Showing posts with label cable TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cable TV. Show all posts

Friday, January 6, 2023

At The Movies

With apologies to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

Image by rosi capurso from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." 
                                                                                          -Orson Welles

Dear Grandstickies and Gentlereaders,

We moved across the semi-mighty Monongahela river from D'bluff to the SouSidah Pittsburgh in the summer of 1961.

At the time it was possible to see a double feature, at least one cartoon, and previews — no commercials — for 35¢ at the SouSide's Arcade movie theater if you were under 12. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons the Arcade would be bulging with kids. 

If I could scrape two quarters together I could also buy a snack. I saw a lot of the movies released in the early 60s. The Arcade, now long gone, specialized in first-run schlock and second-run mainstream movies. I thoroughly enjoyed both categories. 

Godzilla! Godzilla! 

Access to cable TV, which, believe it or not, dates to 1948, was rare but the theater owners knew what was coming. They organized campaigns to "stop pay TV" in its tracks. Imagine having to pay to watch TV, that's what commercials were for! You paid to see movies, movies unlikely to turn up on your local 3 or 4 broadcast TV stations till years later.

{And yet nowadays ya have to pay your local cable monopoly to watch shows saturated with commercials.}

Well, Dana, I guess that's the price you pay for not having to deal with set-top antennas decorated with wads of aluminum foil.


For the record, endless fundraising by PBS stations was a thing from early on, but commercials that are not commercials, "underwriting spots," were not. Also, commercials that were admittedly commercials were limited in number and didn't take up nearly 20 minutes of every hour of viewing on the commercial stations. 

{I see what you did there.}

As the years rolled by, going to the movies got more and more expensive, there were more and more of them, but less and less of them were worth the time/money. 

I hadn't gone to the movies in quite some time when my late wife talked me into going to see Forrest Gump at one of those theaters where you can enjoy the sound of other movies playing in miniature theaters bordering the one you were sitting in. To this day it's my favorite movie of all time. 

But at the time I was unaware that being subjected to a commercial before being allowed to watch the movie I had paid to see — after having to arrange financing in order to buy some popcorn flavored with melted margarine — had become the norm while I had been busy living my life. 

So of course I did the only rational thing a man of principle could do under the circumstances. 

I started complaining to my wife in a deliberately loud voice, as though my hearing aid had shorted out. I was cleverly attempting to prompt my fellow Citizens of the Republic to start complaining in equally loud voices. 

Up the revolution!

Instead, they looked alarmed and began whispering to each other, looking around for the nearest exit. And this was prior to 9/11 and before mass shooting incidents initiated by addled whack jobs off their meds running merrily amok became commonplace.    

Obviously, I was unaware of a minor shift that had occurred in the zeitgeist. That's what happens when you don't keep up with the newsletter.

My wife didn't get upset, she just started giggling and looked at me in surprise. I'm not normally the one who leaps upon the barricade to inspire my fellow revolutionaries.

Fortunately, the police weren't called. As far as I know, no one even complained to the manager, probably because I quickly surrendered. That's one way to tell the difference between a full-blown wack job and a mere cowardly crank by the way. 

However, I like to think that I inspired a dinner table conversation or two. 

"Hey, I went to the movies today and saw a really cool movie called Forest Gump. The popcorn tasted like it was topped with melted margarine but the movie was the best one I've seen in a while, the only one I've seen in a while actually... She talked me into going.

And there was some free entertainment before the movie even started. Some whack job that was so loud he sounded like his hearing aid had shorted out started bitching about a commercial they ran. Pretty funny. I complained to the manager who gave me a free $10 soft pretzel to go away."

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Bonfire of the Statuaries

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids (who exist), and my great-grandkids (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                                                     - Image by? -

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I'm not going to waste my time worrying about Confederate statues. That's wasted energy." -Charles Barkley 

"We have destroyed 80% of the statues. There is only a small amount left and we will destroy that soon." -Mullah Omar, Taliban Supreme Leader (deceased) 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Some Random Randomnesses...

- The Bonfire of the Statuaries (HT: WSJ Potomac Watch Podcast) continues and the IUPPP&PVTTTOT stands firm. There will be no peace until there is justice.

[What's the IUPPP...]

The International Union of Perpetually Protesting Protestors and Perpetual Victims of This, That, and The Other Thing.

Unfortunately, as to what sort of justice, actually implementable, that will restore peace remains ill-defined. I confess that I sometimes wonder if this is tactical, a never-ending jobs program for members of the IUPPP...etc.

However, virtue flags are flying, politicians are pandering, businesses not destroyed (by brick, fire, or plague) are donating — and Congress has threatened to pass yet another law.

Unfortunately or fortunately (one never knows...), Congress being Congress, and this being an election year, it's not going well.

In other news...

The following Random Randomness should be read aloud with your best Columbia School of Broadcasting voice.

In other news that you should have heard about but likely didn't, Antonio Gwynn, an 18-year-old African-American gentleperson from Buffalo, New York, spent ten hours cleaning up the trash and broken glass on (George?) Baily Avenue in Buffalo left behind by people protesting police brutality.

Mr. Gwynn's 15 minutes, the result of a local TV news feature, landed him a car, a year's worth of car insurance, and a free ride at a local college courtesy of some other gentlepersons.

Clarence, could you please send Frank Capra down long enough to make one more movie?

- If you're killed by a heavy, rotted out tree branch that lands on your head while you're communing with nature via a stroll in a sylvan setting is that "death by natural causes"?

 "_______ departed this life for the rest and comfort of the next one on... "

Once the plague began ravaging the realm I became one of those people I used to sneer at, a compulsive obituary reader. I was surprised to find that most people die from natural causes or apparently just drop dead. 

For the record, being of more or less sound mind I declare and affirm that even if I die peacefully in my sleep it is my wish that my obituary states that the cause of my death is under investigation. If my loved ones love me when asked they will reply, "I'm not at liberty to say," look troubled, and change the subject. 

- As I've recently written, much to my surprise I, who thrived as a hippie with a job for 13 years, seem to be turning into some sort of conservative. In my ongoing attempt to define exactly what sort of conservative I am I discovered that I'm a fusionist.

[Say what?]

Well, Dana, according to Wikipedia, "...fusionism is the philosophical and political combination...of traditionalist and social conservatism with political and economic right-libertarianism."

[What's up with all the italicizing?]

In the Wikipedia entry, those words are all links to other entries. As you know it's my editorial policy to use as few links as possible, with an emphasis on self-serving links.


Yup. Links that bring up something from my website.


Anyways, the bad news is that according to the entry, the fusion has faltered and the formerly fraternal factions are now fighting fractious factions.

[Thus, the Donald. But why are you...]

Well, as you know, I'm running for king via a write-in campaign and it's occurred to me I need a name for my party. Branding and marketing, I'm told, are everything these days. So, I give you (insert fanfare, here):

The Live and Let Live party!   

BYOI (bring your own ideology) but let's start acting like adults trying to find a way to make their marriage work for the sake of everyone in the family.

- I hate my cable company.

Over the years I've shelled out a significant amount of money to  Roadrunner/Time Warner Cable/Charter Spectrum/Spectrum or whatever their name is this week.

If I owned a company that had a gummit granted monopoly on cable services in a given area where people paid to watch content that was one-third commercials,

and I charged extra for content that didn't,
and I could force people to pay for content they never watched,
and if I claimed my content was available on-demand, when it often wasn't,


If I were running a popular "premium" (costs extra) series and knew people had been waiting a week to see the latest episode and for some reason it wasn't available this week,

I'd post a simple e-note of explanation. I might even say sorry about that. I'd whistle all the way to the bank knowing I was rich and a nice guy/girl/they.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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