Herewith a midsummer scattering of thoughts by a columnist whose TV set has suddenly gone belly-up, leaving him to sit in relative silence to contemplate his navel and the reverberations of his often infertile mind. So here goes:
1. As in the past, I find a major source of comfort in my loving, lovable cat. Her name is Ellie. She’s 8 years old, more or less. The TV set was only 3 years old. Ellie is irreplaceable; the TV is not, but I intend to postpone buying a new one for a while, just to enjoy the hiatus.
Hiatus” is a showoff word meaning “interval.” It comes from a Latin verb “hiare,” to gape or yawn. That is a common response to most television programming. My TV collapsed a week ago. This means I have not watched a single commercial in all that time. What a relief! I feel as if my residual IQ (94) has climbed at least to the 115 level.
2. I’ve also been forced to rely on my computer and the internet for information and entertainment. What a splendid event, even though the Web is also being overrun by advertising. Such as a new series, Third Love, which displays a bevy of smiling ladies dressed only in their skivvies. I don’t know who comes up with these ideas. Good gracious!!
3. Lack of a TV set will keep me from watching the testimony of Robert Mueller for hours on end. Somehow I’ll survive. I respect and admire Mueller, but his TV delivery makes me think of how the Sphinx might sound if it were suddenly given speech. I will get the lowdown on Mueller’s comments by booting up the opposing viewpoints of Fox News and MSNBC. That will be like listening to Tokyo Radio broadcasting news of Pearl Harbor. It’s called balanced reporting.
4. Which is absent from most TV coverage of weather disasters. Did you notice how swiftly the news of the Mississippi-Missouri River flooding disappeared within a day or two? Except the flood waters didn’t. Half of the Midwest population (or so it seemed) were forced to leave their homes, but the news media quickly switched to more exciting topics, such as earthquakes.
5. With my TV gone and my computer often switched off, I’m still able to flood my home with beautiful music. It comes from a tiny radio — the size of a cigarette pack — I bought for about $20 a few weeks ago. I can hardly believe the quality of sound it puts out. The radio is sold by Sony, but on the bottom, in the smallest lettering possible, are the words “Made in China.” Isn’t most everything made there?
6. Here’s another “how to liven up a party” suggestion. Just say, “Isn’t our space race exciting and brave and futuristic?” Or say the opposite: “Going to Mars and beyond will be the dumbest, most wasteful mistake ever perpetrated.” Then step back and listen. Do you know which opinion you would champion? (Full disclosure: I don’t.) But at the very least, I wish a large percentage of the space race budget could be diverted toward solving some of earth’s problems. And do it before it’s too late.
7. Before my TV set crashed, I took increasing delight in watching soccer games, both men’s and women’s. The recent success of the U.S. women’s professional team reinforced my view that soccer can have all the skill and drama of any other sport, except for curling. (Only kidding, there). And the injury/death rate from soccer competition is only a small fraction of what occurs in contact or semi-contact events.
8. As the 2020 presidential election date nears, I suppose we’ll see the appearance of bumper stickers and yard signs bearing candidates’ names and affiliations. But maybe not. Politics has become so divisive and heated that advertising your preference on your car or front lawn could trigger unwelcome responses from persons who differ with you.
But maybe that won’t happen. Hope springs eternal.