Turn Off, Tune Out, and Drop In

AntennaThumbby Kung Fu Zu
Over the last few years, I have found the programming spewed out of the 24/7 cable universe to be of ever-decreasing quality and interest. The cable providers stream several hundred channels to each customer, of which perhaps twenty are worth watching. This is completely ignored by the cable companies. As a result, viewers are confronted with expanding rubbish and increasing fees on a regular basis.
Like many others, I sat back and accepted this state of affairs, not paying attention as quality content dropped and prices rose. It took two unannounced price hikes, within about six months, to finally shake me out of my trance.

Once I did wake, I decided to change cable tv suppliers. I looked around and found that I had three possible options. One option for cable tv and two for satellite tv. I called Verizon to cancel my cable tv and maintain my internet connection and e-mail address. They told me that if I cancelled their cable tv programming, the cost for my internet connection would go up by about $50 per month to over $80 per month for a connection with a slightly slower speed.

After the conversation with Verizon, I sat back and thought about my situation and came to the conclusion that I did not need cable tv. In fact, I only watched about ten channels and half of those were broadcast locally. I particularly liked channels like MeTV and the Antenna Channel, which broadcast old tv shows like Perry Mason and Leave it to Beaver. I went on line to see if I could somehow receive these without cable.

[pullquote]Furthermore, after some checking I found that, in my area, there are about fifty different channels broadcast via the open airways.[/pullquote]To my delight, I found these and many other channels were broadcast locally and I only needed an old-fashioned antenna to pick up their signals. Furthermore, after some checking I found that, in my area, there are about fifty different channels broadcast via the open airways. In addition to those channels which showed repeats from the 1950’s-2000’s, these ranged from the local affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox to movie channels and channels with local content.

So, I called TimeWarner, booked internet services with them for the same amount as I had previously paid Verizon. I then called Verizon and canceled my connection with them. (In fact it took several months to go through the cancellation process as they make it very difficult to cancel any service. I started the process at the end of May and only received my final correct invoice a couple of weeks ago.)

I checked the internet for the best antennas and bought an RCA product online at Amazon.com for about $65 which included a booster, plenty of connector cable, and delivery to my home. I removed an old satellite dish from its base and placed the antenna on that same base. Hook up time was about 15 minutes. (I was lucky as the original satellite connector cable was still in place so I could simply plug it into the cable on my new antenna.) I turned on the tv, let it boot up the new channels and presto! I had tv.

Since that day, not only have I saved $80 per month, but I have watched less tv, my blood pressure has dropped and I talk to my family more. So while Dr. Leary’s invocation might have a certain appeal, I believe he got it somewhat backward. In today’s world if one wishes to expand one’s mind I think “Turn of, Tune out, Drop in” is the prescription. Aummmmmmm.
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20 Responses to Turn Off, Tune Out, and Drop In

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Marvelous essay. You give me faith again that this site was worth doing, Mr. Kung. If you could provide me with a link to the exact antenna that you bought, I’ll link it into the article.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mr. Kung, you took the words right out of my mouth….although I have cable at the moment.

    But I watch very little TV these days. TV has just become such brain rot. Ninety percent of the content is beyond stupid. I can feel my I.Q. level slipping just walking past the TV department at Sears.

    I plan to spend more time in whatever remaining years have been allotted me doing more noble things. Oh, maybe many of them will be quite humble things…such a reading a Charlie Chan novel. But even so, reading is more of a participatory act. You use your imagination. But with TV you just sit back and have your brain cells sucked out of you. One is passively a-mused, which is to say, one’s creativity is not stoked but just the opposite. The Muses are not awakened. It is the opposite. We sit in front of the idiot box and are literally a-Mused.

    I’m much like you, I like watching old movies and such. And this really is a case in the polluted culture we live in today where we have to unplug. That is ironic since it is the libtard utopian ignoramus culture of these supposedly grownup hippies that we are unplugging from, the ones who had the stupid and trite slogans about doing so in the 60’s. And I abide by my saying that nothing good came out of any of the 60’s flower power movement. It was just stuck on stupid.

    And they still are. These libtards are now voters and they are voting us into intellectual, moral, and financial oblivion. I will unplug. I have unplugged to a great extent. And, as some may have noticed by this site, I have no intention of just having StubbornThings be yet another bitch-a-thon. I’m unplugging from that as well.

    I’d rather talk about movies, books, history, the arts, Classic Western Civilization, etc. I do care that Obama and his Marxist ilk are forever voted out of office and that I never have to hear some nitwit say the words “social justice” again. But even so, even though these red diaper doper babies (including quite a few “libertarians”) are ruining this country, I will not obsess on it.

    We are surrounded by fools, nitwits, and just really uncouth people who believe inanely stupid things. That is not where I want to go. I will defend myself, which assumes some political involvement in trying to beat back the Leftist horde. But even so, I think a good deal of this is inevitable now. We can’t stop it. We can just try to stay out of the way when it all comes crashing down. We can laugh at these fools as they try to get off on their naive utopian dreams and narcissistic urges.

    And in the meantime, we can feed ourselves good, nutritious things. Maybe sometimes these are slightly popcorn things, such as a Chan novel. But even popcorn is more nutritious than the crack cocaine of idiocy, degeneracy, and juvenile tastes that abound in our culture and blacken it like an eclipsed sun. We must make our own light. And we will.

  3. MarkW says:

    “which included a boaster”
    Is this the component that constantly tells you how good it is?
    Kind of like Microsoft?

  4. LibertyMark says:

    I have a slightly different take on this. I clearly respect Mr. Zu’s decision to opt out, having just looked at my own Verizon FIOS bill and beat my head on the desk.

    Let me explain my different take. I have a neighbor who does not and never has had cable. He’s older than me, so is of the next prior generation (let’s just say he’s pre-boomer). What concerns me about people like him is that there perhaps millions of them across America. My concern is, where do they get their news? Print? The three traditional networks, CBS, NBC, ABC? Even local news outlets are horrid – just watch your local news station for how they are handling the Gubmint “slowdown”.

    This is not to memorialize Fox Cable, nor to take responsibility for my neighbor’s information consumption, but what are these millions of non-cable watchers getting for information? Your thesis, Mr. Zu, highlights the severity of where we are with the Ministry of Propaganda (i.e. “MSM”) in the US, especially leaving out cable.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      I see your point, but I wasn’t thinking about those who were never connected to cable or the internet in the first place.

      Perhaps more importantly, I wasn’t even writing this from the political point of view. My point of view was simply that I, and I suspect, many others are wasting time and money on a product which generally caters to the lowest common denominator aspect of society. As a result, it adds to the general mental dullness and flaccid morals one encounters, all too often, in our country.

      • LibertyMark says:

        Agreed on all points.

        AND, if you happen to want to watch any shows on TV (the new show Blacklist is somewhat good), most of them are available after they show on TV on that network’s website to be viewed on demand.

  5. David Ray says:

    I had a short phone service with Verizon. I don’t have a smart phone, just a bare-bone model.
    They never sent the rebate, and the $40+ agreed upon morphed into $80 – $90+ a month. I paid for awhile while attempting to resolve these issues. My bills had no details as they were on-line. Just the price. With nothing but guff on sending another rebate, I dropped ’em.
    They still send that final bill, but they can hold their breath.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I have a bare-bones “Boost” phone that costs me $20 every couple months. As you might guess, I don’t live on the phone. I have it for emergencies mostly. I don’t have money to burn on $100 a month or more just to jabber away mindlessly on the phone as many people do.

      Still, I would like to have an iPhone 5 now that the hardware and software are fully fleshed out (according to a very non-koolaid-drinking friend of mine who is also an Apple enthusiast). I’d like it just for the wireless access to the internet, not particularly for the phone. And maybe for some of the apps.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    FYI, here’s the link to the exact antenna that Mr. Kung referred to. And it’s a top item with glowing reviews at Amazon…and the priced has been reduced. I’m in the market for one which is why I note this now.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One thing I could get used to about watching free commercial television is watching Johnny Carson every night for an hour before retiring.

    It’s a great time machine. Last night was November 1985. Bret Saberhagen (World Series MVP, league MVP, and winner of the Cy Young) and his Royals had just won the World Series. He had a nice interview on Carson. He talked about the great timing because his contract was going to expire by the end of the year. He was, of course, in a grand bargaining position.

    So I just had to look up the numbers. In 1985 he was 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA. The following year, fresh off signing what must have been a pretty decent contract, we went 7-12 with a 4.14 ERA. Ooops. But he got better after that and won another Cy Young.

    And what a shocking contrast between the adult, though playful and creative, Carson and the man-childs who populate late night TV today. So I might enjoy a little Carson time and just find something to do when the commercials come on.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      One thing I could get used to about watching free commercial television is watching Johnny Carson every night for an hour before retiring.

      I couldn’t agree more!

      I also like seeing old Dick Cavett(?) shows every now and then. He had some very interesting guests and gave them a lot of time to talk.

      I also enjoy watching old game shows, particularly “What’s My Line” and “To Tell The Truth.” Compare the level of discourse on those shows with what is on today and you will pine for the days of yore. Vulgar society indeed!!!

  8. Lucia says:

    We cut our sat TV service for 3 years and streamed videos for our favorite programs and news until my husband couldn’t stand it anymore. We live in the mountains and can’t receive local channels via a converter antenna so we had to get sat TV reinstalled. I can only bear to sit and watch one hour of TV per night, so I read novels while my husband watches the outdoor shows, junk picker shows, military and police drama reruns. Even though I’m reading I manage to comment anyway on the leftist bias of these old reruns just in case he misses it. Maybe I spoil them, I don’t know, but it’s amazing how subtle the propaganda was when it first started in the 60s. Now there’s nothing subtle about it. It hits you between the eyes.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Lucia, it is indeed amazing how subtle the propaganda was and how early it started.

      But there are other reasons that TV can annoy ya. I was watching Johnny Carson last night and one of his guests was Joan Rivers. I find her particularly annoying. I had to change the channel.

      But I’ll keep the antenna for a few football games now and then and maybe the odd old program. I watched a couple “Hogan’s Heroes” episodes the other night. It’s obvious Schultz was the forerunner of Hillary: “I know nothing. I see nothing.”

      Who could have thought you’d could make a comedy out of prison camp and Nazis? What’s next, “Allah’s Heroes,” a show based on Gitmo? That would be the modern equivalent.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        MAD Magazine ended it’s “Hokum’s Heroes” parody with a sample parody of “Hochmann’s Heroes” — set in a concentration camp. A lot of people have noticed the similarity between Schultz and many Demagogues today in scandal investigations.

  9. Gibblet says:

    ” a show based on Gitmo”

    The absurdness of reality in the plot would be its own humor. Throw in a pet pot belly pig as a running gag, and I think you’ve got something.

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