger and I wrote the song that would play over that. We wrote the first two verses of 'We've Only Just Begun'. We wrote a second version of the commercial that was a verse, and what became the bridge. We added a third verse just in case anybody would ever want to record it. And then I assumed that it would never, ever get cut again.

"Richard (Carpenter), I guess, heard me singing it on the TV commercial, and called and asked if there was a complete song. And we went, 'Well, funny you should ask.' And if there hadn't been a complete song, we would have lied and said, 'Well, of course there is,' and then sat down and written it. You know, songwriting in those days was like that, too.

"I remember finishing songs in the back seat of a publisher's car on the way to play it for a producer. Just, 'Come on, Fifth Dimension's recording, that song's perfect for them, let's go ... you can show it to them.' 'It's not done yet.' 'Finish it in the car.' You know, I think the trick for any songwriter is authenticity. For the young songwriter coming up who is connected to his generation, as I was connected to mine, write honestly about what's going on in the center of your life.

"You know, when 'We've Only Just Begun' was a Number 1 record, I think the Number 1 album in the country was 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'. So it was as far away from what was happening in the music scene as you can get. And yet it was a hit. I think it was a hit because of, obviously, Karen's (Karen Carpenter) amazing vocal, but I think that any time we write authentically and honestly about what's going on in the center of our chest, because people are so much alike, there's a big a chance that it's going on in the center of your chest, too.

"Relating to the specifics of relationships, and writing love songs, I tapped into something that seemed to work for my generation. I love the fact that some of the songs continue to survive, but I think that there's a window of opportunity for a time when you really, really relate to your generation. And I think a lot of us pass through that as songwriters."

Richard Carpenter told fans on his website about the song 'We've Only Just Begun', "This song has become our signature tune. Karen and I had met Roger Nichols and Paul Williams not long after we signed with A&M. Already fans of their work, we came to know them – and Paul’s singing, as he would occasionally stop in and sing with us while we rehearsed on the A&M sound stage.

"Around the time we were recording 'Close To You', I took notice of a TV commercial for the Crocker Bank. A soft-sell campaign, it featured a young couple getting married, and driving into the sunset. The song, expressly written for the commercial was 'We've Only Just Begun'. It caught my ear immediately. As the commercial featured Paul’s singing, I assumed it was a Nichols/Williams song, and spoke to Paul on the A&M lot shortly thereafter.

"Paul informed me that I was correct, and that the song did have both a bridge and a third verse. (I was curious, as the ads contained only the one or two verses.) Upon hearing the demo, I was convinced the song was a hit, and went into the sound stage to work out the arrangement. The single was released in August of 1970 and went on to become a smash, and one of the best known prothalamia ever written." 

In its 11th season, the main title of 'Knots Landing' was designed by Castle/Bryant/Johnsen of Panavision. The opening title featured a city built in the sand. The saying "castles in the air" translated to mean "plans that have very little chance of happening." In the song, 'We Don't Need Another Hero', Tina Turner sung about "All else are castles built in the air."

The expression came from the Bible from the Gospel of St. Matthew (Matthew 7:24-27), where, as noted, "Jesus compares the people who follow his teachings to a wise man, who built his house on rock, and those who did not to a foolish man, who built his house on sand. When floods came, the house built on rock remained standing but the house built on sand collapsed."

20180619

KNOTS LANDING

Michele Lee was a devout fan of 'Knots Landing'. She had appeared in all 344 episodes. Speaking to Deborah Wilker in 1997, Michele Lee maintained, "There was never anything like it on television. We're in a different world today. I'm not sure we'll ever see the same ratings shares we saw years ago. It's not all TV's fault. The viewer has really changed. If you don't hit every kid over the head with some kind of flash, they don't watch." 

David E. Kelley of 'Boston Legal' told the press in August 2005, "I think we had 48 minutes to the hour on 'L.A. Law' (1986-1994). Now (in 2005) we're down to 41 minutes. It's a terrible trend. If there's anything that makes me envious of cable television and wanting to run to that world, it's the intrusion of commercial breaks. We're now (in 2005) down to eight-minute acts before a Dodge Ram commercial comes pounding in. It's easy to come in after a break and have someone stab someone with a knife to get the viewer's attention back. But when you're coming in with a scene that's based more on character, it's just getting harder and harder. I haven't moved to cable yet." 

Critic Tom Jicha noted, "Actors always bring a part of themselves to a character." Speaking to 'Chicago Tribune' in 1991, Michele Lee mentioned, "I like to think of Karen as an 'Everywoman' who is living the American Dream. I feel a real sense of responsibility toward the character and often make suggestions to our writers about what I think should be happening in Karen's life.

"When I was going through a painful divorce from James Farentino, my husband of 15 years, Karen was coping with the loss of her husband, Sid Fairgate, who died in an automobile accident. The world was a very different place in 1981 (the year of her divorce) than when I'd married in 1966. I was able to use many of my own experiences of learning how to be single after years of being part of a couple. It helped me to portray what Karen was going through in an honest and sympathetic way."

By May 1989, 'Knots Landing' was syndicated in 53 countries. Although 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' got most of the media attention at the time, Kevin Dobson believed, "We've always just been there. We've never had any peaks or valleys. Those wild peaks can hurt a show because after all that excitement, there is always the inevitable letdown and decline."

Joseph Gian reminded, "There is great attention paid to style and detail on 'Knots Landing' that you won't find on other shows." Constance McCashin remembered, "We always had a great look. The quality of the writing, the editing, the lighting, everything was just so much better than what you typically see on TV." Bernard Lechowick added, "Our characters are not written black and white - all of our characters are gray."

'Knots Landing' chronicled the lives of middle-class families living on a California cul-de-sac and intertwining through normal, everyday circumstances. Deborah Wilker reported, "The series never wavered from its unpretentious roots, no matter the TV trend of the moment. There was always a comfortable less-is-more consistency - and remarkable continuity for a show that ran so long.

"Even in Year 14, there were story lines rooted in the first season. And there were props and backdrops you could always count on, such as Mack's 'Kiss The Cook' apron, Karen's circa '78 kitchen, and Val's sunny living room. From its first broadcast in December 1979, 'Knots' was a people's show, and like all the best soaps, was driven strictly by viewer devotion. Never the beneficiary of cushy time slots, big promotional campaigns or critical blessings, 'Knots Landing' quietly chugged along for 14 seasons, often to the amazement of network brass and TV critics who couldn't grasp its appeal."

Michele Lee observed, "There was just a certain innocence about the show that represented a kind of hope. It was real." David Jacobs insisted, "I always thought 'Knots' had the potential to last longer than 'Dallas' and even more so than 'Dynasty'. Those two shows were very much connected with the era of the '80s - the Reagan era. 'Knots' is the kind of show that is downscaled."

Speaking to the 'Los Angeles Times' in May 1990, Lawrence Kasha made the point, "We keep the show as middle-class as possible. They are not rarefied people or spoiled rich people. They share all of the problems that everyone can identify with - marriage, relationships, raising kids. Our rule is whatever happens in life could happen on 'Knots.' I think people in the '90s are different now - I think the people are quicker, fast and hipper. We have a trickier balance to worry about - how long will a story sustain itself?"

David Jacobs disclosed, "At the beginning of every season, I have a single storyline which I expect to be big and it turns out to be the weakest. The ones that turned out well have generally caught me by surprise. This season (1989-1990), the Val-Danny story seems to be catching peoples' imaginations more than I thought. If we have a good idea the Saturday before we start shooting, we put it in. We take chances. That's when we bomb we bomb big. I think the audience responds to that. I think they would rather see you be lousy knowing you are going to excite them and do something unexpected. That's how we keep going because we are unpredictable.

"I know that when 'Dynasty' was a real big show, a lot of people on our show wanted to go that way with heavy glitz and we really resisted that. The surprise in 'Knots Landing's' demographics is that there are many more men than you think - much more than watched 'Dallas' or 'Dynasty.' We have quite a big college audience and a black middle-class audience - especially young black women. It's dangerous, though, to try to write for demographics."

20180615

KNOTS LANDING

'Knots Landing' (1979-1993) followed the story of several middle-class families who lived side by side in a small suburban cul-de-sac in Southern California, known as Seaview Circle (real life Simi Valley). Joan Van Ark believed, "I think a 'Knots' revival could work. Its stories were grounded in reality." Michele Lee added, "We followed America. As America was changing, 'Knots Landing' was changing." 

The characters were described as "relatable people living out their suburban angst." Kevin Dobson explained, "You could touch these characters. You knew them. They were your neighbors, your relatives. So it was easy to relate. They weren't out of touch (with reality)." 

Creator David Jacobs pointed out, "'Knots' was never trendy, while 'Dallas' was. I'd always seen 'Dallas' as being very much a show of its time, while 'Knots Landing' changed and evolved with the times. 'Knots Landing' was never about its plots. What it's really about is the people that we've seen for the last 18 or 19 years (or since 1979). They're dealing with the same problems they dealt with earlier, but in a different time and at a different point in their lives." 

As Valene Ewing, Joan Van Ark observed, "She was the seed of the show. I am the sole person to spin off from 'Dallas' (because actor David Ackroyd originated the role of Gary on that show). Valene gave 'Knots' a note of spirituality. There was a heart that was Valene." 

On reflection, David Jacobs remarked, "When it did end (in 1993), there was a certain relief. There was a lot less work to be done. But David Selznick once ran into Somerset Maugham after Somerset Maugham had retired as a writer … and Selznick asked him, 'Do you miss writing?' and Maugham said, 'No, but I miss the company of my characters.' That sort of expresses the way I feel about 'Knots Landing.' ... You never get away from it, even though it's not on the air anymore. It's still there, and it's nice to see (the characters) again (in 1997)." 

In 1997, the reunion mini-series, 'Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac' went on air. Critic Deborah Wilker reminded, "Born in a vastly different TV era, 'Knots Landing' moved with the times but never lost its suburban-'70s soul - still the essence of its charm." 'Knots Landing' was regarded one of the first primetime dramas to probe social problems. The action of its central characters such as "helping poor people" was seen as "a vestige of their '60s idealism."

In one scene, Val's medical bill was discussed. An uninsured patient would be required to go to a different hospital. In another scene, Gary was considering a construction job offer in Michigan where the government had bought abandoned properties and was planning to turn it into low-cost housing area.

Joan Van Ark maintained, "An audience is going to return to characters that they felt they knew and that they connected with every Thursday night. And they want to reconnect with the people - with Karen, with Mack, with Gary, with Val, with Sumner, with all of them. They want to be with those friends again. And that's a really good thing. That's lucky for us." 

Michele Lee reiterated, "When they watched us, they were watching what was happening to them in America with all their dreams, their hopes and their problems ... In fact, I think we had the No. 1 black audience in television at the time, other than sports. The reason was that in 'Knots Landing', and I loved that about the show, we had neighbors who were black. And my husband on the show, his law partner was black. And we never talked about the differences of people at that time. We're talking about the '80s. We didn't get into, oh, a black man's living next to you and what are we going to do, or the whole town is going to hell in a handbasket."

Joan Van Ark insisted, "One of the reasons 'Knots' was so strong and lasted so long is that these were characters that weren't so over the top that they couldn't be revisited once a week." Michele Lee told The 'Los Angeles Times', unlike 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty', which were rooted in the affluence of the Reagan years, "This show is about the work ethic, the American family. It changes as our society changes. That's why 'Knots Landing' can run for another 20 years."

David Jacobs noted, "Unlike 'Dallas', which always returned to the struggle for control of Ewing Oil, we have always tried to change 'Knots Landing', and I guess it was inevitable that we would come upon a series of changes that didn't work. We have done some pretty absurd stories in the past, but we got away with it because the characters always behaved in a way that remained compelling to the audience."

Michele Lee concluded, "It's that wonderful thing about revisiting the past. It's never the same, but for some reason it's as if we never left. We went through marriages, deaths, boyfriends and breakups and god knows what during the course of 14 years."

20180612

SUPER-FRIENDS

"Evil power repels all goodness," Solomon Grundy said on the TV animation, 'Super-Friends'. In the episode, 'Monolith of Evil', first went on air in 1978, the Super-Friends found themselves tricked into traveling beneath the ocean floor straight through solid rock down into the underworld where the ancient evil monolith power source was buried near the center of the earth, surrounded by molten lava. 

The monolith was the single source of all evil power and the Legion of Doom was hell-bent on controlling the power source in their quest to conquer the universe. However the Justice League computer's analysis of the data revealed there was a flaw, "The power source is not evil. Monolith is just a source of energy like any other, good or bad, according to intent of its user." 

In an earlier episode, 'Wanted: The Super-Friends', viewers were introduced to the 13 sinister villains of all time. "A meeting will come to order. The Legion of Doom is now in session. It is the purpose of the Legion to align our infamous forces against the power of good and defeat them, leaving us the rulers of the world. To do this, we have gathered together the 13 most ruthless villains on earth. 

"The frigid Captain Cold; the sinister mind of Sinestro; the awesome Bizarro and Solomon Grundy; the cunning Cheetah and the super intelligent computer android, Brainiac; Black Manta and Grodd the gorilla; the Toyman and the humorous but sinister Riddler; the feminine yet ferocious Giganta and the hideous Scarecrow. Not to mention, the evil genius and brilliant leader shepherd myself Lex Luthor. 

"Our first act of villainy will be of the greatest importance to us all because in a short while any and all resistance to the Legion of Doom will crumble. My dream machine is programmed to seek out the sleeping minds of our arch-enemy the Super-Friends and subject them to our will. We will control their dream making our dream come true." (guffaw) 

Jeffrey Scott shared with fans in February 2015 on the Animation World Network website, "Two amazing things happened to me in 1977. First, I saw 'Star Wars'. As soon as I saw that enormous Imperial Star Destroyer glide into shot from above the big screen I knew I was going to love the movie! When I came out of the theater I felt like I was walking three feet off the pavement. Wow! I couldn't help thinking that this film was going to make a billion dollars. I underestimated. 

"The second thing that happened in 1977 was that my dad, Norman Maurer, who was story-editing 'Super-Friends' at Hanna-Barbera, sold his 'Robonic Stooges' series. This was to change my life forever. I was my dad's assistant story editor on 'Super-Friends'. So by his going off to run the 'Robonic Stooges' series I was promoted to story editor on 'Super-Friends'. 

"I went on to write a slew of episodes for the series that season, as well as edit the remaining scripts. The show was a huge hit for ABC, leading to an unprecedented pickup for the next season consisting of 32 half hours! With the previous season under my belt, and feeling cocky about the success of the series, I decided to write all 32 half-hour scripts. This was 'Challenge of the Super-Friends'. 

"The series was another big hit for ABC which gave my career a huge boost. But honestly, by today's (2015) standards the writing was awful! Animation writing has changed enormously since the 1970s. I'm happy to say, for the better. When I go back and re-read my old 'Super-Friends' scripts I cringe. The action was overwritten. Every angle and shot was called out, making some scripts 50 pages long, twice as long as many of the scripts I write today (in 2015). 

"And the dialogue was clichéd, stilted and just plain bad. Yet, for its day (1977-78), it was considered great. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera loved it. Peter Roth, the Director of Children's Programs at ABC loved it. And the viewers loved it. And if you like older animated shows, even today (in 2015) it's sort of okay, in an odd, campy, 'bad' sort of way. It's fascinating how art changes over the years just as technology changes. 

"The state of the writing art in animation is getting better and better. Countries like India and China are aware of this and are demanding better writers for their animated TV and features. Audiences expect better stories and gravitate toward productions with better writing. It's not expensive animation that makes a hit, it's a good story. As each generation grows up, watching and absorbing a higher quality of art, the current quality level becomes the base from which the new generation of artists refine their technique and improve the state of the art. We've come a long way in a century, in animation and in writing. I can't imagine what we'll see a century from now (in the 22nd century). Perhaps I'll literally be walking three feet off the pavement when I see it."

20180608

SUPER-FRIENDS

On the TV animation, 'Super-Friends', viewers were introduced to the undersea city of Atlantis and its capital in the episode 'World Beneath The Ice', first shown in 1978. In the episode, viewers were told of a civilization of polar people who had lived for thousand and thousand of years beneath the ice in the North Pole. Fearing an oil pipeline from the surface dwellers (understood to mean the human population) would soon be leaking into their world, resulting in the rising of temperatures, a Viking-like warrior leader named Torhana notified the High Council (comprised 6 members). 

The council decided to begin the next ice age in order to stop the advancing surface civilization. With the aid of the freeze ray, Torhana and his warriors moved into the Seven Seas to freeze all surface ships and put them in cold storage then beamed the whole planet into a blanket of ice. By the end of the episode both Wonder Woman and Superman called for tolerance. 

"In the world beneath the ice, sound waves must do the work of the eyes as well as the ears, providing the only clues about what may lie ahead in the often treacherous waters," Lee Dye reported in 1985. "But sound waves behave much differently under the ice cap than they do in the open ocean, clouding the 'picture' provided by such instruments as sonar, which is essentially an underwater radar system, and listening devices that should be able to distinguish between the sounds made by another submarine and the sounds of ice crashing against ice." 

Speaking to 'The Los Angeles Times', physicist turned oceanographer, James Wilson, who was on a five-year government-funded research project, made known, "The transmission of sound is just totally different there (near the North Pole). It's just a completely different world. The Arctic has been a scientifically ignored area. We're on the frontier of understanding what makes the Arctic work." 

The researchers reportedly discovered that sound waves were bent down sharply and then upward as they traveled beneath the ice cap, much the same as a window glass refracted the sun's light. Lee Dye was told, "The sound waves then strike the bottom of the ice and are either reflected back into the deep, or more often are scattered in many directions by the uneven surface, blurring any image that might be received by sensory devices." 

James Wilson acknowledged it was not clearly understood why the sound waves were bent so extremely but believed it could have something to do with the level of salinity, the extremely cold temperatures and the high pressures created by the weight of the massive ice fields. 'The Los Angeles Times' continued, "The bottom of the ice field, which is floating on the ocean, is very inconsistent, reflecting the dynamic forces that mold the field. 

"For example, giant pressure ridges form on top of the ice when two fields crush together, leaving a long scar across the ice field that may rise as high as 50 feet. The surface ridges are eroded by weather, but the same type of ridges form on the under side of the ice, where they are shielded from the weather. Those underwater formations, called 'keels', often extend down into the water as much as 150 feet, and that kind of formation can have a major impact on sound waves." 

James Wilson informed the world beneath the ice cap was a quiet world, deprived of the main source of sound waves in the open sea – passing ships. However, as Lee Dye understood, "It has its own symphony, of sorts, created by the powerful forces that shape that hostile region. That is especially true in the winter when storms grind continent-sized chunks of ice against each other, forming pressure ridges that could be insurmountable to anyone on foot. 

"The formation of a pressure ridge is accompanied by 'an almost rhythmic rumbling which has certain characteristics that we can detect' with sound sensors, easily distinguishing those phenomenas from the sounds made by a submarine." James Wilson also made the point, "The underwater sounds are replete with all sorts of biological life." 

"For some 20 million years," 'The New York Times' reported, "a region of the world comparable in size to Europe has remained hidden under Antarctic ice. Now (in 1978), systematic surveying with airborne radar is bringing to light its entombed mountains, ice-buried lakes – some more than 100 miles long – and deep troughs testifying to past upheavals in the Earth's history. 

"Radar probing has shown that the Antarctic ice in places is more than 15,000 feet thick, but, here and there beneath it, are tablelands and great sedimentary basins similar to those of Australia and Africa. The three continents were a single land mass 60-million years ago. Although the covering ice sheet is relatively smooth, the landscape that has been revealed beneath it is, in some regions, extremely rugged. 

"Along the 135th meridian, close to the western boundary of France's territorial claim, Adélie Land, a north-south escarpment has been discovered that is more than 8,200 feet high in some places and 160 miles long. East of it lie a trough with an ice-laden floor several thousand feet below sea level." The primary goal of ice sheet probing in West Antarctica was said to assist in assessing the possibility of a rapid slippage of a large section of ice into the sea that would raise global sea levels. West Antarctica was the region south of the American, and its cover of ice was regarded by some glaciologists as unstable. 

'The New York Times' also mentioned, "In East Antarctica, the vast continental block south of Australia and Africa, more than a million square miles of ice-buried terrain have already been mapped on a series of flight lines 30 to 60 miles apart. These have charted a series of mountains completely buried beneath the ice in the vicinity of the Soviet inland base, Vostok. They are known as the Gamburtsev Mountains."

20180605

THE SEVEN SEAS

In the 1981 episode 'The Scaraghosta Sea' of the TV animation, 'Super-Friends', viewers were introduced to an undersea world miles down deep beneath the ocean floor. Oceans were regarded man's continuing frontier. On 'Super-Friends', an earthquake near the coast of the Cape of Good Hope fault line created a giant whirlpool which propelled two scientists on the mini-submarine Explorer, Aquaman, Batman and Robin into an undersea harbor, inhabited by pirate ghosts. Using the power of modern ship, the sea pirates decided to set sail to the ocean surface to terrorize the Seven Seas again. 

Two-thirds of the Earth's surface lay beneath the oceans, it was reported in 1976, a new world different from what appeared on land. Sir Edward Bullard informed, "Sea floor mountains are all volcanoes, rocks are lava-formed black basalts, sediments and lavas are all quite young. On land, mountains are formed from flat rocks that have been squeezed and folded, the cores are granites, some rocks are 4,000 million years old.

"The landscape on the ocean floor features the mid-ocean ridge that runs around the world. Earthquakes continually occur, the seafloor is splitting apart, and lava flowing through the cracks forms new ocean floor. The ridge plates which make up either side of the ridge and adjacent continents are moving outwards. At the outer edges of the moving plates the sea floor plunges beneath the continents along a great earthquake belt.

"By tracing the history of sea floor movement, geologists discovered that the sea floor reflected past reversals in the Earth's magnetic field. The new insights give us a scientific basis for oil and mineral exploration. Not only is the floor of the Atlantic moving outward from the ridge, North America and Europe are moving, too, and getting farther and farther apart.

"Similar processes are at work in the South Atlantic where Africa and South America are separating, and in the Indian Ocean where India and Africa are getting farther apart. Australia and Antarctica are also separating. Clearly it is not possible for all the oceans to widen at the same time. If the continents move apart in some places, they must come closer together in others. To put it in another way, if sea floor is being created on the ridges, it must be destroyed somewhere else.

"The place where the sea floor disappears is marked by the great belts of earthquakes around the Pacific and in some other place, such as the Caribbean and there are of islands between the southern tip of South America and Antartica. The belts of earthquakes are shallow on the ocean side and run down under the continents to depths of six or seven hundred kilometers. It is now clear that, along these belts of earthquakes, the outward moving plates of ocean floor are plunging down beneath the continents and returning again to the depths from which they emerged when they were formed at the volcanoes in mid-ocean."

Richard Hoyt of the 'Honolulu Star-Bulletin' reported in 1968, "There are five main ways of studying the ocean floor and the crust beneath the floor.

1) Gravity profiles: Gravity varies directly with the density of matter. Stronger gravity means a heavier mass. A gravity profile, or measurement, is taken with a special meter aboard a plane or ship. These measurements help Lkanont scientists determine where older formations are being pushed.

2) Magnetic profiles: As each new ridge of lighter material is pushed upward it is imprinted with magnetic properties current at that time. Since magnetic fields of the Earth change periodically, the magnetization of succeeding generations of rock also differs. This is why scientists have been intrigued with ribbons of rock with different magnetic readings which run parallel to the ridges on the ocean floors.

3) Bottom photographs: Bottom photographs show only what an ocean floor looks like. A photograph can't show the more important crust beneath the floor.

4) Seismic probes: A seismic probe shows the depth of the sediments on the ocean floor and type and depth of the crust beneath that. The process known as a seismic refraction works like this - a depth charge or similar explosive is dumped from one research vessel and detonated. Another ship from 1000 feet to 60 miles away records the vibrations of the explosion as they are echoed upward. The information is interpreted into a profile, or model picture, of the crust beneath the ocean, the sediments on the ocean floor, and a middle layer between the two. Detailed records of the Earth's crust down to 10,000 feet below the ocean floor can be recorded with this technique.

5) Core samples: JOIDES is taking core samples, or actual physical samples of sediments and crust material, from ocean floors throughout the world by deep sea drilling. This drilling is similar to the proposed Mohole Project off the coast of Hawaii which was recently canceled."

Fantastic wealth in food and minerals lay beneath the oceans of the world would be used to serve the world's growing population. From the United Nations, 'RNS' reported in 1969, "When the nations began to discover the value of what was beneath the waters, the old, old story of property rights began, a problem facing the UN today. In developing the wealth of the waters a kind of international legalese has developed, problems facing the UN that would keep all the Philadelphia lawyers busy for a lifetime.

"It all began when the countries of the world realized that poet Thomas Gray, two centuries ago (in 1768), knew whereof he spoke when he wrote: 'Full many a gem of purest ray serene; The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear.' Technology is advancing steadily, and the UN is anxious to push forward with the juridical and scientific framework for things to come. Already (in 1969), US oil companies are producing petroleum from wells 200 meter under water. Within ten years (around 1979), it should be possible to reach oil deposits as deep as 2000 meters.

"Should there be a supranational power controlling the ocean floor? Should the continental shelves – those relatively shallow areas near the coastlines – or part of them, come under international control? Just where does the sea bed start? Can a country really claim sovereignty over a patch of ocean floor a couple of hundred miles from its shore? And what exactly constitutes 'the peaceful use' of the sea bed?

"For big powers such as the US and the (former) Soviet Union (or USSR), the military potential of underwater warfare is of critical importance. To small, developing nations, a sea shore could be a boom if exploitation of the riches by those technologically capable of the job would not threaten a potential neo-colonialism. To shipping interests it is important that safeguards against military purposes outside territorial waters do not interfere with traditional freedom of the seas. As complicated as the legal problems seem and as distant the hope for actual exploitation of the sea bed and ocean floor remain, scientists, reacting to the population explosion, hold that solutions will have to be found and progress made in answer to mankind's need of tomorrow."

Seabrook Hull of the 'Minneapolis Star and Tribune' reported in 1968, "There are more big rivers in the ocean than there are ashore. In fact, the ocean is a complex system of rivers, some of them moving more water past a given point in one day than 3,000 Mississippis. The ocean rivers bring semi-tropical climates to far nothern latitudes and moderate the extreme temperatures of the Earth's equatorial belt.

"They produce 'ocean lands' rich in bird and marine life, and they produce virtual ocean deserts. They course the surface of the great ocean basins in wide swirling patterns – while just below, a few hundred or a couple of thousand feet down – there are other, deep rivers just as big, just as numerous but traveling in exactly the opposite direction.

"There are waterfalls, ocean rivers that plunge into the abyssal depths of the sea – and upside down waterfalls, ocean currents flowing upwards that bring deep, cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface. And, there are underwater; and slides – violent mixes of churning water, mud and rock – that plunge down the continental slopes. These destroy everything in their path and are called turbidity currents.

"The ocean rivers are the currents of the ocean, a vital element in making the sea the way it is and, in turn, the whole world capable of supporting life as we know it. In the ages when sail was supreme, these currents enabled ships with seawise skippers to cut days, even weeks, off their voyages. It was an ocean current, too, that placed an iceberg in the path of the trans-Atlantic liner, the Titanic.

"Ocean currents, mainly, are responsible for the dense seasonal fogs off the Grand Banks (near Canada). And ocean currents enabled German U-boats to sneak in and out of the Mediterranean undetected throughout World War II – much to the amazement and consternation of Allied Forces listening and watching at the Strait of Gibraltar.

"It wasn't until after the end of the war that they learned from captured German records that the U-boats were using the ocean currents that flow through the Strait – in one side and out the other. The U-boats simply ballasted themselves for neutral buoyancy at the desired depth, positioned themselves in the proper current and drifted through.

"There are many factors responsible for ocean currents and the paths they follow, their speed, their constancy (or inconstancy), their chemical and physical properties, their attractiveness to marine life, and their relatively high independence of the body of water through which they pass. Ocean rivers travel thousands of miles, retaining their own identifying characteristics of temperature, salinity, and oxygen content, mixing very little with the water of the ocean through which they pass.

"The ocean rivers are produced, maintained and directed by such diverse forces as the rotation of the Earth; the freezing and melting of polar ice; the action of the sun in warming the water; the action of the atmosphere in warming and cooling the water; the wind; and, of course, the continental land masses, the islands and ocean floor terrain that shape the sedges and bottom of the ocean.

"It is also important that surface water get to the bottom. If it did not there would be no life there at all, other than bacteria that work on the wastes of the water column above. These bacteria need no oxygen. But everything else living does, and the only place the ocean water can get oxygen is at or near the surface. By far the greatest portion of the ocean's oxygen, however, is absorbed from the atmosphere.

"Therefore there must be a constant exchange of water between the surface and the deep ocean floor. The principle of this exchange is very simple: Heavier water sinks, while water lighter than the surrounding water rises. Water is made heavier by cooling it and/or by increasing its salinity. It is made light by warming it and/or reducing its salinity.

"The Mediterranean Sea has many rivers flowing into it and along its northern and west sides, at least, enjoys a normal amount of rain. However, the evaporation of water by the sun exceeds the total combined input of all of these sources. Its water must, therefore, be continually replaced. And, the only place that water can come from is the Atlantic. So, there is a continual inflow of Atlantic water through the Strait of Gibraltar. That accounts for the in-going current ridden by the German U-boats.

"Remember now, however, that evaporation exceeds the inflow of fresh water from other sources. So, the water of the Mediterranean is always getting saltier. Saltier water is heavier water, and it sinks. Gradually, as in the Arctic Ocean, the Mediterranean basin fills up with this heavier, saltier water until it is high enough to overflow the comparatively shallow shelf at Gibraltar. This it does, and it flows out along the bottom into the Atlantic, thus providing the U-boats with their outward-going current.

"These, then, are the major forces and influences at work producing and perpetuating the manifold currents of the ever-moving sea. They give us a good qualitative view of the world ocean river system. There is one other kind of current – the turbidity current. Suppose that off the mouth of a large river mud and silt and gravel build along the edge of the continental slope or a canyon in the ocean floor until, one day, the overhang becomes unstable and falls into the abyss.

"Or suppose an earthquake sets off an underwater landslide and mud and stones and boulders start rolling down the slope. Quickly this landslide mixes totally with the water through which it passes, and you have a very turbulent mix of watermade very heavy by the mud and stones rolling around in it. The turbidity current may reach high speeds and is very destructive. Scientists have no real way of measuring them, since they would destroy almost any instruments put in their paths.

"However, in 1927, an undersea earthquake in the vicinity of the Grand Banks set off a turbidity current that broke successively, one after another, a number of undersea telegraph cable. Operators of the cables, of course, knew exactly when the cables broke. And, they knew the distance from one cable to the next. Thus, they were able to calculate the speed at which the turbidity current moved down the oceanic slope. It was 60 miles per hour."

20180529

TEILHARD DE CHARDIN

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born 15 kilometers from Valery Giscard d’Estaing in May 1881. Jeffrey Hart reported, "Theologically, the figure of Teilhard de Chardin is central, with other revisionist theologians like Karl Rahner and Hans Kung cast in supporting roles." Thomas F. Staley added, "The impact of Chardin's thought on 20th century thinking has not been nearly as dramatic as the revelations of Darwin and Huxley in the 19th century, but his vision does not dim by comparison."

In his review of Robert Speaight's book, 'Teilhard de Chardin: A Biography' (1967), Martin Jarrett-Kerr of 'The Guardian' made the comment, "To many the Church's activity in the past hundred years must seem like that of an old-fashioned trade unionist: resistance to change for fear of redundancy in the age of automation. Perhaps in the long run the prime contribution of Father Teilhard was that he saw, more clearly than any other churchman of his time, the need for retraining.

"And this was not a reluctant awareness under threat of unemployment; it was an enthusiastic welcoming of the benefits of technology. This was what the old trade unionists of the Roman Curia could never grasp; the most they could grudgingly concede was the need for a modest regrouping in order to retain power. We knew already of this conflict in Teilhard's life; but Mr Speaight's fine new biography presents it more vividly than ever.

"It is written for an Anglo-Saxon audience – the one which is most embarrassed by Teilhard's exuberance (and, curiously in view of traditional English pelagianism, his optimism). It is also written by a skilled biographer, which helps. The author has had access to fresh facts and letters, some of which, for instance, show Teilhard’s appreciation of, and respectful duel with Marxism in a quite new light.

"Mr Speaight is wise, too, in his handling of the controversy over Teilhard's use of his formidable scientific equipment, over his poetic-sounding language, and his blend of the empirical with the visionary. He is well aware of Teilhard's philosophical and theological limitations, but is still able to present him as the astonishing person he was. The full tale of the suppression of his work – extending even to the stealing of his papers for delation to Rome – gives mordant justification to more recent (late 1960s) accusations that the Church is (or was) 'corrupt'.

"Teilhard had to resign himself to silent operation – to what in 1934 he called 'The activity of a microbe.' (Even the translation into German of papers which had already appeared in 'Etudes' was forbidden to him in 1954). The serenity with which he came to accept this vocation to silence was a part of his growth in cosmic detachment - 'Once you have penetrated to the very axis of the Christian outlook, the theological, disciplinary, and ceremonial excrescences count for little more than the musical theories when you are listening to music.'

"And he would have been untroubled by the fierce posthumous debate over his work. Congratulated in 1954 over his growing influence, he replied that his mission would only be fulfilled when others had gone beyond him. They have. It is."

In 1964, 'The Future of Man' was published. Comprised of past lectures Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had delivered, librarian Mrs. Herbert Callaway recounted, "The whole thesis of his lectures is that the Universe is still developing, and that the human spirit is still in the process of growth and development. That this process is situated within the sphere of consciousness, and not only of individual consciousness, but of collective consciousness.

"In 'The Future of Man' we have a study of mankind as approached on three levels – those of science, philosophy and theology … His approach to the subject of the advancement of mankind is at once technical and visionary. With a great amount of knowledge – historical and scientific – at his call, he is able to place his arguments firmly and with admirable logic, 'The whole future of the Earth, as of religion, seems to me to depend on the awakening of our faith in the future.'

"It is not a book to scan, or even to read rapidly. It demands strict and close attention at all times ... He establishes the fact that man, unlike all other animals, curves in upon himself – being a thinking creature. Other animals know, but only mankind knows that he knows. But this very incurving – introspection, makes it necessary for him to unify – to work together. This is a book for the scholar, by an outstanding scholar, scientist and philosopher. Available at your public library."

Translated from the French by Norman Dennys, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin expressed, "With the discovery of genes it appears we shall soon be able to control the mechanism of organic heredity. I salute those who have the courage to admit that their hopes extend that far; they are at the pinnacle of mankind."

Miles A Smith reported in 1964, "Teilhard was no ordinary mortal. One of his main theses is that the modern human being is not the end product of a hapless evolution, but a still evolving creature who will, and must, follow the coherent, predestined pressures of the cosmic life force to create in the future, by his own will, a race of ultra-humans.

"On the way to that position he argues that evolution is Darwinian (selection of the fittest) only so far as Man; that with Man it becomes, in a new realm of superconsciousness, Lamarckian (inheritance of acquired characteristics). In short, that Man is, or is bound to become, the master of his own fate. His philosophy is based on an irreversibility of progress and the inevitability of a planetary order. He stands at the opposite pole from thread-end existentialism."

Librarian Ray Smith: "'The Future of Man' contains essays written across 30 years (since 1934). To many American readers, very likely, this remarkable thinker first appeared somewhat hazily as the priest who rides in at the beginning and out at the close of Romain Gary's powerful novel 'The Roots of Heaven'. Father Teilhard ranges 'From the Pre-Human to the Ultra-Human' (this is a chapter title) in charting and projecting the curve of history.

"Beyond that, he discusses life and the planets … Inconsiderable though they appear against the vastness of space and the nebulae, nevertheless 'the planets are finally nothing less than the key-points of the Universe. It is through them that the axis of Life now passes; it is upon them that the energies of an Evolution principally concerned with the building of larger molecules is now concentrated.'

"The seer with such a vision can watch patiently and confidently the uncertain current steps of mankinds childhood on the globe, avoiding 'certain morbid symptoms, such as Sartrian existentialism,' and reflecting that 'the Earth is more likely to stop turning than is Mankind, as a whole likely to stop organizing and unifying itself.' It isn't necessary to follow Teilhard de Chardin into Catholic theological assumptions to find his notion of an eventual 'super-personalization' inspiring, nor is the notion unreasonable as the sum in the long account of another million years on the planet.

"Many may find in it increasing 'sustenance and necessary reassurance for our power of will.' In a vision much larger than that of Darwin or Marx, the priest-scientist signals a fresh turn in human reflection and a decisive role for the 'will to believe' in shaping the evolutionary process itself."

In reviewing the 1980 book, 'Towards A New Mysticism Teilhard de Chardin and Eastern Religions' by Ursula King, Thelma Forshaw of 'Fairfax Media' reported, "In 1950, five years before his death, he noted in his diary: 'God is not dead – but he changes.' He refers later to the 'transformation of the God of the Gospel into the God of Evolution.' The greatest aspect of Teilhard is his integrativeness. While others tear the world asunder, he draws all things together in a unifying vision.

"One cannot help but think dryly that the Church's suppression of Teilhard's ideas during his lifetime was due to fear of such an inspiredly innovative figure perhaps eclipsing in utterance the very Pope. When he was safely dead, they could then extrapolate what they wanted from his thought without having to take account of the august presence of the seer himself.

"The world prefers its mightiest wisdoms to emanate from the unanswering grave. It is the only acceptable way of dissociating the seer from his ideas without being thought an Inquisition. Teilhard's vision of the religious convergence of East and West is one that keeps me, at least, a Christian – so long as it doesn't become a devious Jesuit ploy for Christianity to swallow the East.

"It would be preferable, if at all, the other way around; we need the de-calcifying effect of Eastern religions on some of Christianity's inhuman dogmatic rigidities. Dr Ursula King's lovingly attentive examination of Teilhard's thought is completed by copious notes, a bibliography and index, and is invaluable for anyone who finds the profound works of this visionary opaque to the understanding. As Dr King says: 'Teilhard's is an idea that is yet to have its time. It belongs to the future.'"

The 7th book by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 'The Appearance of Man' (1966), afforded three chapters on the discovery of Peking Man. Author Lillian Smith noted, "The last section, 'The Singularities of the Human Species', the visionary, grounded firmly on scientific fact, beaming his prophetic mind across a million years into man's future. Time is of the essence of Teilhard's belief that there is purpose in humanity's presence on Earth.

"It is no accident, the birth of man: It arose from the prolonged play of forces of cosmogenesis. Human life came out of and is rooted deep in a purposeful evolutionary process – a process that gives a new dimension to all human thinking, action, and plans for the future. Without a profound grasp of the meaning of time ... Philosophers and dramatists forget that man is still a baby compared to other biological species, he has scarcely begun to talk – it required 300,000 years for him to learn how – and has only got to the ABC's of how to think.

"Man is no longer the center of the universe as he believed before Galileo's time but is rather the arrow shot toward the center of the universe in process of concentration. In every book he wrote, Chardin reminded contemporary man of a few things he must remember. For some billion of years, he tells us, the stuff of the universe has been ceaselessly weaving itself.

"Its last upthrust has been man himself; so recently evolved as a species that it is as though he appeared only a moment ago. The fact that homo sapiens (even homo erectus who used fire and made tools) has just arrived on an earth where other forms of life have been evolving for a billion years is a fact we cannot let ourselves forget. We are infants compared to the primates; hardly born compared to the ants.

"The British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, recently (in 1966) warned us that man's average IQ of 100 must rise to 150 if we want to stay alive on this Earth; and he gives us only a century or less to make this leap in intelligence. But we can do it. For as Teilhard reminds us, the Earth is round; and because it is round, we cannot escape each other: We are breathing down each other's necks, embracing and choking each other.

"Some of it is none too pleasant but this inevitable proximity, this increasing convergence, heats minds, raises psychic temperatures; awareness becomes more intense, reflection more complex, knowledge expands outwardly and inwardly. Man shows himself more and more dramatically as not only the one living creature who can think but as the only one who can, under pressure, make great leaps forward in the complexity of his thinking – as he has done during the last 50 years (since 1900), and we will assuredly do to a greater extent, during the next 50 years (to the end of 20th century)."

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