Man cannot live by bread alone

cable TV a must

June 12, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Any time I open a letter from the cable TV company that starts out by telling me how cheap my cable service is vis-a-vis Great Cacapon, W.Va., I know I'm about to be three things, two of which are blued and tattooed.

I have no idea why the boys over at the Federal Reserve are all a-twitter about "deflation." Sure the cost of TVs keeps dropping, but everywhere the cost of signals is making up the difference, and then some.

It's getting to the point that if I don't hear from the cable company during any given week, I start to worry.

Actually, people are so addicted to TV, I have no idea why cable is so cheap. If I were the cable company, the first thing I would do is triple the rates because I know people would do two things: 1.) Complain like mad. 2.) Pay it.


Besides, I signed the deal when I finally gave up hope of the phone company ever getting its DSL act together and went with the cable company's broadband Internet service. Broadband is much like indoor plumbing in that before you have it you don't miss it, but after you get it there is absolutely no going back. Sure, I had to make a few sacrifices, like cutting out my anti-psychosis medicine, but receiving television signals from around the globe plus instantaneous porn downloads for $75 a month is, to me, the deal of the century.

Cable television fascinates me. If I could have one-time use of a time machine, I would transport Thomas Jefferson into the 21st century to get his opinion of "Monster Garage."

"Yeah, Tommy, you envisioned America becoming 'a nation of small farmers,' well take a look at THIS."

My absolute favorite of the week is a show, maybe you've seen it, called "American Chopper." I think it is on the Discovery Channel, a network that used to broadcast scientific educational programming like the migratory patterns of the North African grosbeak, but has sort of devolved into a mechanized soup of tattooed mechanics welding snowmobile engines onto Mini Coopers.

"American Chopper" is about a father and son who share great mutual affection and show it by screaming at the top of their lungs at each other in their family-owned metal fabrication plant. There's always some "touchy-feely" portion of the show where they playfully demonstrate their father-son love by jointly throwing gasoline on a nest of yellow jackets or ramming each other's trucks, but usually it's full-bore, motorcycle-building conflict - always under an impossible deadline that they always seem to miraculously meet.

Then they are off to some biker show, where they display their machines and entertain themselves by posing with bathing beauties and lobbing tools at each others' heads.

"American Chopper" fascinates me, and I cannot say why. It is to men what "Trading Spaces" is to women. Chicks dig "Trading Spaces" in the same inexplicable way that they fawn over Derek Jeter. In this show, two parties swap homes, decorate them for each other, then pretend to like the results.

When I say decorate, I mean that basically they put foam on something (coffee table, benches, the family cat, it doesn't matter) and then sew fabric over it. They do some other stuff, but foam/fabric is their one big trick, like Doug Henning's elephant.

As decorating shows go, I much prefer the one with the babe named Summer and the guy who can build a concert-hall piano out of a couple of scrap two-by-fours scavenged from a rescue mission Dumpster.

I don't know the name of this show, because my channel surfing generally only occurs between innings. If the cable company ever provided a "Baseball Tier," I should never need anything else.

Just last weekend, sports commentator Jeff Brantley offered this analysis of a Cincinnati Reds pitcher: "If he does make a mistake, you can be sure he didn't do it on purpose."

Tell me that kind of insight isn't worth $33 a month.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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