Stuff You Should Know · Television

The (‘rents) is too damn high #1


This will be the first in what will probably be a series of humorous articles (knock wood) on how life at Rancho Yesteryear has taken a wacky turn now that my mother, father and I have banded together and started lighthouse keeping light housekeeping at our new digs in Athens, Georgia…

It’s been a little over a month since my Mom, Dad and I moved into the new Rancho Yesteryear location…and though you might say to yourself after reading this post “Boy, is he miserable…” I need to reassure you this is not the case at all.  The three of us are quite content, and speaking for myself I’m certainly eating better than I did at my old apartment because my Mom is really one hell of a cook.  She is also making a concerted effort to save money whenever she can (I can’t help but think of Jeffrey Jones’ character in Beetlejuice, who only wants “to relax and clip coupons”), as witnessed by the fact that she actually (I’m still trying to wrap my head around this) purchased a box of tissues that were not Kleenex.  (Because she had a coupon for the other “inferior” brand, you understand.)

tcmLiving by yourself is pretty nice because you’re pretty much the boss and you call all the shots—“If I want peanut M&Ms for breakfast, then make it so!”—so there’s quite a few adjustments that are still being made here at the new Rancho Yesteryear…and one of them is the arrangements regarding television.  Once again, at the old apartment…the channel selector was pretty much welded to either The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!) or Encore Westerns…maybe a little RTN tossed in on occasion, and most definitely NBC on Thursday nights when CommunityThe Office, and Parks and Recreation are on.  Mom and Dad—they don’t play that, if I may borrow the vernacular of the younger TDOY readers out there…they like to watch a lot of sporting events; recently they have been flipping back-and-forth between Braves games and the NBA championship between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat—something I really don’t care about only because I’m just not a basketball guy.


My dad is also a bit of a news junkie.  Mom says to me, “I generally let him watch the news at noon (on Atlanta’s channel 2, WSB-TV) even though he watches it again at five p.m…and unless something has crashed or is on fire, it’s the same damn information.”  Now, I like Channel 2’s news—it’s not as touchy-feely as its competitor, Channel 11 (11Alive!), which brags that its staff spends all its time helping out in soup kitchens and cutesily rates the weather days on a scale from one to…yes, you guessed it, eleven—but if you had never visited the city of Atlanta and the only information you obtained about the place was watching Channel 2’s coverage I guarantee within one hour you would be convinced that there were forces inside the city wanting to hunt you down and kill you, and you would rush to get yourself and/or your family out of the city and to safety.  I’m not making this up.  The content of WSB’s newscasts consists of beatings, shootings, stabbings, houses on fire, people on fire, cars totaled on interstates, people on trial for crimes ranging from possession to kidnapping to just being corrupt in general—and my favorite thing is that the station has this helicopter that constantly hovers over areas of Atlanta looking for stuff to report:

REPORTER: This is WSB’s “Eye in the Sky” currently watching a traffic pileup on 285…everything was going smoothly until Joe and I decided to buzz a few of the cars down there out of sheer boredom, and now it’s just a real mess…stay tuned to Channel 2 because if a car should suddenly burst into flame or a tractor trailer jackknifes, we’ll be there to keep you informed…

Channel 2 also prides itself on its investigative reporting, and in a day and age when that sort of thing has fallen by the wayside because of any number of factors (threatened lawsuits, station expense, etc.) it’s nice to see it in full force on a local news station…but sometimes I’m not so sure WSB isn’t just a bit too nosy for its own good:

ANCHOR: Coming up at six, county government employees are spending their lunch time at the local Hooters’…and sticking taxpayers with the bill!  Channel 2 has been investigating this story for some time now, and you’d be amazed at how easy it is because these dolts throw out their credit card receipts without shredding them and a couple of interns found a cache of them in the restaurant’s dumpster out back.  The full story after we check in with “Eye in the Sky,” where reports of rampant cannibalism on I-285 have been reported after several cars were set on fire and an eighteen-wheeler purposely jackknifed…

My father, when he would stop by my old apartment, would always ask if I saw “something-something” on the news and I would have to patiently explain to him that because I have Internet access I’d see most of the information that I needed to know on my homepage, Facebook, etc.  Comedienne Kathleen Madigan does a funny routine in which she explains why the evening news on TV is an outmoded concept because of the widening of the information highway—“Unless something happens right at 6:29 p.m., I’m pretty good to go.”  (I fell off the couch laughing at that, because I couldn’t help but think of my father.)

GilliganWhen I was but a mere sprat, I did not have the most admirable of viewing habits.  I don’t have to tell you this, I suppose—I have expressed here on the blog in the past that I watch stuff like Gilligan’s Island and the Three Stooges and I’m certainly not ashamed to admit it.  My father would rail about this, telling me that I was rotting my brain…and before one or two of you wisenheimers start in with “He was right about that” let me tell you what my Dad does for entertainment now.  Does he spend his copious retirement time reading all the good books he never got around to perusing?  Does he spend the day admiring works of art in museums or ensconced in symphony halls listening to classical music?  Does he pursue anything that would allow him to lord it over me that his cultural pursuits shame mine in every conceivable way imaginable?  No.  No, he does not.   He channels his free time watching episodes of what I like to call It Only Hurts When My Kid Hits Me in the ‘Nads With a Wiffle Ball Bat.

My father has become TruTV’s bitch—TruTV being a cable offering owned by Turner Broadcasting (well, with all the Braves games my parents watch I guess they’re keeping it in the family) that used to be called Court TV (the handle it went by when it premiered in 1991; it changed names in 2008) when they spotlighted televised trial coverage but now the programming has shifted to more “caught on video” shows, or as TruTV boasts in their advertising: “Not Reality. Actuality.”

trutvWhat is being offered on this channel that the patriarch of the Shreve clan finds so riveting, I hear you asking?  (Well, you must be because the doctor told me that prescription would silence the voices in my head.)  There’s a show that he watched the other night (and I honestly can’t believe I managed to stay in my comfy chair for over an hour-and-a-half while this nonsense was on) entitled All Worked Up, in which various people (a bail bondsman, a process server, a meter maid) must perform unpleasant tasks like writing out traffic tickets or serving subpoenas.  Now, from what I understand in the three episodes I sat through you’re supposed to sympathize with the stars of the show because, hey, they’re just doing their jobs and if they didn’t, somebody else would have to.  But these hard-working drones are thoroughly repellent and unpleasant—so much so that I actually started to feel sorry for the people they had to give the tickets/subpoenas to.  The meter maid dame was a real piece of work; so surly that I joked to my Mom that she must really love the line of work she’s in: “You know, a person with her people skills and charm would have no problem finding employment in the food service industry.”

“Or she could be a night auditor,” returned Mom.  (She really knows how to hurt a guy.)


All Worked Up also features a North Carolina auto repossession agency that apparently was so popular on the show they got their own series (a spin-off…yay!) called Lizard Lick Towing—and it’s these repossession shows that really drive me up the wall.  “Does anyone whose car is being towed ever grab a tire iron and beat the !@#$ out of these obnoxious repo people?” I asked Dad during one telecast.  “’Cause that’s something I definitely want to see.”  The most-watched of these programs in our household is one called Operation Repo, which features dialogue so witty and sparkling that most of it is audibly bleeped out…and when the ‘rents would watch this show over at their old haunts at the Double K Ranch my sister Kat would often go downstairs (hearing the constant beeping) and ask if my Dad was backing up a truck…

Sunday, Mater and Pater spent most of the day watching this show and I caught a small portion of it because Mom had made some sandwiches for lunch.  You have these two guys who need to take a truck away from two people, one of which is female and wearing nothing but a bikini, and the dialogue exchange goes sort of like this:

GIRL: Please don’t take this truck…
REPO GUY: We have to (expletive deleted) so that you (more expletives deleted) and (even more expletives deleted) and there’s nothing we can (final deletion of expletives)…

Because young, impressionable children might accidentally play with the cable remote and stumble across TruTV the network must bleep out a lot of the language on the show for fear it will warp their tender sensibilities, to be sure.  But here’s the part that floored me—they do a one-and-one with the guy who’s ransacking his vocabulary for obscenities while talking to the woman and he says directly to the camera: “The lady started mouthing off when we told her he had to repossess the car.”  Really?  “Please don’t take the truck” constitutes “mouthing off”?

worlddumbThere’s a show called Bait Car that’s also a favorite of my Dad’s, in which law enforcement officials conduct surveillance on a car that acts as “bait” to would-be auto thieves and when these miscreants make off with the vehicle the gendarmes can foil their foray into crime by pressing a button via remote that shuts the car off.  (Mom: “Doesn’t that constitute entrapment?”)  Some of his other favorites include Hardcore PawnSouthern Fried Stings, and my personal favorite of the bunch, TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest… (fill in the rest yourself).  This show offers up comical footage of people doing truly dumb things or performing idiotic stunts while Surreal Life rejects like Danny Bonaduce, Tonya Harding, and Leif Garrett humorlessly offer up quips and japes in such a manner that if you’d swear Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward were having high tea right in your very own living room.

The current television situation at the new Rancho Yesteryear wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We took special pains to make sure the cable guy added a second hookup in my room so I didn’t have to sit through a Cops marathon with my father…and though I thought the TV set that my parents constantly watched during their stay at the Double K Ranch would be making the journey to the new house, I was informed by Mom that she wasn’t going to take it because it belonged to my sister.  (Me: “Ferchrissake, she has two other sets in that house…I don’t think she’s going to miss it.”)  But this is not to infer that my Mom doesn’t sympathize with my plight because Saturday I was at the dinner table eating lunch and heard a program on the living room where my father was having his.  “What’s he watching in there?” I asked.

“There’s a Tarzan movie on TCM,” she replied.  Brightening, she added: “They’re going to show King Kong after it…the original one.”

“Well, you won’t get to see it once the World’s Funniest Injured Nutsack Videos marathon is in full swing,” I cracked.  She tried to stifle her laugh, but it proved futile.

sbbnHello…I’m Chuckie Award-winning blogger Stacia Jones from She Blogged by Night.  The story you have just read is true, and to say that my friend’s Ivan current plight is wretched and pathetic would be a major understatement.  That is why I’m pleased to announce…

(trumpet fanfare)

The Ivan Needs a Television Super Extravaganza Mega Event and Raffle (In 3D).  Donate a buck to Ivan’s cause and get an entry to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.  Not only that, it’ll make you feel good.

As a certain cartoon canine might say: “Gawrsh!”  But I’m rudely interrupting…Stacia has more of the “deets,” as she calls them:

What’s the prize?

A $20 Amazon Gift Card emailed to you.

How much does it cost to enter?

$1 for each entry.  If you donate $3, you get entered 3 times into the raffle. 

How does it work?

You send a donation to Ivan via Paypal link at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (it’s under “Put something in the pot, boy…”).  (Ivan: Stacia has a button up at SBBN, too, if you happen to be walking your dog in that neighborhood.)  I will send a confirmation email to you when donations are received, and post a reminder before the drawing on the evening of June 13. 

When is the drawing?

The evening of June 15, at 8:00 PM Central. I will literally put everyone’s entries on pieces of paper and draw them out of a hat. I’ll even take pictures.  (Warning:  Pictures may contain cats.)

What if I don’t get a confirmation email?

Let me know if you don’t get confirmation within 48 hours of donating to The Ivan Needs a Television Super Extravaganza Mega Event and Raffle (In 3D) Fund. I will post one or two reminders between now and the drawing, so you can also comment on SBBN and we’ll look into it.

How will I get the card if I win?

A $20 Amazon gift card will be sent from my email address (glitterninja at to the email address you used for the Paypal donation.  Note that we cannot send gift cards to any address except the confirmed Paypal address on your account.

Anything else?

If you would also like to enter to win free original crazed death porn artwork, Mr. Stacia is considering doing a raffle as well.  More details on that when it happens.

You can also donate out of the kindness of your heart, if you wish. Hint hint. Have a little fun, attempt to turn $1 into $20, and help a guy out. Thanks. 

And thanks…gracious, gracious thanks to Stacia for suggesting and coordinating this event.  With the generous support of members like you, soon Jesse Ventura and his conspiracy theories will be just a mist in the memory…

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