Three Strange Days

My favorite cable network (day job notwithstanding) just went off the air.

I didn’t have any television whatsoever for the longest time. Chris and I had an old Sony Trinitron when lived together way back in the ’90s. It had knobs and everything. No remote. But Chris ordered cable, and put an end to that. We’d get home from work — he from Broadcast News Networks, me from Uncommon Grounds — and not land on one specific channel for hours and hours and hours. He would just click, click, click his way through the fifty or so channels (hey, it was the ’90s), and then do it again. We never landed.

Worse yet, Chris and I never talked. We just ripped bong hits, and channel surfed. So when the picture suddenly went black, I was like, “Dude, let’s just not replace it.” That was, say, 1994. It was eleven years until I sat in front of cable again.

I moved into my new apartment last fall. When I told my boss he said, “You should get cable. This whole media executive without TV thing is getting old.” So I did.

I live alone, so it’s not a total loss. That is, I’m pretty sure no conversation is lacking. I answer the phone when it rings. I keep my laptop on my, um, lap. Yunno, I do things. I write songs. Sometimes I read. And I definately land on specific channels. I’m a big fan of Sundance, Ovation, and (of course) MTV. But more often that not, it’s Trio.

But a couple of days ago, I noticed that the channel 102 menu description read “Off The Air.” But it wasn’t. Something was still on, it just wasn’t Trio. I mean, Trio was the best cable channel ever. One minute I’d be watching a documentary on The Pixies, followed by “Parking Lot,” and then “Gay Republicans.” Where else would you get interviews with Robert Smigel, Mr. Bill, and Damien Rice all in one place? I mean, this is a network that didn’t have enough ads, so they played music videos! Love it.

Well, love it no more. Trio’s gone. Kinda’. It’s gone broadband. I guess they were dropped by some cable carriers, so NBC/Universal decided to take ’em online. Which is actually kinda cool, and kinda progressive. As long as I’ve been in this Internet racket I’ve been saying, “Someday you’ll be able to get eny episode of “Seinfeld’ you want in one click.’ And while that might not quite be the case yet, you can get “Fat City” any time you want.

Which is cool. And is the idea. And is where we’re going. MTV’s on television, online, and we’re coming to all sorts of screens near you really soon. Video’s gonna be everywhere: cell phones, iPods, belt buckles. I always used to joke about watches, but they’re not far behind. My new joke is implanted chips.


P.S. I just saw an AT&T ad using Oasis’ “All Around The World” to sell its merger with SBC. The end of the world is definately nigh.

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