Cinema’s first Lois Lane dies at 95

Noel Neill died. When you think of classic Superman, she was the actress who was consistent throughout television and movies, because she was the first Lois Lane and had some link to the franchise for at least 7 decades.

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In 1948, she appeared in the “Superman” movie serial with Kirk Alyn. They did two serials. Then television came along and “Adventures of Superman” featured Phyllis Coates in its first season. She left the show, and the studio had Neill reprise her movie role for 78 episodes.

But that wasn’t the last we saw of Lois/Noel.

If you paid close attention to the first “Superman” movie with Christopher Reeve in 1978, you’ll notice a scene when a young Clark Kent races a train. A girl looks out of the train window. That’s a young Lois Lane. And the woman  with her playing her mother? That’s Noel Neill.

And in 2006’s “Superman Returns,” there’s a wealthy old woman who dies at the beginning and leaves her fortune to Lex Luthor. The actress was Noel Neill.

Of course, she appeared in numerous other television and movie roles. But she’s the Lois Lane of all Lois Lanes.

She died Sunday in Tucson.

Muhammad Ali dies at 74. He was the greatest of all time.

You’re going to see a lot of tributes in coming days to Muhammad Ali, who died in Arizona last night of respiratory problems. People are going to say the three-time world champion heavyweight boxer transcended sports and was a great humanitarian. They’re going to say how he was a powerful symbol for oppressed people. They’re going to say how good he looked and how watching him in action was witnessing the physical expression of poetry.

Which is all true.

But don’t let the tributes fool you. When Muhammad Ali was at the peak of his talents, he was one of the most hated people in America. Black people loved him. White people hated and feared him. Anyone who was alive in the ’60s and ’70s knows that was the case. He was hated because, unlike today’s athletes, he spoke out against injustice.

Remember civil rights? When people were saying we’ll all get along by just grabbing hands and singing “Kumbaya,” Ali was in America’s face talking about its hypocrisy:

In the previous video, they talked about Vietnam, the issue that resulted in the the theft of his heavyweight crown. But when smug college boys tried to tell him that he wasn’t patriotic and anti-American because he wouldn’t support his country’s war against a tiny nation thousands of miles away, he threw the issue back in their faces.

He really threw terror into the hearts of white America. Don’t think that everything was beautiful and the multitudes agreed with the things he said at the time he said them. He was lightyears away from today’s athletes in terms of skill in a sport, but most of all in terms of impact on society. Today’s athletes aren’t going to do anything that threatens the removal from their sport or the loss of multimillion dollar sponsorships they have with sneaker companies.

The greatness of Muhammad Ali is that he gave up everything for what he believed.

Really, when you think about it, there are only two great athletes who spoke on behalf of black America when blatant racism was just the routine of life. Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.

Robinson was told to internalize the injustices he was subject to. Don’t fight back. Don’t say anything no matter what the bigots in the stands or on the fields said or did. So, in what was the right move for his time, Jackie took the abuse, but he also spoke up against it when the opportunity came.

Jackie Robinson died when he was 53. He died young, and I’ll always believe that the mistreatment he faced in his early years in baseball contributed to that.

One thing you can say for Muhammad Ali was that he didn’t internalize anything:

I’ve seen Muhammad Ali live twice and neither was in the ring. The first time was in 1979 at the No Nukes all-star concert at Madison Square Garden. He said a few words and tried to endorse a senate candidate, but the crowd was surly and shouted “No politics.” Which was kind of stupid because:

  1. The anti-nuclear movement has to be a political movement. I mean how else are you going to put an end to nuclear power and nuclear weapons unless you get politicians to pass laws against them? And …
  2. When you’re giving a concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden, you’re using a lot of kilowatts. Where do you think that energy is coming from other than the nuclear plant up the river.

Anyway, Ali left the stage and the bands played on before an oblivious crowd.

The second time I saw him was at the 2013 Louisville vs. Florida Sugar Bowl college football game in New Orleans.

It made me so sad. Look at that beautiful vibrant intelligent man of the 1960s, and then to see him 50 years later wasting away is heartbreaking.

But we shouldn’t feel sad, because we’ve witnessed one of the most important people of the 20th century.

He was the greatest of all time.

If humans disappeared from the Earth

So let’s say some intergalactic alien race, let’s call them Kanamits, came up with a special use for humans and took us all with them to their planet. What would happen to this third rock from the sun?

Well that’s depressing. If humans disappeared, the world would be a better place from nature’s perspective. It wouldn’t take that long: 500 years or so. And 500 years is nothing in the life of a 4.5 billion year old Earth. Hell, 500 years is nothing even if you’re deluded into believing the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

We need the Earth more than it needs us.

Let’s remember that.

World’s oldest person dies, now the new oldest person is 116

I saw this headline on Jezebel:
World’s Oldest Person and the Last American Born in the 1800s Dies at 116
When I saw this, I thought that if she was the world’s oldest person, doesn’t that make her the last person born in the 1800s? I was wrong:

Her death leaves a 116-year-old woman from Verbania, Italy, Emma Morano, as the world’s oldest person, and the only living person who was born in the 1800s. … Moreno was just a few months younger than Jones, according to the organization, which attempts to track all living supercentenarians.

There’s only one person left in the world who was born in the 19th century. That’s remarkable, but kind of obvious.