Tag Archives: TV

We capitulated: We’re back on the TV grid

The Great No-Cable Experiment has ended.

We dumped Dish Network in January when the company that leaves no money-making stone unturned demanded a monthly rental fee for the equipment that had been in our house for nearly four years; we had wanted to suspend service for three months while we were RVing it down south and restart when we returned. My Beloved told them they could keep their expletive equipment, and we left for Texas. We saved $75 a month, added a few DVDs to our Netflix queue and happily enjoyed less celebrity news and pace-quickening weather reports.

When we returned in March, the only thing we missed from network TV was baseball. OK, I was the only one missing baseball. So I subscribed to mlb.com for $25 a month — still a deal.

But then the millionaires  in charge at the NFL decided to kiss and make up, and the NFL doesn’t offer games via the internet. My Beloved started hyperventilating when he realized he couldn’t see his Bears every weekend unless he made a sojourn to the neighbor’s garage.

And Netflix, taking a page from Dish Network’s handbook on “How To Squeeze Every Last Cent from Your Consumers,” raised its rates and co-mingled … or merged … or morphed with Quickster. Buh-bye, whatever you’re calling yourself.

So now we’ve gotten into bed with DirecTV, which has yet to betray us (it’s probably coming, I know). Yesterday, DirecTV installed their equipment, and now my Beloved gets NFL Sunday Ticket — which includes all the NFL games — for “free.” We got a smokin’ deal, thanks to a referral from my brother-in-law, so at $40 a month, we’re still paying less than we did to Dish Network. My husband asked why he has to put up with commercials on television for which he’s paying. Why? This is America and Americans are capitalists, that’s why!

Alas, after a nine-month hiatus, we discovered last night that even with 240 channels, there’s still nothing on TV.


Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It’s lunch time!

Some people travel to meet new people. Some people travel for the sightseeing. Some people travel just to get away from the tedium of being at home.

I travel for the food. Whenever I visit a bed-and-breakfast inn, it’s the morning meal that makes or breaks the stay. I can avoid chain restaurants when I’m with my Beloved, who has a nose (tongue?) for hole-in-the-wall dining establishments. I rarely order a safe and familiar hamburger and french fries, unless I’m in an establishment known for its hamburgers and french fries.

I want to experience the food. When in Rome, eat like a locavore.

That said, I admire Anthony Bourdain’s adventurous palate. Bourdain is the world-traveling star of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, and he finds cultural significance in a location’s food. That man will eat almost everything, and he finds something appealing in just about anything.

I will not eat insects or most varieties of raw meat or fungus, like I’ve seen Bourdain devour with a smile and a witty aside. But, like him, I refuse to dine my way through a trip at McDonald’s and Chili’s. Keep your all-you-can-eat buffets, and God forbid we stop at a Cracker Barrel.

Have you heard the joke about McDonald’s? There’s a big vat in back and it’s filled with gray sludge. When you order a hamburger … slurp, one hamburger, coming right up. Out spits a hamburger. French fries? Slurp! Small fries. Cola? Slurp, a cola spits out. One more slurp! Here’s your change.

It’s all the same stuff. Heavy on calories, light on flavor. When you eat at McDonald’s, you’re not dining, you’re digesting.

So, when the waitress asked me how I wanted my shrimp po boy “dressed” at lunch today, I said, “Make it the way it usually comes. I want it that way.”

That sandwich with deep-fried cornmeal encrusted shrimp came with lettuce, tomato, onion, a slice of cheese and a smear of mayonnaise. And on the side? Thin-sliced deep-fried pickles.

“Po boy” sandwiches are few and far between at home, and shrimp po boys? Even more rare. Was I dining on alligator eyeballs or pig’s testicles? Nope. But still, a good reflection of the South and the coast and the little cafe’s local cook’s tastes.

And oh boy, was it good!

Takes a shunning and keeps on running

“The Biggest Loser” is on my short list of must-see TV programs, and it’s on my Beloved’s short list of not-for-me programs. So, most Tuesday nights, I spend the first hour of “The Biggest Loser” watching it while walking on the treadmill at Snap Fitness, and then I sneak in the second hour at some point later in the week when Tyler isn’t watching TV with me.

Those NBC schedulers messed me up tonight, and I ended up watching “Glee” on Fox and Jim Gaffigan on Comedy Central while I was on treadmill because “The Biggest Loser” was delayed an hour (“Glee” was gleefully Christmasy and Jim Gaffigan and his bacon jokes kept me laughing so I’m not complaining).

My Beloved relented when I got home, and we watched “The Biggest Loser” despite his objections to Jillian’s obnoxiousness.

I watch “The Biggest Loser” for the heartwarming stories of triumph and the amazing weight transformations.

We snapped a shot of this Pace Arrow when we glimpsed it last September from the interstate in Minnesota.

His favorite part? Besides the end?

At one point during the marathon, contestant Elizabeth ran in front of a 1983 Pace Arrow camper. “Hey, there’s our RV!” he said, rewinding to take a second (and third and fourth look) at the recreational vehicle that looked eerily like the version sitting outside in front of our house. “Look at those awnings over the windows. Looks like its in pretty good shape.”

Hey, if I can watch football games and remark on the new uniform fashions, I guess he can watch reality TV and marvel at the mechanical longevity of Pace Arrow RVs.

Television generation

Some people’s dads are farmers. Some people’s dads are writers. Some people’s dads are presidents.

My dad is a television repairman and salesman. Or, at least he was. He’s retired now. For the record, he was a lot of other things, too, like missile silo construction worker, something to do with Control Data (computer repair? back when computers were the size of rooms?), telephone repairman (I think) and electronics teacher, but in my formative years, he bought his own TV shop and worked there until he retired (and beyond).

When your dad works at a lugnut manufacturing facility, the perks for the family aren’t so great. But they’re pretty sweet when you dad sells the best TVs in town.

When I was growing up, we always had the best TVs in our house. We’d watch them for 6 months, 12 months, whatever, and then they’d go on the sales floor at the shop.

We always had the best remote controls, great sound systems, enormous screens and features like picture-in-picture.

When I graduated from high school, my graduation gift was a cute pink TV. Really! Pink!

So, of course, with fabulous televisions in the house, I watched a lot of TV.

Probably an unhealthy amount. I remember when I was a teen-ager, I’d watch repeats of the original “Star Trek” and Leonard Nimoy in “In Search Of …” on Saturday afternoons. Probably sunny Saturday afternoons. Loved watching TV.

Over the years, I’ve tried to wean myself off TV (with those ubiquitous New Year’s resolutions, you know), and I’ve gotten to the point where I just watch what I plan to watch, instead of channel surfing. My current viewing list includes:

  • “Celebrity Apprentice” on Sunday nights.
  • “Chuck” and “Medium” on Monday nights.
  • “The Biggest Loser” on Tuesday nights.
  • “Survivor” on Thursdays (and sometimes “My Name is Earl” and “The Office.”)
  • “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday nights (usually recorded).

Notice a distinct reality television slant here?

But we’re getting into baseball season soon, and that means … more TV! I love “Baseball Tonight” and there’s nothing like a live baseball game on TV, especially in the afternoons. It signals “summer” and “lazy” and … wow, I feel a nap coming on. Sometimes the best TV watching occurs when you’re not watching it at all!