Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cable TV

I sit here and laugh about CABLE.  When I was a kid in the Osage cable was something we used to build fence or hang a water gap.  I am sure you have seen cable fencing so I will not explain but you probably don't know what a I mean by a water gap.  We lived on Beaver Creek and where water or the creek ran from our land to Aunt Helen Conner's place or the McConaghy's or from the Harris family or the Kelly's place we had to build something across the creek that could withstand flooding and ultimately keep the cattle and other livestock on our place.  Well I remember hanging cable from one giant oak tree on one side of the creek to another oak on the other side.  We used the tractor and pickup both to pull the cable tight.  I bet that cable weighed 1000 pounds or more so there was not an option.  Then we hung old farm implements in the middle to block the crossing.  The way it worked was that trees that died up the creek would wash into the water gap we built and create a barrier to the animals from getting out of the pasture.  Hopefully that was a clear picture of a water-gap.

Alright, back to CABLE as you know it.  Basically there was NO cable TV or Internet but only a hard wire for telephone and it hung overhead attached to the same poles as the electric line.  We had a TV antenna we called rabbit ears to connect the non-HD TV stations (we had 2 channels)  we had available in Grainola.  Now those Shidler and city kids from Grainola got at least 3 stations with their rabbit ears.  Another cool thing was the TV itself.  It was about 100 pounds and at least 3 feet deep and the face was about 20 inches before it got to be 29.  Also the back was filled with tubes not chips and either Uncle Bill Lane or Uncle Bill Heath or Joe Rash (Shidler TV and Appliance) had to come out and replace a tube on occasion.  The one thing I can say is it was always fun because they would typically come in the evening and it was fun to visit with them and watch the repairs and testing of those tubes.

Somewhere or sometime after I started college we got something really fancy called coax cable.  It was one copper wire inside some kind of shielding material and wrapped in black plastic.  You might still have some today at your house typically installed by Cox or AT&T.  Now we have a satellite called dish which brings it into the house using some of the coax cable but that is now old technology and we are getting our TV channels on an antenna for local stations, about 38 stations and it is HD.  We are in the process of getting rid of the satellite on the roof as we have a ROKU and Apple TV and all kinds of options beyond that.  We were actually paying over $150 per month to watch about 1 hour of TV a week and that was for spring storms/weather.  Come to think of it when I was in college I was paying $60 a month for Shouna and my first apartment rent.  I think that included utilities.


So, we went from paying nothing to almost $150 per month back to nothing.  We do pay $8.50 per month for Netflix and of course Amazon Prime which is $100 per year but includes tens of thousands of movies and other shows and FREE shipping for anything ordered on Amazon which is typically delivered in less than 2 days from anywhere in America.  WOW!!!!!!!  I love these wacky names but here is another which I have not done.  I am looking at SLING so I can get all of ESPN and FOX News for $20 per month.  I have not decided, yet.

I should also mention I still have a home phone number which 38% of Americans have discontinued.  I pay less than $4 per month and get it over the Internet using OOMA which includes all the cool features.

OK, that gets me to the real point of all of this.  Why if technology makes things better and cheaper am I paying $185 per month for two cell phones plus the new IPHONE is going to be $1000 or the Samsung which is about $750?  I think something is screwy when a commodity and a necessity like this is so pricey and it keeps going up.  I think we have a legalized monopoly and I thought that was against the law.  And why does the government GIVE 38,000,000 free phones to folks? At tax payers expense!  In case you did not know it the government does not pay for anything with its money but with yours if you pay your fair share or unfair share of taxes!

CABLE has come and gone just like the land line for telephone and 8 tracks and cassettes and desk top computers and floppy drives (who thought up that name?) and the list goes on and on.

So what do you learn in the Osage?
  • Life is full of change and we have to adapt
  • Spending can get out of control so you have to stay on top of it
  • Embrace the future and get over the past and enjoy life 
Love ya'll,
gary@thepioneerman.com

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