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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Early Cable TV

Early Cable TV
10! We would have killed for 10!
I remember in the 60’s people would occasionally talk of “Pay TV.”  The mere mention of pay TV would get my mom’s hackles up.  Her depression senses tingled whenever anyone talked of spending money needlessly.
 
“Why would I spend good money for something I now get for free?” 
My first pay TV, cable TV, was 1967 in college.  What was a college student in 1967 doing paying for cable, especially when his mom breathed fire if anyone even mentioned paying for TV?  I went to school in Easton Pa., the Lehigh Valley.  The key here is valley.  Without a direct line to a TV signal, TV was worthless.  It is for this reason that the earliest cable TV companies were simply big old antennae on a mountain with a heavy-duty cable feeding TV’s in the valley.
In the Lehigh Valley in 1967 that meant you received a crisp picture for channels 3,6, and 10 plus 2 or 3 UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channels that existed back in the day. 
The charge for this magnificent reception was $1.50 a month.  It was charged to our fraternity house and I was to reimburse it every month.  No one ever asked me for the $1.50 a month, so I had free cable TV which would make mom very happy. 
These 6 channels of cable TV were shown on an 11-inch black and white TV.  We did not have a cable box; the signal went direct to the TV, later referred to as “Cable Ready” except in those days since there were no independent “Cable Channels” every TV was “Cable Ready.”
This set up might not seem like much, but my room mates and I had the only TV in the fraternity house except for the color TV in the rec room.  “Frog,” (He wore glasses like ‘Froggy’ on the Little Rascals) “Globe Head” (He had a really big head) and myself (“Jowls”…it’s a long story) were TV kings.  When people got voted out of their viewing choice in the rec room they came to our room for a second chance.  There was no vote on our TV, the three roommates ruled.  A beer or a couple of cigarettes could, however, change our preference.
As I recall we either watched old movies or one of the UHF stations played Mc Hale’s Navy around the clock.  News was absolutely forbidden.  The popular news show at the time was the “Huntley Brinkley Report.” This show was generally on at 6:00 PM in the rec room, but occasionally it was voted down in favor of something less cerebral.  “Big Fat John” (one of our least imaginative nick names) was addicted to the Huntley Brinkley Report and he would come to our room and beg to watch his show.
“Big Fat John” did not smoke, did not drink beer, and we really didn’t like him very much, so he had nothing to offer in the way of bribery.  We let him beg a while, but “Mc Hale’s Navy” always won…Hey, you take your fun where you can get it.  
I don’t know where I’m going with this, so I may as well cut it off here.
I probably owe the fraternity house $13.50 for my cable TV, but sadly the chapter no longer exists.  These days I have to pay $13.50 extra a month just to have access to a channel that still shows “Mc Hale’s Navy.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

CRANKY’s PLAY BY PLAY BROADCAST

CRANKY’s PLAY BY PLAY BROADCAST
Saturday, my old high school’s football team was playing for the NJ group 5 division 2 championship (5 is the largest group.)  This team had won 24 games in a row and won this same championship last year (no doubt much to the dismay of several band member’s mothers and or grandmothers, right Joanne.)
The game started at 1:00 played in the Meadowland’s Giants Stadium…it is a big deal.  The game was not broadcast on regular TV, but was available at a site on-line.  I signed on at 1:00 but the game did not get started until 1:05.
Before the first half, my team, Westfield, had a 15-7 lead over Bridgewater-Raritan, the same team they beat last year 10-7 to win the championship.  I posted to a school Facebook site that it was a good game, score in the second qtr. W 15 BR 7. 

Several people responded back asking me to keep posting the score.  I told them where they could find the game live on-line and was informed that they were having trouble with the feed.
So…
Cranky became a digital play by play announcer.  I bounced back and forth from the game to Facebook to post:
W 1st and 10 from own 25 8 min to go 3rd 15-7.
Then back to the game:
BR ball own 38 6 min to go 3rd.
Back and forth I went, the game, then Facebook:
W fumbles BR ball on W 22.
BR scores misses ep 15-13 11 min in game.
Possession changed several times until with 3 minutes to go and BR with the ball and threatening. I was getting into a good rhythm of watching and then posting, when someone else announces on Facebook:
WESTFIELD WINS!!! Great game.
WTH?  Who knew my internet feed was delayed several minutes…spoiler alert.
Oh well it was a great game and I kind of enjoyed doing play by play.  I was just starting to get good at it when my thunder was stolen by someone privy to the game live.
So much for a career in play by play broadcasting.  Next time maybe I could get hold of a live feed and make some on-line wagers.  That wouldn’t be unethical…would it?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

MOMMA WAS A DOODLE!

MOMMA WAS A DOODLE!
This re-run is from December 2013, I had planned another, but this post by Karen of Angel Stew and Devil Brew inspired this instead.

So I just was watching “Driving Miss Daisy” and in the movie, Dan Aykroyd often tells Miss Daisy, “Momma you’re a Doodle.”  I loved that line.  It makes me think of my own “Momma” as she was also a Doodle. 

I pulled out our Christmas stuff last week and in the box was a Christmas stocking my mom knitted (crocheted?) and it reminded of one more reason why my Momma was a Doodle.

Mom’s sister, my Aunt Eleanor, knitted Christmas stockings. They were beautiful Christmas red and green with a child’s name across the top and a jolly Santa in the middle.  Aunt Eleanor gave mom the pattern and taught her how to make the stockings.  Mom made several and they were all very nice.  Then she came to my stocking.  Apparently she was out of the traditional Christmas red and green colors, but that would not stop mom. 

She bought some new yarn of not so traditional colors.  She bought pink (for the red) and chartreuse (kinda green).  I’m not sure of the other grandchildren, but all of my children received the pink and chartreuse stockings.

The traditional red and green stockings would have been nice, and at the time we got our strange stockings I felt a little put-out that we got the off color Christmas stockings.  As the years go by, I am glad my family got the pink and chartreuse stockings. 
Every year when I hang mine up, I get to fondly remember,
My son Matt's stocking
"You're a Doodle, Momma!"