Thursday, September 28, 2006

OXFORD CONFIDENTIAL:
Cable-Free Living, Women Who Haven't Seen From Here to Eternity, and Seducing Other People's Cats

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- With all the suffering in the world, with the butchery in places like Lebanon and Darfur, with all the political chaos in places like Somalia and Thailand, I have no clue why so many people seem shocked that a grown man in an Industrialized Nation would give up cable television.

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.

8 comments:

HuneeB said...

Congrats! I gave up cable 6 years ago and haven't looked back since!

*lynne* (azlynne1972) said...

No cable here either. Bah, we can receive the broadcast transmissions relatively okay; and besides, all we'd want cable for would be some Sci-Fi Channel offerings - offerings that really wouldn't affect the world or our happiness if we missed/never saw them!

From here to Eternity: heh. count me as #2. But my excuse is I was raised halfway across the world. I'll put it on my to-watch list tho :-)

Cat. said...

Still have cable...not wholly my choice.

Have seen FHtE, and read the book. The book (surpise!) is 300 times better. The kiss? All I could think was the sand going up their shorts.

Sorry. Not a romantic. But I do speak Spanish to my pets, does that count at all? ;-)

kT said...

My poor creatures suffer through the mangled mess of Spanish, French, and German which is the result of taking too many languages and learning none of them fluently.

I gave up cable back in May. Still don't know if I'll get it back.

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Have not given up cable yet, but the thought has crossed my mind. In my case, given the little one likes her Spongebob and a few other cable cartoons, it is highly unlikely we could do without. OK, could be done, but not without the little one going through withdrawal symptoms you may as well avoid. Personally though, I find that a good Internet connection is the "can live without thing." I get most my news online anyhow along with a few other things. Cable, I mostly watch History Channel, Food Network, a few other things. Oh well. Good for you for cutting the line, so to speak. As for cats, we have two, and I do speak Spanish to them now and then. However, since they do look with that cat look no matter the language, not sure it makes a difference. Best, and keep on blogging.

shayna said...

Have heard of "From Here To Eternity" but never have I watched it. I am not a romance type movie watcher... I only like horrors, thrillers and comedies. Maybe I am a rare breed of woman... :)

I know who to call if I need my animals tamed... well, at least someone to call if I want to hear Spanglish...

Smurf said...

dude, I am 28 and have never seen the movie, but hot picture.. makes one want to try such things.. lol... Pools are nice, but in a river in the middle of God's creation... um yea... lol anyways.. interesting post.

CW said...

Cable? Why would I need cable, I have the Internet! I wouldn't watch any tv at all, if not for the Internet. I don't think I have time for cable. As for cats, I think mine would love it if you spoke Spanish to her. I speak to her in Malay when I'm exasperated with her, and Mandarin when I want to express mushy affection...