Thursday, December 13, 2012

Auntie Beeb, Commercials, PBS

Canary Feathers fans (both of them) who wait with bated spinach breath for my promised popping off about Popeye and his break from his favorite muscle food must wait.  I need to deal with another thing of no possible interest to persons in their right minds.  But isn't that what blogs are for? We revel in goofy personal ramblings of no consequence.

The thing is, I have a headache from trying to figure out the British system of making you buy a license to use radio or TV.  It appears that it costs the equivalent of around 235 bucks a year.  It looks like you must have a license to use the grand old non-commercial BBC or its commercial, advertiser supported competition.  You need a license to view and hear commercials?  Say it isn't so.

It is my hope that blog brother Harry of Broadcastellan fame living in Wales,  (I should call him blog son because I am old enough to be his pappy)  will comment on all this and let us know how much of PBS  is available in the U. K.  He spent 15 years in New York and says his greatest memory of our so-called Public Broadcasting System is those interminable fund raisers. 

 Did Brits get their knickers in a knot, fearing that if Mitt Romney became president he would do away with Big Bird? I, for one, will rise up with great indignation if Kermit the Frog can no longer sing "Lydya the Tatooed Lady" and get decked by Miss Piggy.   Might I even let the moths out of my wallet and send a few bucks to keep PBS on the air?  Let's not go that far.  On the other hand,  I might do something rash  if I can no longer watch Red Green, Canada's hilarious king of duct tape or get my Saturday Night Lawrence Welk fix.

So what's up with our much cussed and discussed radio and TV  with the "Public" label hung on it?  I am so old that I remember when it came upon the scene as an an alternative to commercial  broadcasting that lives or dies on ratings and advertiser revenue. I guess they named it Public because it was government subsidized, actually paid for by us the public from  our taxes. The whole idea was under fire right from the get-go. Many of the stations that became part of PBS were educational outlets operated by colleges and universities.  Did PBS really feed the need of the general public, whatever that means?  Or was it elitist, something for highbrows to talk about at cocktail parties. "I get all my news from PBS and I love the opera and those wonderful educational programs, all without those awful commercials." The conservative side of the political aisle said  the feds  should not have to pay for it with our taxes. Let those who want it support it. That  becomes ever closer to reality as government funding gets cut more and more.  So here we are with hours and hours of fund raisers and corporate underwriter credits that come real close to full blown commercials. So what's the answer.  Whither the struggling and threatened PBS Will big  bird lose his feathers? Will Kermit and Miss Piggy ride off into the sunset as in some old tired cowboy movie?  Damned if I know.  Maybe the Brits have some ideas for us here in the colonies who wish to meet with the elite to eat.  But it won't be at Duffy's Tavern.  Can you imagine Duffy's TV tuned to PBS? 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Radio TV Name Game...My Altered Egos

When I began this less than spectacular experiment in blogging, I was Cliffie.  Middle age, not as cool as I thought I 
was.  Maybe something like
 Cliffie the  mailman on "Cheers.The bar stool  security guard turned mailman philosopher.
I worked with a cute young babe who called me Cliffie. Oh boy!

I got older  and fancied myself smarter, so I went with  Clifton, the real first name. Sort of like Clifton Fadiman, I imagined A literary bright light of the '30s and '40s, the know-everything-about-everything host of radio's high class  quiz/game show, "Information Please." The Alex Trebeck of his time   Yes! I would be erudite. Fadimanesque.  He would be proud of me for coining that word.  Maybe he already did.  

 But my level of erudition just wasn't sufficient to pull it off. 
So I turned to another pseudonym borrowed from old time radio. I would be Paul Barbour, the wise eldest son of "One Man's Family." It was one of the longest running radio dramas.  I wanted so much to be like Paul.

 Paul is the handsome dude with the moustache on the right.  I still hear Michael Raffetto's voice in my head.  He was Paul for the time I was listening and he also appeard on radio's "I love a mystery as Jack Packard. Remember Doc, Jack and Reggie? Paul Barbour.  What a guyMaybe if reincarnation is  true  I will get born into  a Barbour Family with that aristocratic "U" spelling and they will name me Paul.

Or maybe I should just follow Dr. Phil's advice and get real and  like myself the way I am. I ain't smart, wise, erudite or any of that idealistic stuff. I have it!  I will drag out good old Clifton, the name my parents gave me, add a bit of possible Irish ancestry and become Clifton Finnegan. He was the likeable, not too bright character  in the dimly lit "Duffy's Tavern." Another great radio show from the past.

But for now, just call me Paul.
Next: WHEN POPEYE QUIT SPINACH.........Coming soon.  
Stay Tuned 

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