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Guilty Pleasure

Posted Monday, July 16, 2012, at 8:05 AM

Oooh, what a seductive title.

But this is about cable television.

Probably the best statement I've heard about cable TV is a line from a John Mellencamp song, "57 channels and nothing's on."

You can tell the song is a bit dated as a famous musician had 57 channels, while today, Joe Sixpack has at least 157 channels.

But the point is still the same. You can pay (more or less) $11 for basic cable, which consists of two or three of your major networks and upwards of 10 channels you wouldn't force your enemy to watch. Suddenly, I am having visions of "A Clockwork Orange."

If however, you may be seduced into watching programs on "premium" channels, like History, Discovery, or ION, prepare to pay about $100 per month. Then, you discover that you 157 channels and almost nothing's on.

I just can't bring myself to pay a hundred bucks per month to watch TV. In the 60s and 70s, everyone had the three big networks, a PBS station, two or three local stations, and heaven knows what you may stumble across while clicking through the 99 frequencies on the UHF dial. Before you get excited, 99 frequencies would likely pull in three or four fuzzy channels from heaven knows where.

Back then, mothers would shoo us outdoor to play. It may have been 115-degrees and 115 percent humidity, but it didn't matter. Kids were supposed to play outdoors until the street lights came on.

Besides, if you did stay home to watch Cowboy Bob or Janie, when the mom next door started her vacuum cleaner, the TV would fuzz out.

The same happened with the blender and the garbage disposal. All you could do was hope she was just doing a quick "redding up" rather than a thorough cleaning.

Occasionally, a CB radio would come over the TV. Back then, I didn't understand why sometimes when the TV was broadcasting a CB conversation, the TV would suddenly be shut off and we were rushed outside.

As a highly non-technological person, the primary use of my computer is substitute typewriter. A year or so ago, I started using my computer to stream my favorite radio programs from around the country. Like a fungus, the possibilities started to grow on me.

Then, I hit pay dirt.

I learned there is more to Youtube than 20-somethings expanding their egos on video. It actually has good TV programs.

I am pretty sure that in the past several months, I have watched everything Youtube has on the evolution of man and the Roman Empire. I have also watched various historical documentaries from the BBC, History Channel, Discovery, and Learning Channel. Now I am exploring science. Everything from the discoveries of Leonardo Da Vinci to the latest theories of quantum physics and string field theory.

Recently, one of my sons, who just tried to "face time" me, taught me the mysteries of Hulu. In the 70s, an attempted "face time" would have ended in a fist fight.

So far, I have watched the entire first season of "WKRP in Cincinnati," all of "Hogan's Heroes," and a handful of episodes of various cartoons. The only disappointment is that I can't find "The Twilight Zone."

Hopefully, they have "All in the Family," and "Barney Miller."

I, the technotard who actually owns a working 1917 Underwood typewriter, have found myself in video heaven. For the first time in my life, anytime that I want to watch TV, there is always something on and I didn't even miss the beginning.

With this discovery, I am not sure how long it will be before I tell the cable company to go visit the Devil and die.

My man-cave has now unofficially moved from the garage and basement to the home office.

While I have never been much of a couch potato, I find myself happily ignoring my former evening activities and turning into an office-chair rutabaga.

Showing comments in chronological order
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Wherever those 99 frequencies you might pull in came from, it was always snowing something terrible there.

-- Posted by My Dime on Sat, Jul 28, 2012, at 12:47 PM

So True!

If my memory serves me, I think the only decent channel was #38 from Indy. There may also have been something from Chicago.


-- Posted by Charles Hear on Tue, Jul 31, 2012, at 8:03 AM

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