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Plugging In about Cable TV

by Dear Jon
July 14, 2009

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ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

What's up with the so-called "wireless" age? Seems since TV went to digital broadcast I now have more wires than ever! I have to plug in my TV, plug in my converter box, and of all things, plug in my antenna, and somehow connect them all with more wires just to watch TV! And God forbid I should want to hook up a DVD player or stereo speakers!

It's getting to the point where I have to plug in a power strip to another power strip just so I can have enough room for all the wires for my entertainment center! I thought technology was supposed to make our lives easier! Help!

Tangled in Electronics

Dear Elect!

You silly man, watching t.v. with an antenna. Everyone else knows that you were SUPPOSED to get cable or DirectTV. Everyone else knows that until you do, you will have a hopelessly impoverished quality of life.

(I am guessing you are a man because this issue is not of concern to most women. The vocabulary "entertainment center" was introduced into the language by males, and females still need to be trained in it. Women assume that an "entertainment center" is a place where they get to dance to the mellow sounds of a live band and someone ELSE brings THEM the pretzels. It's just one of those irreconcilable differences.)

You need to know the score, fellah. You are a saber tooth tiger and your paws are stuck in the tar. You need to get hip. You need to do what the government has designed for you to do through its strategic War on Analog Broadcasting. You need to get either cable television or DirectTV. Otherwise you will become just another fossil with impressive teeth.

Think of the benefits of all those extra channels. Golf has its own channel. Now you can watch re-runs of the good old days of Jack Niklaus. Wrestling and cage-fighting and other fighting sports can be found. An entire cable channel is devoted to the sports of the upper midwest's "Big Ten Conference" universities.

Some channels are devoted to religious programs. I caught a glimpse of a famous woman preacher who was justifying her large ward-robe. I did not stick with it for very long. 

Some channels are devoted to children's programming, at least that is what I thought. The afternoon cartoons feature juvenile characters that are so obnoxious I keep waiting for the main villain to come out with a Whiffle bat and just spank them all until they learn to mind their manners. But apparently that makes me a sick pervert. I do not permit my young child to watch the children's channels.

Some channels are devoted to news 24 hours per day. This was a trend launched by CNN, which is the news affiliate of TNT, both of which were established by media mogul Orson Welles in the guise of his alter-ego, William Rudolph Hess. (I might be mixed up on some of the facts. If you want to get it straight, look it up yourself.) Anyway, the cable news outlets have brought yellow journalism to life, including the strident, rancid and ill-conceived political "commentary" of a show called "The Oh Really Factor."

My favorite of all of these viewing options, of course, is the History Channel.

On the History Channel you can watch "Ice Road Truckers." This is a contest between some truck drivers to see which one of them will take the most stupid risks. Apparently the goal of the History Channel is to try to MAKE history for "Worst Reality Television Concepts of the Third Millennium" rather than run such boring programs as documentaries ABOUT actual historical events.

How naive of me to think, ha! ha!, that I might tune in to presidential biographies, or in-depth human stories from the Civil Rights movement. There is of course SOME of that programming still available. For example, they devoted a whole feature on the cultural impact of the ground-breaking book from the early 1970's, The Chariots of the Gods. This is the book that informed millions of readers that ancient human beings were too stupid to do anything and so it took aliens to build the pyramids.

There are also features devoted to uncovering whether Big Foot exists.

Meanwhile as the truck filled with toxic chemicals goes skidding around a curve, History Channel cuts to commercial. Will the truck jack-knife? Will the truck roll-over? Will one hundred tons of liquid plastic get dumped into the Baby Seal Preserve? You will find out in five minutes after we try to sell you bankruptcy services and new mops.

Now THIS is quality of life! Get a converter box? What, were you born in the last century or something?

Next on "Oh Really," unemployed Bush Policy Wonks and McCain campaign advisors answer the burning question on the minds of every American who loves this country: "Should we take Iran out with ground troops or nukes?"

I have a better idea. If you really want to go wireless, start reading books.

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