The Return Of Twin Peaks

The BBC is reporting that, according to creator David Lynch, Twin Peaks will be returning to your TV screen, in a series that will air on the Showtime network in 2016.

There’s not much news about the new show, other than that Lynch and Mark Frost, who created the original series, will write and produce all nine episodes of the new series.  No word on whether the Log Lady, dancing midgets, Agent Dale Cooper, lots of coffee, the White Room, or any of the other mainstays of the original series will be returning.

I wonder if the success of The Leftovers and some of the other bizarre TV series of the current day made the return of Twin Peaks possible.  The Leftovers is weird, but I maintain that Twin Peaks was the most otherworldly, head-scratching, chillingly strange TV show ever broadcast.  It had a certain hypnotic creepiness that made it impossible to miss.

I have no idea what the new show will be like, or how it will relate (if at all) to the old show.  I just know that, when the new series kicks off, I’ll definitely be watching.

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Statehouse Jolt

The other day I was walking past the Ohio Statehouse when I noticed a sign that I’d never noticed before — the green one, down there below the blue parking signs, that says “Electric Vehicle Charging Station.”

When I was a kid my mother often said “you learn something new every day,” and she was right.  I had no idea that the Ohio Statehouse had a charging station.

IMG_3391In fact, the Statehouse has six charging stations in its underground garage.  They were built and unveiled in 2011, at a total cost of $35,770.  No state funds were used; instead, the stations were built through grants from Clean Fuels Ohio and the U.S. Department of Energy and contributions from Honda of America, General Motors, Eaton Corporation, and Professional Supply, Inc.  Anyone using the stations pays 50 cents an hour for the electricity they draw, and the stations are supposed to be able to take an electric car battery from zero to full in six to eight hours.

I’m sure that there are electric cars in Columbus, but I don’t think there are very many.  I found myself wondering how often those six charging stations are used, and whether all six have ever been used at the same time.  I looked a report on the internet about usage of the stations, or how much has been paid for electricity, but I was unable to find anything.

Is the usage of the charging stations meeting the expectations that existed when they were announced, with some fanfare, three years ago?  I doubt it.  I wonder how many “green” initiatives end up not really panning out or producing the hoped-for results.  In the meantime, that little green sign looks kind of bent and lonely, doesn’t it?

Ohio’s Pathetic Non-Race For Governor

Every four years, the presidential campaigns come to Ohio and fight like crazy for the Buckeye State’s Electoral College votes.  They know that Ohio is the prototypical evenly divided swing state, with Democrats in the cities, Republicans in the rural areas, and a gaggle of independent voters who tend to vote for the candidate, not the party.

So why has Ohio’s gubernatorial race this year turned into a pathetic rout?

According to the most recent poll, incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich leads Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald by a whopping 22 points, and FitzGerald is even losing 1 in 4 Democratic voters to Kasich.  Even more damning — because we  know that modern politics is all about money — in September Kasich raised $1.6 million, whereas FitzGerald could only scrape together a measly $54,000.  The race is so uncompetitive that Kasich and Fitzgerald aren’t even going to debate, which is the first time that has happened in an Ohio gubernatorial race since 1978.

FitzGerald’s candidacy teaches a good lesson about the judgment, loyalty, and cover-your-ass mentality of our political classes.  FitzGerald was the chosen candidate of the Ohio Democratic Party, which engineered the process so that he did not face primary opposition.  It’s not entirely clear why they picked FitzGerald, a Cleveland politician who is largely unknown outside northern Ohio, but it is undisputed that they did a poor job of looking into his background.  When news surfaced that FitzGerald had been found in a car with a woman not his wife in the early morning hours, which in turn led to revelations that he had weirdly gone for years without a driver’s license, voters began to strongly question his ability to run the state and the flow of contributions turned into a tiny trickle.

FitzGerald’s campaign staffers — showing the commitment and dedication we have come to expect from our steadfast political classes — promptly jumped from the sinking ship, and the Ohio Democratic Party began pointing fingers in every direction in an effort to avoid the blame for a likely disaster.  Party Chairman Chris Redfern says there is no way he could have known that FitzGerald didn’t have a driver’s license and blamed the company that vetted the candidate, saying he wouldn’t hire them “to clean out my bird cage.”  Left unexplained is why the Ohio Democratic Party doesn’t do its own investigation and why they settled on FitzGerald in the first place, rather than allowing a primary that might have unearthed some of these issues before FitzGerald became the anointed candidate.

It’s sad that Ohio has ended up with an uncompetitive gubernatorial race, but at least it means we won’t be seeing as many political TV ads this fall.  And the rest of us would do well to remember this debacle the next time party leaders assure us that they know better than voters do and try to rig the process to avoid an honest test for a chosen candidate.