Must Free TV

One “holy grail” of my existence has always been to achieve excellent reception of free, over-the-air television that includes at least the four major television networks if not a few more.

I’ve tried to get there for years and have never quite gotten there. There was always some pixelation, especially on the most vital of the television networks, ABC, which is the home of the greatest television program of all time, Shonda Rhimes’ masterpiece known as Grey’s Anatomy.

If I can’t watch Grey’s on Thursday night, it ain’t TV, and I ain’t havin’ it. Sadly, if there has been a station that gives me trouble, it’s ABC.

My solution of late has been the streaming service YouTube TV. These streaming service have come a long way in the past five years; I remember trying to stream Food Network on Sling TV when they first started and suffering paralyzing latency. Today, these services are more reliable as the companies have apparently invested in server farms to catch up with bandwidth requirements. Services I generally recommend, depending entirely on your need for content: Sling TV. YouTube TV. And Philo TV.

But still. That isn’t the grail.

See, in June 2009, the United States changed from over-the-air television in analog form to digital. In this age where every square inch of everything is considered a commodity for sale, I’m astonished the federal government any longer makes an effort to maintain airwave broadcasting.

The Federal Communications Commission was founded, after all, on the sparse premise that the airwaves could not be owned and therefore required federal regulation as a vital part of the commons. Thus, from the original mission statement of the FCC: “make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”

So I reckon the way I figure it, a person ought to try to use the public airwaves if one can. So I have always tried to use OTA TV if possible. So I’ve spent years at the window fidgeting with an HD antenna.

Then, this week, I came across this website. And I figured out that most of the broadcast towers relevant to my needs are either due south or southwest from my apartment.

My windows face almost due north.

Huh.

Yeah, but putting the antenna on the other side of the apartment couldn’t possibly work because there’s a whole half a building in the way. Couldn’t possibly work. Couldn’t possibly!

This is my antenna, facing southwest.

I have never had a clearer OTA picture, ever.

P.S. If you’re on Facebook and interested in cord-cutting strategies, you must join the group called Cord Cutting Tech Support. Search it and sign up. It was being in this group and reading the posts and helping other folks there too that led me to these conclusions and helped me resolve this egregious error. Yer welcome.

You Will Have Swamp-Ass

So today is going to be a Swamp-Ass Labor Day. Glad I am sitting in a nice air-conditioned room with a desk and a computer.

Since I’ve been working 10-hour days, it’s been nice but difficult. Three-day weekends are nice. But by the end of day three, you feel like a lump. So last night I said FERGET IT. I did not make a breakfast shake. I did not pack additional breakfast nums. I took some screen time. I listened to the Lovesexy album. I ate an Aaron Burrito from the freezer.

Then I woke up this morning and realized the cafe here would not be open today. Oh, well. Nothing like a quick rip through the McDucky’s drive-through. Had to run a stupid red light not to be late.

Oh, well.

Hey. Here’s a nicely written piece of media criticism. Seriously, you should read it:

We are all Kim Wexler: “Better Call Saul” and the painful realities of mid-career crisis

YouTube Poops Dujour

Live Long and Prosper

Thanks in part to a Facebook group called “Star Trek Shitposting,” I have been diving in up to my sternum lately into the universe known as Star Trek. I recently watched all seven seasons of the Voyager series, for example, an endeavor that was well worth the time. While the series starts off on shaky legs, once Kes is absorbed into the cosmos and Seven of Nine is rescued, it seems to find its footing, and, occasionally, its writers present you with something masterful.

There is, for instance, the episode called “11:59,” the 23rd episode of the fifth season. This episode leaves behind the nuts and bolts of space and science fiction and entertains some of Kathryn Janeway’s genealogy–an ancestor of hers named Shannon O’Donnel and her involvement in something called the “millennium gate” project. I am not sure many Trek fans would choose this as one of their favorite Voyager episodes, but it is one of my standouts, as the writers had the courage to leave the starship behind and to tell a plainer tale set in the 21st century somewhere in Indiana. It is a striking love story and a somewhat bittersweet entry into this Trek franchise. It is a true surprise, and a welcome one.

There is “Blink of an Eye,” season six, episode 12, in which Voyager becomes trapped in a magnetic field that forces them into a temporal orbit so that their passage of time differs wildly from that of the inhabitants on the planet’s surface. While a few hours pass for Voyager’s crew, eons of time pass for the planet’s inhabitants, as they move from their iron age through to space travel. Such a boldly large scope for storytelling.

So I have since moved on to the new Discovery series on CBS, which I am enjoying. I find the character of Michael Burnham utterly entrancing, and the idea of the spore drive and its missing component are big ideas (although the creature and the treatment it receives until a humanoid takes the time to extend true compassion, this theme rings through directly from the “Original Series” episode “The Devil in the Dark,” my favorite Trek episode of all time). I appreciate too the updated look, feel, and pacing in the new series, though all of this somehow fitting in as prequel is driving many fans to distraction. For instance:

In the same vein, what about the spore drive itself? This supposedly is the most speedy and most accurate way to travel in space. Why is it not present in TOS, which is supposed to take place after Disco? Is it perhaps too unsustainable?

This is the problem with prequels. The discontinuities can be jarring. For instance, Disco sports Trek’s first “gay relationship” without missing a beat. Why such acceptance now and no mention of any further such couplings in the “future” Trek? (I mean. We know why. But why?)

The bottom line is that if you’re going to watch Discovery, you’re just going to have to let some of these things go. And, yes, that means Ethan Speck as Spock, too.

I think the writers understand an essential aspect of Trek in general. I remember watching the show on the television when I was a child. I think I was at my friend’s house, where I think was the first time I had ever witnessed this thing known as “color television.” I remember finding the show to be generally dull until the appearance of the Vulcan character.

Spock.

This is a character that scruffs the imagination, this lanky fellow with the odd haircut, the eyebrows, and the pointy ears. This is a character with one lonesome backstory, half-Vulcan, half-human, an outcast at any entrance, yet still an alien with superpowers–super-strength, able to disable another with a single touch, able to crawl into a person’s headspace and rummage around. Spock was what made Trek compelling, and Leonard Nimoy was who made Spock compelling. Nimoy not only invented Spock, but he invented Vulcans, and, indeed, he cast the template for how future, non-Vulcan fish-out-of-water characters would bring the same gravity to iterations of Trek. Seven of Nine is, essentially, a Vulcan. Data is, essentially, a Vulcan. Tuvok is, of course, a Vulcan, but without Nimoy’s clearly defined template, Tim Russ may not have played him so clearly. And, while these wannabes are all excellent characters, the originator was Leonard Nimoy, and it is due to his performance that we’re still talking about that show long after its three-season run on NBC.

That, my friends, is why we’re getting a brand new Spock and why our first-season protagonist has a Bacon’s score with Spock of one.

And now, some of my favorite Star Trek Shitposting items that I have done. Thank you.

Sound Your Funky Horn

From the Wiki:

Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes of Akan origin in many towns across the Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day (January 1), the same as “Kakamotobi” or the Fancy Dress Festival. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in the capital Nassau, New Providence. There are also Junkanoo parades in Miami in June and Key West in October, where local black American populations have their roots in The Bahamas. In addition to being a culture dance for the Garifuna people,[1][2] this type of dancing is also performed in The Bahamas on Independence day and other historical holidays.
Dances are choreographed to the beat of goatskin drums and cowbells.

Here’s kind of what that looks like.

In popular culture, junkanoo has been portrayed or featured in the James Bond film Thunderball, and also in one episode of Miami Vice, and in Top Chef: All Stars, season 8.

What’s interesting about this? At least, to me?

Well, in 1973, a record store employee in Hialeah, Florida named Harry Wayne Kasey started a band.

He called it KC & The Sunshine Junkanoo Band.

Do a little dance. Make a little love. Get down tonight. Get down tonight.

Around The World In A Day

I learned a few things this morning. I learned that the bookstore at 123 East Main St. is not open at that time on Sunday morning. I learned also that there is a bearded man in an orange shirt on East Main Street in Rochester New York who would very much like to know if you have an extra cigarette he might have.

Extra? I don’t even have one.

I wanted to show Mom the previous living situation. We could only gaze into the lobby, but I think she understood the gist of my living standard for the past four years. Especially after man in the orange shirt asked us a second time on the pass the other way up the street if we had an extra cigarette and then in front of the music store where one man on a bicycle had already successfully cajoled a dollar from one of these four or five young Dave Matthews Band fans, and when a second, not on a bicycle, approached to ask them where’s HIS dollar, the first man on the bicycle commenced to school the second gentleman on his bad form.

This was on a Sunday morning.

Thank you all for helping me clarify to my Mother that her help and my dear Grandma’s help in getting me moved elsewhere was a good idea. I severely appreciate it.

I did get to show off the gem of the neighborhood, Hart’s grocery. Grabbed one of my favorite morning staples, the Natalie’s Grapefruit Juice. You should go there and buy one because they are the most best things around.

They even taste good without vodka. I’m not kidding. And, for some reason, I can’t find a single drop of the product in my new neighborhood. I’m going to take this to you, Lori’s Natural Foods. I want my Natalie’s gapebook juice. It’s dreamy.

Anyway. So after that we took East Ave. to Clover to all the way to Honeyoye Falls, so that was quite the scenic route. Tried to show Mom the house she rescued me from buying but couldn’t find it. She said hey. We’re here. Let’s go to Canandaigua. (She is still working on pronouncing that town’s name without getting that little cramp in her neck and then somehow saying “Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin.” We’re working on it. I cannot wait until we graduate to “Ganondagan.” I can’t even say that one yet without the eye twitch and the sweating and all.)

(I don’t even ask my Mother to say “Rehoboth” anymore. Her doctors insist. It’s “that beach in Delaware” or weeks of steroids.)

So we went to Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin and there were boats and a beach you had to pay five dollars to get in. And we went to Wally’s for lunch and they apparently like to blare the local country station at you while you consume there excellent food in their weird little dive. I of course had the full-on Wally Burger, my Mother had the chicken cordon bleu.

We crossed the road to walk up and down and some broad yelled at us about taking the crosswalk, although we did not hold up traffic a bit. I showed her my bare ass. It was magical.

Then I said, but we’re 14 miles from Geneva. And we went.

Geneva, I think, is an improvement over Canada-booger-freestyle-wheat-thin. I find it not a bit ironic that, just miles from Ingersoll’s first home are some really beautiful churches, really, they are stunning, and in this tiny lakeside place. Geneva downtown is open and lovely, and pleasantly hilly. This to me, with my limited knowledge of the geography, is the start of wine country, and I only know that from several attempts previous to visit Ingersoll’s house in Dresden (New York).

I mentioned Dresden to the cheerful, helpful woman at the Geneva visitors’ center (open Sunday), and how the place is basically a post office, Ingersoll’s house, and some kind of military installation. Yes, she says. Long since decommissioned, and boy was that a hit to the area. Wow. I had no idea.

No sightseeing heading back. Full-on thru-way, baby Then a beer on my deck. Then a fine meal at the finest bar in ROC, the J.B. Quimby’s.

I think if the goal was to give my Mom a good snapshot of the area as she daydreams about where to spend her life in future years now, I think we did okay.

Yep. I think we did okay.

*

In Other News
As I punched up the elevator, a neighbor of mine was talking in the lobby on his mobile device. He said, “so, what do you think of Big Brother? I think they’re going to get rid of that girl…”

I said “SHHHHH! I haven’t seen it yet!”

And I wasn’t kidding. Off to watch it now. What a stupid thing to do, and yet,

The Ubiquitous Slime

I was in an office this morning wearing a necktie and a jacket in addition to an Oxford shirt with a collar and pants, socks, and shoes, and the usual underthings. I had been escorted there to wait and for a few minutes was in the room alone. It was a quiet room, and I was pleased to wait. I have become good at waiting. It is one of the best accomplishments of my life considering at one time I was a miserable failure at it. But now, I can sit in a quiet room alone in an uncomfortable clown suit, clutching my fancy binder I recently repaired with carpenter’s glue when the cardboard liner came away from the fabric when the crappy rubber cement job those Chinese fellows gave into many harsh instances of dew point, and I can sit there and not bob my ankle up and down, and not fidget, and I can simply sit. I have worked long and hard at this skill and I consider it one of the finest skills a person can learn and exhibit. And were I a stealthy employer, I would train a camera on the candidate and I would let him or her sit for several minutes to sweat, and I would see how good they are at waiting, and I would include that sociopathic test of mine in my metrics.

After a few minutes of my happy waiting exercise ensued, the attractive young lady walked into the room, sighed, and said, “Jeez, the least they could have done was to turn on the TV for you.” And she took a remote control from the desk and she turned on the television that was stuck up there on the wall. Thankfully it was not tuned to Fox “News” or events might have gone much differently today. No, it was tuned to MSNBC’s coverage of the Holy Pontiff visiting these Untied States of America today.

So that young lady assumed I was miserable sitting alone in a room and perceived that the answer was to flick on a television set to ease my misery. It was quite impossible to imagine that a person could be quite content sitting in a room doing nothing for ten minutes without any noise or flickering images. It is an odd sickness of every step of our lives.

Every breakroom in my workplace has blathering TV sets going on and on. Every bar and restaurant I frequent has them, blah blah blah. Try to get away from a television set today. It’s impossible. In a way that is weird and has crept up gradually and

hey wait. Mysteries of Laura is on the tube right now. Fart fart. Fun fun.

SNL@40

Norm Macdonald is one of the brightest comedy geniuses out there today. I can prove it.

From a recent stream of tweets by him:

“Sometimes people ask me who the funnier character is, Connery or Burt. The funniest character in Celebrity Jeopardy, by far, is alex Trebek as played by Will. Without Will’s perfect take on Trebek,maddened by the outright hostility of Connery, the faraway uninterest of Burt, the sketch is nothing.”

He’s absolutely right.

Ferrell plays the perfect straight man, unusual for him. His Trebek is actually encouraging to his clueless guests, in fact, let’s allow Mcdonald to address that:

“Celebrity Jeopardy was about hope.

“It was about the hope of one man, Alex Trebek, the hope that never died. The audacious hope that never let the facts of the past interfere.

“It was a rhythm piece, as each disaster was signaled by the sound of a buzzer, and each new category signified more, new, hope.”

Suffice it to say, his Tweet stream is highly recommended reading. The Concourse has aggregated it here, though if you ask me, they buried the lede. The most interesting things he had to say were not about Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby.

It’s the overall insight into the process at a place like SNL and into the surprising cerebral aspect to the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch. (Although, I wish Norm hadn’t ended up kissing Eddie’s ass for kissing Bill Cosby’s ass, because Cosby, you know, (allegedly) “put the pills in the people,” but you can’t always get what you want.)


My own impressions of the SNL@40 special Sunday? If the good people at Saturday Night Live are finding out anything today from the feedback loop, they’re finding out how much people despise “The Californians.”

The sketch is a bizarre spoof on the daytime drama genre blending toward the telenovela, and its signature jokes are that A) People from California talk funny and B) People from California are obsessed with their local and regional traffic patterns.

I think this sketch has only ever been funny to Fred Armisen.

Watching the show as a whole, though, and not to mention the airing the previous Saturday of the pilot, made me realize how nostalgic I am regarding Saturday Night Live. It’s one of those things, I guess, that has been with me my entire life. I’ve watched it through bad seasons and good, and, despite what it’s popular to say, I think SNL keeps getting better.

Case in point: Watch this Saturday for one of the greatest rock bands of our time: The Alabama Shakes (new album debuts April 21, folks.)



Spoiler: I Live In One Of Them

These Are The 10 Most Creative Cities In America By Movoto Real Estate


Ska Ska Ska

Life Is a Series of Dogs

You remember Charlie.

Well, Charlie went and hurt himself this week. Rather badly. One of his legs ain’t working and another is gimpy. He probably messed up his back.

He’s only 7.

Anyway, the Farm is trying to raise some funds to help fix him. Premium donors will get a year’s worth of horse rides.

Here’s the link. Thank you. I don’t think we’re ready for the next in the series yet.

Credit, Carlin.


I was just saying to myself, myself, I said, it’s about time for Prince to do SNL, isn’t it?

Eye no!


This Is The Voice

That time on The Voice when the music started and it was “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and the judges’ faces lit up, and then the guy on the stage, proceeded to sing the song horribly.

What I did walk away from it is how universally loved is that song. I mean I think Gwen Stefani BEAMED when she heard that intro. And, she’s right.

But Andy. Oh, Andy. C’mon. This is not a song on which you bring out your inner Roger Daltry.

Ya know? And, not to mention: I know you only have 90 seconds. But does that necessarily require rearranging the song until it’s barely recognizable?