The David, a semi-submersible built in 1862 under the aegis of a desperate Confederate States of America, is most remarkable for its repeated and quiet failures. It was fifty feet long.

It is not considered a true submarine because part of its boiler protruded above the surface.  It used open ballast tanks to maintain depth and attacked with a "spar torpedo"--a 134-pound explosive charge mounted on the end of a metal pole.

The two people responsible for the David were Theodore Stoney and Julian Ravenel, both private citizens. They built the body from salvaged wood and metal; the boiler came from a train. The name David, given in earnest by Ravenel's wife, reflects the impossible gap between Confederate and Federal submersible technology.

The USS New Ironsides, David's first target, was equipped with fourteen smooth-bore cannons and was considered the world's most formidable watercraft. On the moonless night of October 5, 1863, the CSS David crawled through the Federal blockade outside Charleston Harbor; after being hailed fifty yards from target, the David's crew discharged a shotgun and charged.  The spar torpedo blew away part of New Ironsides' starboard quarter.

The upthrown water killed the David's boiler, and it floated, absorbing Federal small-arms fire. The assistant engineer returned to the vessel after having abandoned it, revived the fires, and navigated to safety. 

The CSS David would never damage another vessel.  After delivering three unsuccessful attacks that October, its last known incitement was to attack the frigate USS Wabash in April 1864.  Its ultimate fate is unknown.







Martha M. Boltz, The Washington Times. "The CSS David -- In a Class of Its own".

Department of the Navy -- Naval Historical Center.  "CSS David".

Wikipedia.  "CSS David".

David is a strange game.

Steam and digital distribution has done some interesting things to gaming. I was playing the console side of the market so I may be hyperbolizing circumstances but I remember 2005-2010 as a dark time in gaming. Nobody wanted to talk about it but every game was a copy of a copy. FPS was king and gaming had devolved in to a graphical pissing match between big names with no end in sight. Then something happened. I think it started with phone games but all of the sudden developers could make tiny, little games on a shoe string budget and get them to a consumer base that's all too ready for something original. That brings us to the present; what I'm naming the indie era. For about the last five years small teams and individuals have been churning out a dizzying array of creative and original titles. So in a way David was inevitable.

As far as categories go I would describe David as a side scrolling, physics-platformer, shooter. I'm going to try and unpack that. In David you play as a square named David who is tasked with defeating evil by a mysterious light source at the top of the screen. You can slide left and right and jump an indefinite number of times effectively letting you go where ever you want within a given stage. You also have a lot of inertia meaning that you can't stop on a dime. Even jumping will only slow a free fall. This makes movement a complex endeavor which becomes even more interesting when combined with the shooting mechanics. David receives a collection of translucent circles from the light that he can use as weapons. To fire them he must charge up the shot by holding down on the mouse button. As David charges the shot time gets progressively slower until everything is moving at a crawl. When the shot is charged David will make a small "ding" letting you know he can fire. Releasing the shot sends the circles zipping off toward where ever the cursor is on the screen. The shots have more spread when the cursor is close to David and go further with less spreading when the cursor is far away. After the circles have been fired they bounce around for a few seconds before returning to David. David has a sort of halo around him and only circles in the halo can be fired. All of this means that your vector relative to your shots determines how often you can fire and with how many missiles.

If that all sounded WAAAAAAY too complicated all I can say is that it becomes really easy after you get the hang of it. David uses his weird powers to face down a rogues gallery of triangles, rhombuses, and other assorted shapes of evil. Each level is essentially a boss arena where you face enemies formed into tight clumps that will try to slam into David. If you can leverage the game mechanics to give you the time and space when you need them then the boss battles become pretty easy. That said each level comes with it own gimmick that keeps things fresh and each level has an normal and hard mode. Only by beating all of the levels on both normal and hard can you face the final boss. If you hadn't already guessed the aesthetic leans toward minimalistic cubism; with mostly white shapes against midnight blue backgrounds with sparks of color here and there. The music is droning trance-techo that's barely worth mentioning.

And that's David. I'll leave this link here since googling the name is likely to bring up unrelated stuff.


Sesame Street character played by Northern Calloway.

When engineering the Sesame Street universe - the setting was a quiet New York City cul-de-sac, it was a time capsule of late 1960s New York - they were looking for characters with which to populate that universe. Old kindly white Mr. Hooper ran the little convenience store and one episode included a polite argument about the right way to make an egg cream. Next to it was a fix-it shop run by Latino Luis and his future wife Maria.

Local residents included a nice African American couple, Gordon and Susan, and a cantankerous homeless muppet who'd built an illegal squat underneath a pile of garbage.

They were looking for a cooler "older brother" type character, a good role model - and young, Afro'd and mutton chopped "David" fit the bill. He was aspiring to be a lawyer, but after Will Lee died, a real-life event that the show used to talk about death and loss, David took over Mr. Hooper's store. 

Calloway had an impressive background. A graduate of New York City's performing arts high school, he'd been a repertory actor with some chops, and became a fixture on the show. What nobody realized at the time was that he was mentally ill and progressively getting worse.

In 1980, in Nashville, Tennessee he was arrested in a suburban garage, naked from the waist down and screaming that he was David from Sesame Street and "they" were out to kill him. He'd beaten the female marketing director of the Tenneessee Performing Arts center with an iron bar, before fleeing. She was injured and bruised from her head down to her ribs, with serious head injuries.  He then smashed up a plate glass window, pounded a rock through a windshield, and then entered a home and started tearing up the place, even smashing light bulbs with his bare hands.

That was actually the beginning of the end. For the next seven years the show noted a steady deterioration of his health and mental state, punctuated by bizarre episodes including him outright biting the music director of a show in a fight.

By 1989 they had had enough, and realized things were never going to get better. A storyline involving a romantic interlude with Maria from the block was cancelled, leaving her character to eventually marry her real life husband, "Luis". They literally sent the character to the farm: the story was very quietly explained in 1989 that he permanently moved to the country to look after his grandmother and her farm.

In real life, Calloway was incarcerated in a mental facility, where he lived one more year before dying at 41 of cardiac arrest after getting into a violent altercation with an orderly

The Sesame Street world has dealt with some heavy stuff. A generation of kids remember Mr. Hooper's death and the show explaining that he wasn't coming back. They covered 9/11 and discussed emergencies and bad things that could happen, in an ininmitable Sesame Street way. Around the world, Sesame Street has had its various other country variants deal with issues: there's a Muppet in a hijab talking about female empowerment in the kind of places where women are property and chattel. There's even an HIV+ muppet in Africa explaining to children what the disease is and modelling hope of a decent life while it lasts. 

But mental illness? That's a subject that even they won't touch. David simply disappeared. Sent off to the farm. The most cliche and the most lazy of excuses as to why a euthanized pet doesn't come home, or we're not going to see a teenage pregnant neighbor for a while. 

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