Yes, I no longer have cable. I realized, well, that I watched all of five hours of television during the week. Usually, I watched Sci-Fi or the History Channel. I could give a flying monkey-fuck about runway projects or contenders. I can get BBC World News on the local PBS station, as well as the Deutsche Welle English-language telecast.
I read the headlines from about seven different world news outlets every damned morning before work. Some reporter habits die hard.
So I dumped it - save 90 dollars a month, which, well, usually goes to helping various charities, like those affiliated with the local AK Steel lockout. I don't need cable, but there are a lot of kids down in nearby Middletown who need food, school supplies, and other things whilst Mom and Pop Steelworker fight for the fight for fair labor practices.
It's amazing how many folks see cable television as an almost necessity of life. What does one do with their time people ask, without those 900 channels? How can one survive without the latest celebrity gossip or the latest in reality TV?
Actually, it's quite easy. Cable networks are, well, just media outlets.
* * * *
Earlier this week, I found out a local female graduate student friend hadn't seen From Here to Eternity, the legendary Burt Lancaster/Frank Sinatra flick...
You know, the one with quite possibly the greatest on-screen kiss in the history of cinema? Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on a Hawaiian beach, an Army NonCom being seduced by his commanding officer's wife?
I don't know why, but I was completely blown by the fact that there are women who haven't seen this movie. Yeah, I know its stereotypical to assume that ALL women have seen the film by the time they hit, oh, 25 or so.
But we're talking the greatest movie kiss here. This ain't fucking Van Wilder, or some cheesy-ass popcorn chick flick. I've known 70-80 year-old church ladies who've almost had an orgasm discussing the nasty things they were inspired to do because of this one scene - hell, my own grandmother once told me the only man she would've considered cheated on my grandfather with was Burt Lancaster...
The fact that my grandmother, I'm told, was constantly compared to Greta Garbo well into her 50s, well, I'm pretty sure she could've pulled off the Burt Lancaster seduction if she really wanted to. For Christ's sakes, Gamal Nasser and King Farouk both reportedly called my G'maw "the most beautiful woman in the world" - not bad for the daughter of a West Virginia coal miner and wife of a diplomat.
I took a rather informal poll of women locally, all under the age of 25. Only one had ever seen the film. How'd that happen? It should be downright illegal for women to reach adulthood without seeing at least one classic, passion-filled noir film.
I learned how to kiss women, thanks to films like From Here to Eternity. And,you know, I haven't had too many complaints, actually. And my adult entertainer friends have told me, well, more guys should be required to watch some classic films because of that fact... there's nothing like the sound of a woman inhaling suddenly, biting her lip gently, a she watches two people seduce each other on a beach, in surreal black-and-white.
I loaned the grad student a DVD copy of the film. There are some cultural tragedies that cannot be left unanswered.
* * * *
I've been at a friend's apartment late the last two nights.
R. has three cats, all of whom, she warned me beforehand, tend to be leary of strangers.
So as usual, for some reason, I started talking to her cats in Spanish, in my old "broadcast" voice. Actually, I started speaking my busted-ass Spanglish in a low, almost purring tone.
R. thought it was one of the most bizarre things she'd ever seen. And, well, it probably was.
¿Ay, Quiénes las flacas?
The cats sat and stared.
Tu madre es muy, muy bonita, ¿verdad?
I stared at the cats, winked, the cats winked back. Then they stared at R., winked. The cats bounced around her apartment like hyperactive children.
Hell, I don't know why I do it. I think it started as a joke, almost a decade ago. An ex-girfriend's grandmother, this tiny little traditional Mexican abuelita, refused to speak that dirty English, even though she was fluent in my native tongue - and three others. Being lousy at languages, I was once caught practicing my Spanish talking to her grandmother's barnyard critters in northern New Mexico by a very amused Abuelita. B. soon learned of it and, for the whole of our short visit, I was picked on in two languages.
But hey, I managed to get the kittens out of the chicken coop...
I'm a quirky bastard, that's for sure.
And R.'s cats seemed to get it.