Monday, September 20, 2010

An old curmudgeon

December 30, 2008

Another holiday season over, and more than ever, I am reminded how old I am getting. My "little girl" is 22 now, my nieces and nephews have children of their own, and I got into a discussion with a couple family members about TV over the holiday.
I was asked why I don’t have an HD television, and that led to a discussion about how TV should be. I have lived my life with a TV picture being more-or-less square, not rectangular, and even in the last several years when broadcasters have been doing some programs in "movie perspective" (the top and bottom couple of inches of the screen are black, and the programming is in wide-screen mode) it is distracting to me that the picture is in that perspective; I don’t like it. We presently have a 31" Sanyo in the living room that does a fine job. I don’t do movies, so I don’t care about a 16:9 screen ratio, and I have looked at HD television in the stores, and maybe it is just my eyes, but from about 14 feet, ( the distance at home from me to the TV screen) I can’t tell much difference. With the trusty old Sanyo, on a talking head newscast, I can make out the gray hairs on the head of the newscasters, so how much HD do I need?
There is also the matter of screen size. We have, as I say, a 31" standard CRT set in the living room. A 31" diagonal 16:9 screen is not nearly as tall as mine, and the things just look tiny; sorry, but there it is. To get the screen height that I have now, I am probably looking at a 42" diagonal nowadays, which won’t fit in the space we have set up for the TV, and would cost about $1000, and something in my cheap Irish soul is just not willing to unroll a grand for a TV when the one we have retailed for $259 a few years ago.
And back to that perspective thing. Thanksgiving, we were at the home of one of my brothers, who has a gargantuan 52" plasma HD television. We had the big parade showing (Macy’s I think) being broadcast by one of the networks in a real perspective, which means a square picture. To fill the huge screen, the thing was in the mode which artificially stretches the picture to fill the screen, which distorts the picture - 18" tall majorettes with 3" wide thighs were marching by, followed by the band with oval tuba horns and bass drums, every instrument being played by people who looked as if they had spent far too much time at fast-food joints. Makes me freaking crazy! Why spend all that cash on a purported high-definition TV and then distort the picture like that? Grrr…
My daughter has one of the cellphones that slides open exposing a keyboard, to make it easier for her to text her friends. Now she is convinced that I need one of these, so that i could text with her. I explained to her that I have a cellphone; it is a phone - if she wants to talk to me, call me. She maintains that she doesn’t like to talk on the phone, and prefers to text, which I don’t get, but there are a number of things she does that I don’t get.
I’m just a curmudgeon I suppose. And cheap. And old. [sigh]

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