Posts tagged ‘TV’

Thank you, Terry Jones

One night, in the early 1970s, our family (Mom, Dad, my brother, my sister, and I) had turned in for the night. We were in our rooms, the lights were out, and the house was settling into deep quiet as we closed our eyes.

Then. From the darkness, I heard a dastardly rasp. “Dinsdale?”

As the laughter subsided, someone yelled “Albatross!” and, like deranged Waltons, we continued to bid each other an extended goodnight, with other Monty Python quotes and a lot of giggling.

I thought of that night when I heard the news that comedian Terry Jones had died. I can claim no familiarity with the man; I’m neither family nor friend; I never met him. But I can legitimately sympathize with the tragedy of dementia, and his absence from the world makes me sad.

I have heard people complain about an excess of attention when a celebrity dies. I think they are looking at it wrong. There is no weird Tier of Importance. Fame does not make a loss a greater loss. We mourn the passing of a celebrity because that person was known to so many. The sound of grief is louder because more people are aware that this particular person existed.

The things we share, as a herd of humans moving through the same group of decades, have an impact. Historical moments. Scientific breakthroughs. And, yes, entertainment. I would say especially entertainment because human brains have a far easier time with a Python punchline than with a Pythagorean theorem.

Humor connects us in a way other things don’t. Comedic movies and TV shows can affect our point of view, teach us lessons, and leave a nugget of familiarity for even the most diverse strangers to connect over. (Nothing against those of you who prefer Math, but nothing sparks new camaraderie or long-time loyalty like a laugh shared.)

When someone famous dies, a little piece of our collective past breaks away. It is the sort of landmark at which a bunch of persons of a certain age have to stop for a moment and take the long look back.

It makes me yearn for a time machine.

I remember, so clearly, sitting in my jammies with my brother and sister, laughing really hard over Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a TV program that we had discovered on UHF, which was quite unlike The Brady Bunch.

I’m sure there are a gazillion things you could read that explain why that show was creative and ground-breaking, but that’s not what I’m on about. Suffice to say Monty Python was uniquely, outrageously, intelligently hilarious. (P.S. I am not trying to imply that 11-year-old me understood every reference or even every word. But it was all wonderfully silly.)

Credit the Pythons for putting a significant dent in my sense of humor or blame them for contributing to my weirdness. Either way I wouldn’t change that part of my upbringing for anything.

Thank you, Terry Jones, et al.



January 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Must Wii TV

So, every morning for the past 7 months, I have begun my valiant Last Stand Against My Fat Butt with a workout on the Wii Fit. Not because it’s the world’s best or most effective workout but because it draws me in as a willing participant. Then I swap disks to Just Dance because it’s fun and helps me lose weight.

This past Tuesday I got up, turned things on and . . . hrrm. Wii turns on, TV turns on, but switching the AV button (which normally switches from TV channels to Wii channels) gives me a blank and silent screen.

I didn’t have time to deal with it on Tuesday and was able to rationalize that a bit of par 3 strolling in the afternoon could count as a workout. Yesterday, fingers crossed, I tried again, and had the same result.

And so began a tale more convoluted than the tangle of wires behind my TV stand.

I checked and re-checked every wire, every connection. Unplugged everything. Waited. Plugged everything back in. Probably spent an hour or so checking connections, wiggling wires, and going back and forth with the AV button.

Read manuals. Searched websites. Scanned forums. (No helpful info.)

I began talking to myself. (No helpful info.)

Frustration had settled in at this point. Frustration irritated by the idea that a new TV or gaming console was not in the budget this month. Frustration compounded by an irrational but growing panic that if I couldn’t do my Wii Fit and Just Dance right this very minute, at my normal workout time, for the second day in a row, I was going to, at any moment — Poof! and a slide whistle and a noise like the stretching of a giant balloon — turn into Gilbert Grape’s momma.

It was also frustration multiplied by the torment of being a fairly intelligent middle-aged human faced with one of those illogical conundrums that only Technology can present. For example, I tested the Wii on another TV. It didn’t work. So I surmised the problem was with the Wii. I tested another gaming console on the TV. It didn’t work, which proved it must be the TV.

“So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!”

Round and round it went. I did more tests. I used tools. I repeated,”This just doesn’t make sense” as if I were an extra practicing a precious line of dialog. Eventually, I reached the conclusion that my TV would have to be replaced. You might think it was an embarrassment to be the only kid on the block without a flat screen TV, but, honestly, that big old beastie from the last millennium was a source of something like pride. I was bummed.

After a bit of online price comparison, I headed for Target, where I discovered that TV measurements mean something completely different now and so spent way more than I expected but still had a good experience and walked out with a new TV. Well, actually, I walked out with my car keys; a nice young man walked out with my TV.

(Holy crap! Did I just use the phrase nice young man? Technology is creeping beyond my comprehension and I’m saying nice young man?)

At about 3:00 p.m., I got home and, once I got the dang thing unwedged from the back seat of my two-door car, I thought, “Hooray! The frustration is over!”

{Evil chuckle from the depths of hell.}

Through a combination of pushing, pulling, ingenuity, and gravity, I got the old TV off of the TV stand. Then, I got the new TV out of box, connected everything, went through the startup and . . . Son of a biscuit! It’s not the TV. It must be the Wii after all.

Although both options were within the realm of possibility at that point, I neither cried nor threw up. Let’s fast-forward about 20 minutes, and I mostly calmly decided that I would head to GameStop for a replacement Wii and deal with returning the new TV the next day. I got home and connected the new-old Wii to the new TV. And, Hallelujah!, it worked. Then, before re-packing the new TV, just to be certain, I switched all of the wires and connected the Wii to the old TV, and . . . I got the blank screen.

Ohhhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

So, my dearies, there were issues with both the TV and the Wii. And I recalled that, on Monday night, the night before this all began, there was a crazy-close-by lightning strike. My neighbors lost power, phone, and cable, and I suspect lightning fried the Wii setup as well, which was plugged in and on at the time. I don’t know if homeowner’s insurance will help or not yet, but it was a tremendous relief just to reach a logical conclusion.

It was 9:05 p.m. I was exhausted to the point of giggles, shaking my head at a lost day, and starving for some dinner. But you better believe I worked out first, even if it did mean dancing among wires, manuals, packaging debris, and the spiffy new ottoman.

August 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

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