Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's That Special Season

-O Holy Television-

Soon my family will be gathering from all over the country -- from Texas to Pennsylvania. As a family we really love this time of year when families like us gather to celebrate the birth of Philo Farnsworth -- inventor of the holy television set.

It's a holiday gathering like no other. There will be televisions playing football games in the living room, televisions playing reality shows in the family room, televisions playing cooking shows in the kitchen....even little flatscreen televisions in each of the kids rooms just in case there's a conflict between the cousins over which shows to watch. And they'll all be blaring at just that perfect decibel level -- the level above which it won't be impossible to shout over....but it will be impractical.

I don't know about your family, but my family has a whole list of Television Caroles that we like to sing at this time of year. Well, I guess I should say we used to like to sing them until it finally dawned on us that some of them were too long (had too many verses) to fit in during the commercial breaks. We might miss actual programming.

First we tried shortening the TV Caroles to fit in the breaks. Then, with the advent of tivo, there no longer were commercial breaks, long OR short, in which to squeeze a carole or two. So we gave them up.

We don't miss 'em of my brothers tivo'd last year's American Idol! Between that re-run "Idol" show and the new "Sing-Off!" there will be plenty of music in the Bauman house without all that pesky participatory stuff.

Back in the days before my family was totally converted to Televisianity, we used to, you know, talk and stuff. We'd spend HOURS trying to sus out just how we felt about things, how the world was treating us, what we enjoyed doing, what we thought about the political scene. Trivial, no-account stuff.

Now, television helps us shortcut through all that mudanity. It helps us waste less time on getting to know each other. And television allows us to spend more time on what really matters. Like who is doing well on "Survivor", or who's who in the NFL.

Want to know how that brother you haven't seen in three years feels about the world?'s a handy shortcut that has been made available only through the wonder that is television: Simply ask him if he watchs FOX or MSNBC. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Not only is it a practical shortcut, but it rids conversation of all that annoying ambiguity that used to muck up family discussions. It's as easy as black and white....ironically, brought to you in living color!

Oh holy set
Your lights are brightly shining
There's a game, and the sound's turned up loud

Long lay the world
So bored and unenlightened
'Til you appeared, put remotes in our hands

A thrill of hope
'Round the clock news cycles
We now can tell
Exactly who we are

Fall on the barcalounger
Oh hear those programs ringing
It's simply divine
The night TV was born


  1. Is the Indiana winter taking it's toll already John? Enjoy your holidays.

  2. There is never a TV on at my mom's house, but my husband's parents always have it on and the volume is waaaaay up. Our TV sometimes comes on in the evening, mostly to watch movies. Not real big on the TV around here, but the three of us have been seen in the living room, all with apple laptops on our laps, sometimes sending an im to each other. Sad, isn't it! I heard someone on NPR today saying that in the near future Apple, Google and Amazon will change the way TV is perceived and we won't even be saying the word. Imagine........

  3. Love your explanation as much as the post- i am of the mind that when you have people in your house they should not compete with the crap that comes from a tv- unless everyone is watching a movie together- sports take it to the den or the basement.... Now do i like to watch my own crap when i am alone or sewing- well heck yea- but I will never make you watch or talk over it.
    So come on South- the weather this year is brag worthy... and the tv is off.
    And I am 5'2" so no problem seeing over my head.
    Oh now that I am chatting away- we did not have anything but black and white that got, if you were lucky, 3 channels for years, ask our kids, then comes changed the area.. and not for the better...

  4. Given that I am a woman of a certain age tv was not around when I was small. When Proge's father and I moved out to the woods we did not get a tv until he was in fourth grade. It gave him a very different imagination. Now we love our big, flat screen tv.....mostly for watching movies. I like the shrine...the entire posting and explanation.... ;)

  5. Y'all still watch TV? We're too busy texting people in the same room on our smart phones :)

  6. At 5'2" you'd need a periscope to see eye-to-eye with me. I'll bring one down with me when I come. It's the only polite thing to do.

    smartcat, we watch movies on the 13" screen in our kitchen. Heh.

    brbr dnvn, XLnt Id. Gr8 evn.

  7. John, you're priceless! Just a great assessment of family togetherness.
    About two weeks ago, I read where they had done a study of FOX watchers. They found that people that watch FOX know LESS about current events than people that watch no TV AT ALL!

  8. Just have to say that I get a chuckle every time I see the shrine. I've shown this to several friends who join the hilarity!

  9. Family togetherness? Heh. This year I'm going to take my guitar down to the family get together and make everyone listen to me.

    no, wait.

    I think I'll figure out a way to broadcast myself THROUGH the television set! That'll show 'em.