Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Television

(Main Source)
I used to watch a lot of television. It was a way to unwind at the end of a long day. When I was a kid, we'd come home from school, do our homework, then Dad would come home from work. We'd all sit down to eat supper, we'd usually hear how Dad's day went at work. That bit was always humorous, unless Dad was pissed about something, rare but it usually involved somebody at his workplace doing something "stupid" which he then had to fix. And no, the apple did not fall far from the tree.

After everyone was done eating, when my brothers and I were a little older, we'd sometimes talk about current events, or something which was going on at school, or something which Mom was involved with. This happened at the supper table, after the dishes had been cleared and Mom and Dad were having their coffee. After these discussions, we'd retire to the living room to watch television. All four channels, in glorious black and white. Sometime in high school, I think, we got a color set. But still only four channels: ABC, CBS, NBC (all out of Boston), and a PBS station, which I think was actually out of Vermont. Might have been New Hampshire.

But television was only on the menu if our homework was done. Rules were rules. But we did watch it as a family. Dad controlled the "remote" ("Son, switch it to NBC. No, go back to CBS...") and we usually watched what he wanted to watch. Old school with Dad getting to choose but the system worked. Wasn't all that much to choose from anyway.

We followed pretty much the same protocol when I got married, we had kids, and all the progeny were still living at home. Depending on where we lived, we either had about the same number of channels when I was a kid (but with one major caveat) or we had more channels, depending on whether or not The Missus Herself and I decided that we could afford cable TV. Which for our two major Stateside assignments was a "yes, we can afford that". Those two assignments being Colorado and Nebraska, all of about eight years. The rest of the time was spent in foreign lands.

In Korea we had one channel in English and I think three (maybe four) in, duh, Korean. The sole English channel was AFKN, the Armed Forces Korea Network, which showed a lot of reruns but did show sports live. The sporting events were at odd hours, Korea being 13 hours ahead of Eastern time. (Think Super Bowl at 7 AM, IIRC. As that was 7 AM on a Monday, we usually watched it at work. There's a story there, I think. POCIR.)

In Germany we also had the Armed Forces Network (AFN), which broadcast reruns and sporting events in English. There were also a couple of Dutch and at least one Belgian channel that broadcast very recent American TV shows in English, with subtitles of course. The Dutch and the Belgians liked their shows in the original languages. I once watched a very interesting show about a rescue squad in what appeared to be South Africa. Involved helicopters and such and was very exciting. Even though the show seemed to be in Dutch, it also had Dutch subtitles. Which I thought odd until I mentioned the show to a Dutch colleague who said, "South African show, right?"

"Right," I agreed, that's when it dawned on me, "The show is in Afrikaans, right?"

Well, indeed it was and Afrikaans (apparently) is different enough from Dutch that they have subtitles. They sounded awfully close to me, but I don't speak Dutch, I simply enjoy reading the subtitles.

They are, indeed different, here's an example:
Dutch - Kent u het verschil zien?Afrikaans - Het jy die verskil sien?
Close, but no cigar. (Incidentally, in English the phrase is "Do you see the difference?" - I'm a clever bugger ain't I?)

Yes, I am invariably attracted to subtitles even if I don't speak the language. It's odd really, might be my affinity for languages.

Now Germany and Japan are different beasts altogether when it comes to subtitles. (I have to admit my experience with Japanese TV is very limited, a couple of hours in the day room on Okinawa watching a John Wayne movie dubbed in Japanese. Why John Wayne's voice over was a very squeaky, high pitched speaker was somewhat disconcerting. Though hysterical in the extreme to a bunch of GIs who had consumed perhaps one beer too many.)

German television back in the '90s did show some fairly new American TV shows, but they were all dubbed in German. The older Germans liked that, the younger Germans did not. Back then the older Germans called the shots. These days I wonder if the shows are all dubbed in Arabic?

Anyhoo...

Some years back I grew tired of the ever increasing number of commercials on TV. A "30 minute" show had perhaps 20 minutes of actual show, the rest was commercials. It got to the point where I hardly ever watched TV, when I did it was only three or four shows (NCIS was one, though when Ziva left, so did I. Sorry Gibbs.)

Three years back I sat down on a Sunday to watch the Patriots season opener. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the temperature was a comfortable 70-ish and I was all set for a day of football.

Phil Simms started yapping about something, I turned the volume off, gazed out the window and asked myself, why am I sitting inside on this glorious day listening to this idiot?

I haven't watched much football since then. With recent events in the NFL, I'll be surprised if I watch any football this season. No, I don't think Roger Goodell is Satan, but I do think they have each other on speed dial. No, it's not because of "deflategate," which here in New England we call "Roger Goodell is a giant flaming a-hole." Or something to that effect.

Now players are doing stupid things on the sidelines and it goes on and on.

Western Civilization has fallen. We're all waiting to see what replaces it.

No, I don't watch commercial TV anymore. Give me my Netflix and I'm content.

Remember the old saying "hundreds of channels and there's nothing on TV"? While that was kind of true back in the day, it almost goes without saying now. Watch the news? Why? Which network do I want lying to me? How about none of the above.

Sigh, I liked it better when I was a kid. Even if it was only four channels...




32 comments:

  1. I got into the Ranger baseball in the early 70's. All Star break, they were on top, end of the season, no where to be seen.
    That didn't take long to kill my enthusiasm. When Tom Landry left, so did I. Larry Bird was the only b-ball player I was interested in watching. But I didn't have a TV during most of his career.

    I like making things and being outside. Of course, here on the SURFACE OF THE SUN(!!!!).... better do it smart, or you'll be passed out in the weeds by supper.

    Happy Wed. from south Texas!

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    1. Surface of the sun, is that near El Paso?

      Enjoy your Wednesday STxAR.

      Delete
  2. "Which network do I want lying to me?" that is the baseline that all ought to start from. For me-Amazon Prime, Netflix and OTA TIVO do the job. Zero commercials and the Mute button is the one with the letters most worn. Sometimes I have the TV on, muted, just to entertain my cat (that alone is worth the $20/month).

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    1. Entertaining the cat is important. Had a cat (Tommy) when I was a kid, he loved hockey. That boy's eyes were glued to that puck. Every so often he's try to grab it. Talk about frustrated!

      I can't even listen to the radio anymore, on the drive home from work yesterday (20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic), they had nothing but ads for 15 minutes. I'd rather listen to road noise!

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    2. The CD player in my truck plays MP3 formatted discs, so I listen to Old Time Radio, as I tool down the highway.

      Delete
    3. On occasion I'll pop a CD into the dash, but lately I've been running silent. Gives me time to think about what I'll blog about.

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  3. No watching NFL this year ...only watched a minimal amount last year.
    I'm not particularly interested in the NCAA game much either.
    It has stopped being a game.
    One grandson is playing freshman football in HS.
    I will watch his games.

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    1. I have never really cared for the NCAA version of football. I will watch the Army-Navy game, that's it.

      Delete
  4. I do remember those days, very similar in my home. I admit to still being addicted to TV though usually with a PC on my lap or practicing guitar. Not fond of the pregame stuff, but I can't no have my football.

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    1. Roger Goodell has pretty much killed my desire to watch the NFL.

      After they fire him, I might start watching again.

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    2. "After they fire him, I might start watching again"

      Nope, When they get rid of the ungrateful, yet grossly overpaid given the worth of their skillset, gang bangers whose only apparent talent is running fast and catching a thrown object, then I might reconsider....but probably not.

      Delete
    3. Well, there's that too.

      The problem, as I see it, is that management (Goodell and the owners) tolerate that sort of behavior in their employees, and no matter how much they're paid, they're still employees. If they didn't, I doubt we'd see the behavior you're alluding to. There's all sorts of juvenile bullshit behavior on the field I'd rather not see.

      I get it, but that behavior is more tolerable (to me anyway) than the crap that flows out of the league office.

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  5. "only three or four shows (NCIS was one, though when Ziva left, so did I. Sorry Gibbs.)"

    So, was one of the others "Madam Secretary"? That and NCIS are the only shows I watch. Yes, NCIS was better with Ziva, but I still watch it.

    Paul L. Quandt


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    1. No, Madame Secretary debuted in 2014 (I think), which was the year I had pretty much given up on network television.

      Before I gave up on TV, I would watch NCIS, Person of Interest, and Blue Bloods. There may have been another (other than Seinfeld reruns, I can watch those all day) but the name escapes me.

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  6. I bought the first season of STAR TREK: ENTERPRIE on DVD. Without commercials, each episode in 45 minutes long. So one in 4 minutes is reserved in the hour for ads.

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  7. Yep, back in the day there was actually QUALITY on TV, unlike today... sigh

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  8. Within the first sentence of a conversation I can detect a teevee watcher. They're human beings genetically, but Borg from the brain stem up. They've been assimilated. And just as the fish doesn't know it's wet, the Borg doesn't know it's been assimilated. Doesn't have a clue.

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    1. Never thought of it that why, but you're right.

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  9. The only reason I have TV is it comes with the internet (Xfinity). Other than an occasional NFL game, weeks will pass without turning it on. Principal reason? Ads.

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    1. Advertising will eventually kill commercial TV.

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  10. I would say that 90% of my TV watching is sports, Red Wings, Tigers, (Packers*) and Formula 1, with a occasional Sci Fi show.
    The kicker is that while the TV is on, so is the laptop or iPad. Surfing or reading until the noise from the speakers rise above the almost muted setting.
    Then I look at the replay to see what happened.
    *Now if the Packers are on I watch, listen and only read during the commercials.

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    1. The Packers were my favorites as a kid. Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Willie Davie, Herb Adderley... Man, I loved that team. The good old days.

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  11. "...on Okinawa watching a John Wayne movie dubbed in Japanese." I just got a very surreal image of John Wayne as Genghis Khan with Japanese subtitles; three separate cultures all jammed into one screen.

    Speaking of Netflix, do you watch any of the Marvel shows? I've heard they're Good, but very dark. Agents of SHIELD is about the only network show I watch anymore.

    Bruce Jones

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    1. The Duke as the Khan, that would be surreal.

      I haven't watched any of the Marvel shows, I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip Bruce.

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  12. Ahh the wonder that was AFN. I'll set the stage...young Airman in Germany in the mid 80's. Stranger in a strange land, I could speak about three phrases in German and understand almost that many. It is a lazy Saturday at work. No one was flying, weather was good and boring, no inspections and/or exercises in the foreseeable future...turn on the radio. They had one English language AFN channel. No kidding they had golf. On the radio. And the announcers were whispering as they described every single stance, glance, shoulder set, back swing, ball contact, follow through, flight and trajectory, length, lie, position, grain of the grass, slope of the course, color of the pants...(well you get the idea) and that was the abbreviated versions for the puts. I could actually feel the space/time continuum grind to a halt as I almost slipped into a Hillary style coma before I could hit the off switch. I went to the break room and turned on the TV, AFN...yep same golf game, same announcers, but with PICTURES! At that point I made a concerted effort to immerse myself in the local language, culture and LIFE! Best thing that happened to me on that whole trip! I guess I owe it all to AFN!

    MSG (Deplorable wanna be) Grumpy

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    1. Heh, golf on AFN radio, there's a classic.

      When we were in Germany it was a NATO assignment. No big American bases near us (closest was Bitburg, over a hundred miles away) and we lived in a small village. Absolutely loved it. Some of the best years of our lives.

      AFN was for sports, period. All the other stuff we got on Dutch and German TV. Sometimes Belgian. That was a great assignment.

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  13. ack in ancient times when I was stationed in the UK they still had "Pirate" radio stations just off the English coast on old WW II FLAK Towers or on ships outside terr. waters broadcasting R B, rock and roll, jazz--all of which was in short supply when BBC had a death grip on media in the UK in the 60s/early 70s. Most of the DJs were Dutch and spoke only Dutch. (funny, you'd have thought they would have had English speaking types since they were broadcasting to a 100% English-speaking audience) Anyway, I would often fall asleep listening to these stations with the radio on all night. Proof that there must be something to subliminal training after all is that a few years later when I married my new bride would comment how I would toss & turn, speaking in this strange language in my sleep. When she taped it, turns out I was speaking Dutch! But I could never recall/speak a word of the language when awake. Funny how the mind works..

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    1. Hahaha! Great story Virgil. I remember reading about thise pirate radio stations.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)