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The Friday Morning Listen: Frank Zappa – Over-Nite Sensation

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We have some big changes coming up at Chez Saleski, mostly having to do with the ejection of technology. We’re unplugging the digital tuner boxes and returning them, cutting off the cable tee-vee, and getting rid of the phone. Just the very idea of it has me all giddy & stuff.


Well, the truth is that we don’t watch a lot of tee-vee. Yeah, it’s on a lot of the time, but nobody is really watching. The only thing I do love to check out is The Daily Show (which I record on the DVR every night) and even that I can snag on the Internet. Heck, that way I can see the full-length interviews (not that I really need to see Newt Gingrich yammer on and make stuff up for extra time, but you get my idea).

We get sucked in to watching things sometimes because we’re bored and start flipping around, usually ending up on one of those first time real-estate shows. Yeah, they’re sort of fun, though I swear I’ll have a mondo-supremo hissy fit if I hear one more person say “It’s a little small.” Geezuz, it’s your first house!! The other channel I’ve connected with is Current, but all of their content is available online too.

I used to be a big sports fan, baseball in particular. As I’ve gotten older, competition has started to turn me off. It’s a peculiar feeling but it makes me uncomfortable. And so I’ve gone from watching about 80-100 baseball games per season to zero. Weird, but true. Though it may seem unrelated, news casts the same shadow. Most “hard news” is about things like economics, politics, and other world events — all of which are wrapped in their own levels of conflict and turmoil. I’m done with it.

I’ve come to realize that we’re bored not because there’s nothing to do, but because the television has made us bored. It has got to go, as there are words to be written, music to be listened to and garments to be knitted.

The telephone is a whole other (less interesting) story. Yep, unlimited long distance calling…which we use about once a month, maybe twice on a ‘heavy’ month. Nearly all of the incoming calls seem to come from “Incoming Call,” who never seems to be there if we pick up (make that: if TheWife™ picks up…I never answer the phone). We used to scoff at the younger generation for not having a “land line” but it looks like we’re headed in that direction. Besides, I can not answer my cell phone too.

Don’t worry, we’re not about to turn into a pair of those snobby “We don’t own a TV” people. Nah, there’s something to be said for having a certain level of cultural literacy. It’s just that the ‘regular’ method has gotten in the way with what’s really important.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Alan Kurtz

    Mark, I’m likewise leaning towards terminating cable TV. And this from a guy who reviews TV for Blogcritics! But as you point out, the options are mushrooming for content acquisition from the Internet. Unlike you, I’m not so much burned out or bummed out as impecunious. I pay $45 a month for TV, and the same for broadband. Yet while there’s always something new that interests me on the Internet, TV is just the opposite. If finances force me to choose between TV and Internet, my decision gets easier every day.

    I object especially to bundling, which is cable-speak for rip-off. Of the 75 channels in my package, I literally never watch 60. Bundle we must, say service providers, because popular channels such as ESPN charge exorbitantly, even if unpopular channels (i.e., the ones I watch) charge little. Well, say I, let the folks who watch ESPN pay that premium, and charge me for only the channels I watch. Won’t work, claim the providers. That way lies bankruptcy. Right, and without our $700 trillion BUNDLED taxpayer bailout of Wall Street in 2008, the entire U.S. economy would’ve gone poof. They know this how?

  • doug m

    Great points, even though it seems odd to read a friday morning muisc artice that’s really a thursday night tv article.

    People waste so much money on cable and satellite radio.

  • Mark Saleski

    it’s true alan. and maybe if i could get the 3 channels i actually do watch for 15 bucks or something, i’d keep it. maybe not tho.

    and doug, this space isn’t always about music, though there’s always some kind of link from the content to the record i picked . this week is no exception.

    there will be a quiz later…

  • eric

    mark! another excellent friday morning listen. we haven’t had cable for a couple years and it’s great. the only thing i miss is sports. though we have kept the actual television to watch films on.
    love the network footnote also.

  • Mark Saleski

    yes, mr. g, you guys were one of the inspirations for this.

  • Mat Brewster

    When we made the last move we neglected to get cable. There are times when I miss vegging out and flipping randomly, but not that much.

    With netflix and a decent internet connection I can’t say there is anything unavailable to us if we want to watch.

  • Josh Hathaway

    I’ve had the desire to junk the tv or at least detune from it many, many times over the years. We never have. I will say this, though. Despite the continuing presence of the television, I’ve managed to turn the fool thing off more often as evidenced by my increased writing output. I will probably veg a little more than I like but my priorities have shifted. I’m getting my work done.

  • Mary K. Williams

    Wow. Well. First of all, although I won’t be following your lead at this point, I salute you Mark (and TW of course). The tipping point for over saturation has come and gone. I still like TV a lot, but I observe – or at least feel – something that gives me the creeps. THEY have too much influence over US. The inclusion of that Network clip was brilliant. How fitting. And it sounds like it could have been broadcast today. Sad. But that was some of Peter Finch’s finest work

  • Mark Saleski

    i don’t know that we’re doing anything all that brave and/or revolutionary. just realizing that tv isn’t really a positive anymore.

    think about how many times i’ve replied “i’ve never seen that” to conversations about shows.

  • zingzing

    i haven’t owned a television for almost 3 years, and haven’t had cable in almost 10. i’d pat myself on the back, but the damn truth is that the computer has replaced the tv. it’s almost worse, because the amount of content is insurmountable. it seemingly goes on forever.

  • Mark Saleski

    that’s probably true, but i use a computer all danged day, so when i get home it isn’t much of a draw.

  • Donald Gibson

    i have a television that i don’t watch (save for random viewings of DVD concerts and films), but the TV is serving a valuable purpose for me, even when it’s off: it sits in front of a window, blocking the room’s only means of sunshine. sure, some people go for that whole daylight deal, but I like knowing that, with the dim of a lamp, I can become a crazy ol’ nightbird writer at 2 in the afternoon. :)