Speaking, as we were yesterday, of Evan Mecham, Arizona’s late great moronic governor—a man who could whip W in an Olympic-level stupidity contest, hands-down—in just a few weeks now I will lose the TV set that allows me to watch the PBS Evening NewsHour. This is the only source of in-depth national news that’s easily and consistently available to me.
NPR does run some news, but most of it is commentary and yak. The actual news reports are short and perfunctory. And because I listen to NPR mostly in the car, getting the news this way is a catch-as-catch-can process.I try to read a national newspaper in the morning—the local metropolitan paper has been converted to a tabloid and no longer carries much news at all—but there just isn’t enough time to do more than skim the front page. Often I can’t even get that much read.
What does ole’ Evan have to do with a television set, and why is it about to go away?
Evan Mecham’s tenure in the Governor’s mansion was a nonstop sideshow. Every day he would open his mouth and something ludicrous would come out. It soon got to be so outrageous and so hilarious that everyone went out and bought a small, cheap television set for their office so as to catch the latest antics as they happened. I picked up one at Smitty’s, the now-defunct supermarket chain, for about $40 (can you imagine?).
Mecham was thrown out of office in 1988. But my little Evan Mecham television set still runs cheerfully, after more than 21 years of faithful service.
These days the Evan Mecham television resides on top of the refrigerator. I’m usually fixing dinner right about the time Jim Lehrer comes on, and so that’s when I turn the TV on to watch the news. The little television set is so old it probably doesn’t have a connection for the new HDTV box that we’re being made to purchase if we want to keep watching TV off the air, nor is there room on the fridge for the box and special HDTV rabbit-ears: two new dust-catchers.
[Oh, lovely: 4:22 in the morning and the locals are shooting at each other. That sounded like a semiautomatic pistol, rather than the usual streetsweeper. Close enough to set the dog off…jerks!]
Where were we? Oh yes, the television: Our beloved government’s enforced changeover to something many of us don’t especially want or care about will render my old friend unusable. And in doing so, it will bring a stop to my watching the evening news. It will close off a major source of news for me.
The local PBS station does rerun the NewsHour on one of its new ancillary HDTV channels later in the evening, but by the time I’m ready to sit down in front of the bigger television, I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I usually fall asleep within a half-hour after I turn the thing on.
To my mind, a TV set is no decorator item. I do not want a battleship-gray eye staring at me in my living room, and I consider it rude to have the thing nattering on and on while guests are here. The main TV resides in one of the back bedrooms (so designated “the TV room”), and there is noooo way I’m bringing that thing and its ugly HDTV rabbit ears and its dust-catching HDTV box into the front of the house. Even the smallest of new TV sets, at least as far as I can tell, are so absurdly expensive that I can’t afford to replace the little guy.
So, come February and the mandated switch to HDTV broadcasting, it’s good-bye to Jim Lehrer.
Amazing,isn’t it,how these technological advances enrich our lives?