T.V. Never Changes in the Bibey House

        I remember when we didn’t have a T.V. in our home.  It never has been that big a thing for us.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t much good music on television.  I found radio more magical anyway.

        I don’t think T.V. has changed all that much.  The idea is to hire the youngest, best looking people you can find; it sells more ads.  I have to admit reality T.V. doesn’t do a thing for me.  I see enough reality in my work, so I’d rather have someone like Jack Benny speak to my soul with humor and grace.

        When I was a kid our neighbors got a color set.  Later Dad gave in and we got one too, but he didn’t see what all the fuss was about. ‘Bonanza’ was big then.  The color was of such poor quality that Dad thought Lorene Greene looked jaundiced.  I didn’t know what it was and went to look it up.  In some ways Dad was way ahead of his time.  He thought the world of Marshall Dillon, but couldn’t understand why they’d let him smoke on T.V.  He knew it would influence young people.

        When Marfar and I got married we lived in a small trailer.  The best piece of furniture we had was a three legged couch.  A brick propped up the fourth corner.  We only got two T.V. channels, but in the summer you could get a third if you opened the door.  I rigged up an antenna on the clothes line pole, but we couldn’t afford the rotor.  I’d go out at night and turn it by hand and stop when she stomped on the floor to signal we had a clear station.  I still remember winter and how the cold metal wanted to stick to my hands.  Very soon I learned to eye-ball the proper position with minimal exposure to the elements.

        For a long time we didn’t have the cable.  We broke down when Arnie began to talk about the Golf Channel.  At first, my boy and I watched a lot.  One day he was tuned in to some obscure (at least for us in the States) European Tour event and shouted, “Hey Dad, some guy over in Ireland swings like you and he’s making a living!”

        At first we went overboard.  But, as some wag observed, when you can recite the top ten ladies on the Japanese women’s tour and spell their names right you aren’t reading enough.  We weaned ourselves from the addiction, but still watched some.

        Indie never thought much of T.V. either.  He had two old sets at the cabin.  The picture worked in the console one and the sound was functional in the portable one that sat on top of it.  He loved baseball and horse races. He didn’t always keep the sets in synch, so sometimes Secretariat would hit a home run.

        After Indie died, he left his cabin to us.  We left it about the same, but when analog T.V. went out we did get a converter box.  It doesn’t work very well, and we only get three channels.  At first it was only two, but we got out the old powered antenna and put it on the porch to pull in a third one.  Some things never change.

        A special on Walter Cronkite was on last night.  One thing has changed about T.V.  I’ve never trusted anyone as much since Mr. Cronkite retired.  If he said it, I believed it.  Right in the middle of the special somehow the digital signal failed, and the screen went blank.  I went out and fiddled with my home-made rig to no avail.  Maybe things haven’t changed so much after all.  I guess I’ll read about it in the morning paper.  Sometimes I wish we had stuck with radio; it was so much more reliable.

        I often wonder how T.V. plays out in other cultures.  In the U.S. it is too dominant to suit me, though the Internet has diluted it’s influence somewhat.  It is too silly for my taste too.  What is television like where you come from?

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “T.V. Never Changes in the Bibey House”

  1. newt221 Says:

    TV stays on in my house only for noise. I got used to having the background noise when I lived alone before. However, in the mornings, I listen to news radio. TV is best to take a nap by though.

    We only got three channels when I was a kid. And, isn’t it amazing with hundreds of stations people will still complain that there is nothing to watch? Maybe because so much of what is produced is not worth the time of watching?

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms Cindy,

      My sentiments exactly. There isn’t much to watch is there? Instead I read, write a little, or play music. I believe my life is richer for it.

      Dr. B

  2. Karen Says:

    Dr. B., I grew up with TV but in Tasmania we only had 2 channels for a very long time! I think it was only in my teens they added a 3rd and now there may be 4… I have thus far been successful in avoiding cable as I just can’t see the need for hundreds of channels all showing the same kind of rubbish! I have two shows that I really enjoy and I try and remember to switch on for those, but apart from that I spend my evenings in peace and quiet. My husband is normally out visiting people, and by the time I get the boys to bed I’m ready to just chill out on my computer and enjoy the silence. It’s amazing how much writing I can get done when I don’t turn it on!!

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms Karen,

      I am like you and see T.V. as as waste of time for the most part. And you are right, cable often only multipies low quality art.

      Dr. B

  3. In Britain, TV is dominated by the BBC – two main channels, neither of which (thank heavens) has commercials, as the BBC is funded by the government and by all of us who have a TV paying a licence fee. The BBC’s aim is to provide high-quality drama and other entertainment, high-quality documentaries and impartial news coverage, all of which it does very well. Right wing politicians attack the BBC for being too pinko-liberal, while some left-wingers attack it for being too much in the government’s pocket(one bright spark here used to call it the Bush Blair Channel), all of which is nonsense. We have 3 other more commercial channels, which are also pretty good. But various forms of satellite and cable TV have brought along 1000s more channels and, like Karen in Australia, I think that nearly all of them are a waste of time – half hour programmes with 2 10 minute slots of vapid content plus 10 minutes of commercials. Like most Brits, I believe we have something truly valuable in the BBC – it worries me when some of those in power here attack it, and I hope and pray we never lose it.

    • drtombibey Says:


      The BBC sounds a little like our NPR public radio or our public TV. Our NPR is good, though not heavily funded. They have to rely on fund raisers to stay on the air.

      I like our public T.V. better than commercial television but I don’t watch it much. I must have a bit of ADD. It is hard for me to sit still long.

      Dr. B

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