Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Miscellaneous: Sensory Deprivation, Day 1

Ask any scientist. For an experiment to be useful, it should be planned in advance. One cannot charge recklessly into the process of discovery.

Still, that’s not about to stop me.

Last night, I set the DVR to record The Quiller Memorandum. As I was already in an espionage frame of mind, I started watching The Ipcress File, a movie I’ve always enjoyed.

Halfway through a bizarre brainwashing scene, the picture went wonky. For a moment, I thought the TV was simply getting into the spirit of things.

“Looks like the cable box is acting up,” I said to Rosemarie, offering my complicated but optimistic theory.

“No,” she said, “I think it’s the TV.” Her rationale was much simpler: if the cable box was at fault, we’d have no picture at all.

As always, she was right. Within minutes, the verdict was in. Our television set was dead. We’d had it for a while, but I figured it had a few more years left. Perhaps my expectations are too high. When I was a kid, we still had an old black-and-white set that looked like something out of The Twonky. When we moved to Florida, we gave it away. For all I know, it’s still working, picking up the old Dumont network.

We’ve started shopping for a replacement. So far, we’ve come to one conclusion. For reasons too convoluted and boring to go into here, the most convenient option would be to have the store drop off the new set and take the old one away. The problem is that such deliveries must be scheduled 3-5 days in advance.

Which brings us to the experimental portion of tonight’s broadcast. With apologies to Harlan Ellison, how will the subject fare without a glass teat at which to suckle? Tune in and find out.

We’re not totally cut off. Thanks to the new computer, we can watch DVDs. And the timing couldn’t be better; I’ve got several projects demanding my immediate attention, and over the weekend Rosemarie said that this year she’d like to read more in the evenings and watch less TV. She’s also suggested that it should rain ice cream, so if you go out, bring a hat. Or a cone.

I’ve already missed the Letterman/O’Reilly smackdown, which doesn’t sound like much: a cranky guy crankily tells a blowhard that he’s a blowhard, no doubt followed by analysis and gloating by Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann. I also missed the cable networks’ disastrous coverage of the attempted rescue of the West Virginia miners, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper learning the truth from an unlikely source.

Something tells me I’m going to come through this just fine.