Friday, October 29, 2010

The Latter-Day Oscar Wilde

Oh, this is just ever so good. The cable company that cheerfully sends me a bill for $178 for phone, Internet, and TV has decided that it isn’t going to accede to Fox’s apparently onerous "carriage" demands. In spite of their news being the fairest and most balanced available (and in spite too of the flock of pigs flying overhead as I compose this), I have extremely little interest in anything that Fox broadcasts — with the exception of sports and, about twice a year, The Simpsons. I’ve already missed several NFL games I’d hoped to watch because of this dispute, and tonight will be unable to watch the first game of the World Series.

But I’m wondering if maybe, in keeping with the sunny disposition in which I’ve swaddled myself so becomingly for most of 2010, I can’t see a silver lining in there somewhere. The TV on which I’d intended to watch brave little Tim Lincecum embarrass the Rangers tonight has a screen roughly the size of Rhode Island, and, uh, supports HD, but I wonder if I’d enjoy the game more than I did when I was a boy watching on a cruddy black and white set with a screen roughly the size of my iPad’s. But why stop there? It may be that watching the game in HD on a huge screen wouldn’t even be better than listening on the transistor radio I smuggled into junior high school, with an ultra low-fi earphone I lived in terror of my various instructors detecting.

I have made this observation many times before, but at my age, I get to start repeating myself implacably. I have been in the homes of rich audiophiles, and heard music on their state-of-the-art stereo systems, and have recorded in expensive Hollywood studios, but no music has ever sounded better to me than that on the radio in my friend Dave’s 1957 Pontiac the first winter vacation that I was old enough to drive around with a peer looking for trouble.

As we’ve discussed many times in the past, there’s no rational reason for me to be thrilled that the Giants are in the Series, as I left the Bay Area before any of their present players got to it, and even when I lived there, I was under no illusion that any of the Giant players were my neighbors, or even knew anything about the city whose livery they wore. I do know that I don’t much care for the Rangers’ star, Josh Hamilton. I admire people who are able to conquer their demons. For reasons of my own, though, I dislike their ascribing having done so to Jesus. I'm also very iffy about Nolan Ryan, who co-owns the Texas team. When I met him many years ago, while researching my famous anthropological piece about the California Angels, he was very personable and gracious, but I have since learned that he's an avid Republican, and an unrepentant George W. Bush enthusiast.

In other news, I continue to wish to be recognized as the latter-day Oscar Wilde, or at least Oscar Levant, of whose “So little to do, so much time” I have long been an avid fan. Toward this end, I have compiled a treasury of my most luminous epigrams for you to savor at your leisure. Naturally, you will want to attach full attribution should you invoke them at cocktail and other parties.

Hope springs infernal.
God never closes a door without also locking the windows.
To each his onus.
But I do see the glass as half full — of poison.
There is no accounting for taste, or its complete absence.

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