40 Years of Planet Earth

Life Begins

This Friday, my life began… so they tell me. And I don’t want to speak too soon, but it certainly seems to be an improvement on last year.

2013 saw me with kidney stones, glandular fever, an exploded computer, and a broken wrist, all by the end of March. 2014 is looking a lot better so far. I have written more than usual for the time of year. I have a new and exciting plan for the next 12 months, which starts with a new blog (about which, more later). I entered the Jameson-Empire Done in 60 Seconds Competition, and was flown to Norway earlier this week, for my first professional voice-over work, in which I was the narrator of a documentary about Maria Falconetti; star of the 1928 movie, The Passion of Joan of Arc.

So that’s 2014 so far… but, since Friday was my 40th birthday, how has the world changed during my lifetime?

I was born in the same month as Peter Benchley’s: Jaws. The same month in which Patty Hearst (Grandaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst) was kidnapped. In a year which marked the end of Richard Nixon’s career, and the beginning of Stephen King’s; whose first novel, Carrie, was published in April of that year… while the above mentioned, Ms. Hearst was holding up a bank with her new “friends”; yelling and pointing an M1 rifle at terrified patrons of the Hibernia Bank, at 1450 Noriega Street in San Francisco.

15 of 007’s 23 (official) outings have been released during my lifetime. Mr. Bond himself has had 4 faces in that time, while The Doctor has had 9.

648 episodes of Star Trek (including movies and animated episodes) and all 6 Star Wars movies to date have been filmed since I took my first steps.

1974 saw the opening of the ill-fated World Trade Centre in New York, as well as the birth of Rubik’s Cube, the VW Golf, Bar-Codes, Dungeons & Dragons, Hong Kong Phooey, Connect Four, Hello Kitty, Bailey’s Liqueur, Happy Days, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Little House on the Prairie… and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Quite a combination there.

Muhammad Ali reclaimed the World Heavyweight title; defeating George Foreman in the eighth round of the famed Rumble in the Jungle. And while Ali was knocking Foreman on the ground in Kinshasa, Anthropologist Donald Johanson was busy discovering the 3.2 million year old fossilised remains of our earliest known ancestor to walk upright; 2000 miles away, in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia.

The world has seen a lot of changes in my lifetime… it’s had to. Most of the things that govern modern life nowadays didn’t exist in any real sense when I was born; mobile phones, personal computers, the internet, video-games, GPS, and social media. Technology moves so fast now, that many of the things first used in my lifetime have already become obsolete: The Space Shuttle, Floppy discs, VHS tapes, CDs… Concorde.

There are twice as many people on this planet now than existed when I was born. Some of them that were born in my 20s now have driving licences for crying out loud… but I’ve been lucky enough to have seen the dawn of a new millennium. We have telescopes now that can detect far off worlds, orbiting distant stars. And whereas most believed in 1974, that of the stars in our galaxy, only a very few would have planets, it is now known that roughly 1 in every 5 stars has a planet capable of supporting life in some form or another. No human being has walked on the moon in my lifetime, but there is now an International Space Station, and commercial organizations all over the world now plan to have human-beings on Mars in the next 10 years.

Our planet got a great deal smaller during the last 40 years… but the universe got bigger, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.

Now, since that all went a bit serious for a second, I threw together something a little bit more fun for you; especially those who used to collect Top Trumps card sets when they were younger, as I did.

I thought it might be a nice 40th birthday treat to see how I would measure up against other things my age. So here, for your enjoyment, is the Sleepless Knight “Born in 74” Top Trumps series.

Jaws + Jim

Golf + Cube

C4 + Baileys

HKP + UPC

Lface + Kitty

King + D&D

In other news… the new blog should be appearing over the next couple of months. I have had trouble narrowing what I talk about down to a single subject, but I have managed to narrow it down to a single theme, so the new blog, when it arrives, will be exactly that: A new blog… on a new site.

I will keep you updated on that as things progress.

Sleep tight,

Sleepless Knight

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