When Good People Do Nothing

See Update Below Last Week’s Story about the teacher-student sex scandal in a Colorado school — the principal and vice principal were indicted for failure to report the case, as required since they’re “mandatory reporters” of child abuse under state law — is followed up this week by another that really applies to the whole … Continue Reading

Originally posted 12 February 2018

Behind the Scenes at JPL

Long-time readers know that This is True was created while I still had a Day Job. It was a very cool job: I was on the engineering staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1986-1996 — True was started in 1994, so there was a two-year overlap).

Shortly after I left to pursue True full time, a friend of mine there took over a public outreach program: the “Solar System Ambassadors” who help educate the public about what NASA (and JPL in particular) are doing.

Continue ReadingBehind the Scenes at JPL

Originally posted 3 July 2017

The First Paramedics

The first most people in the world heard of paramedics was “Johnny and Roy” (Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe) — the lead medics in the Emergency! TV series (NBC, 1972-1977) based on the real life exploits of the Los Angeles County Fire Dept., which was one of the early pioneers in modern Emergency Medical Services.

But they weren’t the first.

Continue ReadingThe First Paramedics

Originally posted 11 November 2013

Randolph Mantooth: Still Active in EMS

The NBC television show Emergency!, which ran 123 episodes on NBC from 1972 to 1977, plus six made-for-TV movies that aired in 1978 and 1979, did a lot to make the public aware of professional Medics, playing a significant role in elevating the profession from mere “ambulance drivers.” The show starred Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe as Paramedics Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto, running out of the fictitious Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Station 51. It was the last show created by Jack Webb (of Dragnet and Adam-12 fame).

Continue ReadingRandolph Mantooth: Still Active in EMS

Originally posted 11 September 2013


People often try to tell me California is the weirdest state in the union. No way, I always reply: Florida is. I find more weird stories there than from any other state, even though California (with about 37 million residents) has twice the population as Florida (with about 18.5 million). One of their newspapers even has a recurring feature called “FloriDuh” — they know the weirdness that permeates the state.

Continue ReadingFloriDuh

Originally posted 24 May 2010

1984 in 2010: a ZT Influence

My recent blog post analyzing a Zero Tolerance case (Patrick Timoney’s “Gun”) showed just how crazy people can get trying to control others, and their desire to punish non-transgressions just the same as if the person was actually doing something wrong. Most people fully got the point. Others, to my shock, didn’t.

Continue Reading1984 in 2010: a ZT Influence

Originally posted 22 February 2010

Ed Freeman and Political Manipulation

I generally don’t want suggestions for True‘s Honorary Unsubscribe feature; my usual problem is having far too many possibilities for the one slot each week. In July 2009 a new trend started: people wanting me to do an Honorary Unsubscribe write-up for Ed Freeman, a brave Vietnam War helicopter pilot who saved about 30 shot-up kids and was awarded the Medal of Honor — the U.S.’s highest military decoration.

Continue ReadingEd Freeman and Political Manipulation

Originally posted 4 January 2010

Guns in America: Why?

Anytime I run a “gun story” I get a lot of comment from both hugely polarized Americans, who want to rant for or against guns, and foreign readers, who don’t understand the American “obsession” with arms. I’m going to take a stab at helping foreign readers understand it a bit better. But first, the “gun story” that prompted this essay, from True’s 15 February 2009 issue:

Continue ReadingGuns in America: Why?

Originally posted 16 February 2009

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