Sunday, August 28, 2005

Broken Televisions, Edmund Wilson, Faulkner, Oprah and Katrina

"Wilson hated American chauvinism and gentility, and everything he associated with them - prudery, pedantry, commercialism, and militarism. That hatred was the starch in his prose."
- Louis Menand on Edmund Wilson, The New Yorker, August 8, 2005

Last night, my friends Nick and Andrea came over for a visit. While we were watching a DVD, my television, a 50-inch projection Mitsubishi, suddenly turned itself off. No apparent reason. One moment, "The Family Guy," the next moment, nothing.

I thought my remote might have accidentally sent an "off" message, so I used it to click the television back on. The little green indicator light came on, but before the picture came on, the television turned itself back off again. We tried this again many times with the same results, we tried turning on the television with the power button on the set itself, we tried plugging the power cord into different outlets, we tried unhooking the DVD player and the cable in case they were sending the "off" message, but nothing worked. It would click on, and within three seconds, shut back down.

My television's busted. Or on strike.

Which was fine last night. We amused ourselves by talking about Zen and metaphysics for the balance of the evening. But it's still not working today. Nick, being helpful, sent me some suggestions he had found on line, but none of the diagnostic tests recommended work when there's no power to the set. I'll have to call a repairman during the week.

It's no big deal - I'm not a big t.v. watcher anyway, and last Sunday was the series finale of "Six Feet Under," the only show that I followed. Okay, that and "Entourage." And FX's "Starved" and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." And the Sci Fi channel's "Tripping the Rift." And, of course, "The Daily Show."

God, I hope that the repairman can make it here on Monday.

In the absence of television, I amused myself today with some much-needed housecleaning (I probably should have done it before Nick and Andrea's visit), and catching up on my reading, including articles on Edmund Wilson in both The New Yorker and The Economist. Since I've been spending so much time lately in southern Mississippi, I decided to finally get around to reading Faulkner, instead of just talking like I had, and bought Oprah's Book of the Month Club's recommendations of "As I Lay Dying," "The Sound and the Fury," and "Light in August." I was actually looking for "Absalom, Absalom" on a recommendation I received while killing time in Mobile one night last week, but the local Border's didn't have it in stock and who am I to question Oprah's recommendation?

But with or without a television, I get to be the guy who spends next week at home here in Atlanta, due to now-Category-5-strength Hurricane Katrina, which seems to be bearing down on New Orleans. While I appreciate the storm's giving me a break, I pray that the people of New Orleans escape serious harm and loss of life from the winds and flooding about to descend upon them. Frankly, I'd rather be back in Pascagoula than to see any of them suffer.

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