June 12th, 2009

Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise  NCC-1701-A

Random: Television is dead!! Long Live Television!!

Huh. So they finally did it. I think this was originally scheduled for 2006, if I recall correctly, as it had just been announced when I was buying an old-style TV set in 1997, making me consider that I was investing in technology scheduled for obsolescence. But, given that I have cable, which I use almost exclusively for movies and perhaps three television shows I'll keep an eye on, I would have been Joe Clueless over this date, and not gotten around to getting a conversion box – I hadn't seen any advertisement indicating that this was about to happen. But I do find it simply kind of fascinating purely with regard to the history of technology to see a whole technology retired in such an organized way. Thus the jotting-down of this article here.

Friday marks final signoff for analog TV service
Jun 12, 10:59 AM (ET)

By PETER SVENSSON

NEW YORK (AP) - TV stations across the U.S. started cutting their analog signals Friday morning, ending a 60-year run for the technology and likely stranding more than 1 million unprepared homes without TV service.

The Federal Communications Commission put 4,000 operators on standby for calls from confused viewers, and set up demonstration centers in several cities. Volunteer groups and local government agencies were helping elderly viewers set up digital converter boxes that keep older TVs functioning. Any set hooked up to cable or a satellite dish is unaffected.

"When you're alone like me, that's my partner," Patricia Bruchalski, 82, said about her TV.

Bruchalski, a pianist and former opera singer who lives in Brooklyn Park, Md., got assistance Thursday from Anne Arundel County's Department of Aging and Disabilities and a community organization called Partners in Care. After her converter box was installed, Bruchalski marveled that digital broadcasts seemed clearer and gave her more channels - about 15 instead of the three she was used to.

"You're going to be up all night watching TV now," volunteer installer Rick Ebling told her.

Around 15 percent of U.S. households don't have satellite or cable, and they tend to be poorer. Nielsen Co. said minority households were less likely to be prepared for Friday's analog shutdown, as were households consisting of people under age 35.

A survey sponsored by broadcasters showed that Americans are well aware of the switch, thanks to two years of advertising about it. But many people simply procrastinated.

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Holy Wisdom/Hagia Sophia

Theological Notebook: NCR Article on the Rebirth of an Urban Jersey Parish

An interesting article in the National Catholic Reporter about the restoration of an urban Jersey parish. I guess this really strikes me because it plugs into much of the vision of the Church that I'm working on in my dissertation. That work has got me quite curious and concerned about how local priest are (or are not?) being trained in their seminary education to cultivate the spiritual gifts of the laity, and not just being made to focus on cultivating their own spiritual gifts. In other words, are they being made simply into leaders, or are they being made into those who will cultivate and raise up the leadership potential in those they lead, leadership potential of other sorts that the ministerial priesthood?

Rebuilding a parish, pastor comes to love people more
Jersey City, N.J.


Our Lady of Czestochowa Church was packed for the 12:30 Mass on Mother's Day. Four families waited at the rear of the church with their infants who were to be baptized. In the congregation, there were dozens of young families with young children and scores of young singles.

Fr. Tom Iwanowski looked out familiarly on a congregation whose primary membership is made up of people between the ages of 25 and 50, a demographic that most religious leaders would covet. In little more than a month he would be moving on from this community where he had arrived 14 years ago, at the request of the previous archbishop of Newark, with the simple mandate to "go and change the direction of the parish."

Change it he did.

The story of the transformation of OLC, or Our Lady of the Waterfront, both tags now popularly used to refer to the Jersey City parish, is a tale simultaneously of how disruptive change can be, of the ease with which the Vatican's attention can be turned toward relatively unimportant local matters by a vocal minority, of the professional skills and enormous work it takes to be a successful pastor today and of the arbitrary nature of Catholic existence where the character and work of a community can be undone in an instant.

That latter point was perhaps the most compelling matter the day of my visit. It hung over everything. What will happen, was the prevailing question, when Fr. Tom leaves?

The question was probably much the same for the few Poles who still inhabited the parish 14 years ago: What will happen when we get the new guy?

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