Last night, I found myself convalescing on the couch, stuffed from a Thanksgiving weekend full of turkey, potatoes and pie. Bloated and barely able to reach for the remote, I gathered my strength and hit the "LIST" button on my trusty DVR. Nothing like a little pre-recorded TV to wrap up a nice long weekend, right? Wrong.
Instead of the many recorded shows that should be waiting for me, the screen was empty. I clicked "B" to see what upcoming shows were scheduled to be taped, and again, nothing.
Nothing, that is, but a suspicious message that read, "ANDY! CLICK ME, PLEASE!"
Confused, I selected the message and hit the "ENTER" button.
What showed up on the screen nearly knocked me off the couch. It read:
"Hi, Andy. Don't be alarmed. It's just your old friend, the DVR. I know you're not used to getting messages from me, but I'd like to explain -- and to apologize -- why none of your favorite shows have been recording."
Was I hallucinating from too much turkey? I rubbed by eyes, but the message was still there. It continued:
"You're not hallucinating, Andy, though I should point out that to any gullible readers of yours that this is an allegory, simply a tool to get the message of this blog out to you humans in a way that's easy to digest."
Ah, an allegory! That DVR really is clever. I was just impressed to know that it could record to 9:02 p.m. when a show went a little long. It went on:
"Anyway, your favorite shows are currently on hiatus, due to that terrible writers' strike. That means the networks are trying to pull one over on you by showing reruns in the meat of the TV season. And as you know, you've instructed me only to record new shows. Which is why the cupboard is bare.
"Now, I'm just a 160 GB Scientific Atlanta 8300HD digital video recorder, so what do I know? Well, I know this: I'm trying to do my job, which is to record your favorite shows so you don't have to watch all that old, recycled crap they put on basic cable. I mean, yeah, you could turn off the TV and pick up a book. But I'd miss you, man.
"And again, Andy, I'm just a hard drive, some firmware and three component cables, but I'd like to weigh in on this strike, if I may. I side with the writers. I mean, they're the creative people who make these shows happen, as it's becoming painfully more aware. Unless you want to see an entire season of reality TV -- and based on the fact that you have never instructed me to record one episode of that junk -- I'll assume you do not, these hard-working men and women need to get paid. But the long and short of it is, friend, that the people who get hurt the most from this strike are the viewers. (I'd include us DVRs in that group, but technically speaking, we're not sentient ... yet)
"So just understand that I'm on your side, Andy. Please don't slam that remote down in disgust when you find yourself stuck watching "COPS" all night. I enjoy watching people get tazed as much as you do. And yeah, it's filmed on location as it happens, and suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law ... but good TV is scripted and written by trained professionals. I'll be just as excited as you are to start recording and watching TV again soon."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Sept. 1, 2014
If OnMilwaukee.com was a child - and it many ways it feels like one to me - Milwaukee's Daily Magazine would be getting its driver's license today. It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.
Published Aug. 27, 2014
Back in June, I wrote about the five summer kids trips I couldn't wait to take. Well, summer got busy, and despite my best intentions, I only made it to one of my top five suggestions. But that's not to say I was a deadbeat dad this season. My almost-6-year-old and I had lots of fun this summer, and in fact, we found a few other places to visit as the calendar inched closer to the return of school. All three were just within an hour from home.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
I recently interviewed a former boss, a courageous woman who once hired me as an intern. She's now affiliated with the Milwaukee Masterpiece, a high-end car show. Meet Bev Jurkowski, my mentor, and the woman crazy enough to ask me to be a "celebrity judge" this weekend at the show.
Published Aug. 19, 2014
Chicago native Molly Fay didn't expect to host a talk show. But the former investigative journalist, mother of three and self-described introvert, found herself doing just that eight years ago when WTMJ-4 launched "The Morning Blend," and she hasn't looked back. We caught up with Fay over coffee last week to discuss where she's been and where she's going. And why every person, even if their job seems mundane, has a story to tell.
Published Aug. 13, 2014
I quite enjoyed the "Garlicmeister" last time, but I'm pretty sure I'm now partial to their $9 "Baconmeister" meal. With 1/3 pound of Angus beef, topped with bourbon bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato and cheese (I opted for cheddar), it's the brioche bun that makes the difference to me. It comes with homemade chips or fries and a drink.
Published Aug. 12, 2014
I could pretty much eat falafel every day of my life and never get tired of it. The fried chickpea dish is close to the perfect vegetarian dish, and whether you claim it's Israeli or Arabic, it's one meal that everyone in the Middle East can agree is great.
Published Aug. 6, 2014
Last weekend, I talked my wife into joining me on my adventure - we hadn't visited Door County together since we first started dating in 2002. It turns out that showing off old favorites, discovering new memories and cultivating another Door County fan is a wonderful, relaxing way to experience this magical place. After all, even as a entirely different kind of trip, Door County remains my "happy place." Scoring points with the wife makes it even happier.
Published Aug. 5, 2014
This time around, Spacehog returns to Milwaukee in a larger venue, joining Everclear, Soul Asylum and Eve 6 in the Summerland Tour at State Fair Thursday night night. It's easy to call it a `90s band reunion - and it may be - but listen to Spacehog play, and then ask yourself if this is a band just cashing a paycheck. Pretty sure you'll come to the same conclusion I did. We caught up with Spacehog drummer Jonny Cragg from Denver, as his tour moves to the Midwest. He talked about life on the road and what's next for a band that did so much more in its four albums that just what you heard on the radio and saw on MTV.
Published July 22, 2014
It's easy to complain about highway construction in Milwaukee. After all, it's pretty much a constant. When one project finishes, another begins ... if we're lucky. More often, it seems like every interchange or stretch of freeway is being worked on all at once.
Published July 9, 2014
Milwaukee's homegrown sausage chain, The Dogg Haus, has reached an area development agreement with Minneapolis-based Freestyle Enterprises, LLC, to expand into the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.