"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, November 29, 2010

Birthdays Today

Christian Doppler, the physicist who discovered the Doppler effect, was born today in 1803.   The Doppler effect explains why the sound of a siren is higher as the fire engine approaches an observer, and lower as the fire engine moves away from the observer; the sound waves are shortened or bunched up due to the relative motion of the oncoming fire engine, but elongated as the fire engine recedes.  

Maybe this is a stretch, but I see a similar phenomena in celebrity ages.   For movie actors, time seems to slow, because we see them all the time on TV in repeats of movies they made as much younger men.  For athletes, however, because we only generally see them playing in games that are happening right now -- no one watches games from twenty years ago, except in highlights -- they tend to age normally, like the rest of us (which means way too fast).   For instance, today is the birthday of Andrew McCarthy, the young actor from St. Elmo's Fire and other "Brat Pack" movies.   It is also the birthday of the great reliever for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera.   Who's older?   In my mind's eye, here is what they would look like:

Who's older?   Well, of course, Andrew McCarthy today turns 49, while Mariano Rivera is still going strong on the mound for the Yankees at a youthful 41.  

I actually kind of liked McCarthy in a recent Lifetime TV movie called Straight from the Heart about a widower cowboy who falls for a big city girl (Teri Polo).   Sappy, but he played a tough guy pretty well.   Unfortunately, guys like him have been completely typecast, so I'm afraid he'll only get roles like that on sappy TV movies.   

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