Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Amazon recently cuy some kind of megalobucks deal that allows it to put up a whole passel of HBO shows that The Observer missed out on the first time because we're too cheap to cough up for primo channels, even if we hadn't cut the cable a few years back.
Between Netflix and Amazon, it's been a good summer so far at The Observatory, the air conditioning unit by the back stoop chugging away as we recline and work our way through shows of old, binge-watching them without commercials or annoying, week-long cliffhangers, both of which are, The Observer contends, tools of Beelzebub and Ol' Splitfoot. The AC man willing, we'll be happily suckling at the plasma teat until the leaves turn in the fall. That's our plan, anyway. Don't judge. Starting soon, we're hitting the gym three nights a week as well, to ward off errant spare tires. Seriously. Starting soon!
Over the past few months, The Observer and our Beloved have finished off "The Office," both seasons of "Orange is the New Black," the newest season of "House of Cards," all the episodes of "Mad Men" we can see without resorting to online electric larceny, and a sizeable chunk of "Lost," up to the point where that show's head finally disappeared wholly up its own ass, the storyline becoming so obviously unruddered that our attention drifted off, like a smoke monster in a stiff breeze.
Such is the joy of the modern age: Watch the whole thing, or some, or none. Infinite choices. Infinite possibilities. It's all a Buck Rogers fantasy for a kid who grew up in the Age of Three Channels. We tried to historize Junior the other day about the fact that — once upon a time — there would come a moment every night when the National Anthem would play, jet fighters would rocket across the screen and then the TV would just go to frustrating snow, the owners of the stations confident in the fact that all the righteous folks were safe and sound in their bowers and to hell with the rest of 'em.
We don't think Junior quite believed it, this boy who has grown up in The Age of Neverbored.
Right now, The Observer and Spouse are working our way through the HBO show "Deadwood." Pretty fabulous so far, by the way. It's set in 1870-something in North Dakota, in what appears to be a town made of mud, dung, chaw spit and desperation. Good thing technology hasn't progressed to the point of Smell-o-Vision yet. The people there in their toadstool-damp hovels are a hearty but sullen lot. They use the most sailorific and colorful curse words to a degree that's sometimes shocking even for The Observer, who learned to cuss before learning to crawl. [Expletive deleted]sucker appears to be the show's universal noun, adjective and, often, verb.
On the show, some [expletive deleted]sucker or other is always getting shot, stabbed, choked, beaten senseless or fed to the pigs of a Chinese man named Wu. Everybody who ain't instantly and violently transmogrified into pig chow upon stepping off the stagecoach has some affliction or other that's slowly killing them, from bloody flux to brain tumor, and the town doctor's art appears to stop at "don't look at it" which is — we assume — pretty close to how it really was back in them days. In the latest episode we watched, the doc spent a sizeable portion of the episode repeatedly probing a man's inner spaces and secret hollows with a dingy, impossibly long pair of needle-nosed pliers, excavating for a kidney stone. Yes, it's that kind of program.
Every time we watch that show, The Observer can't help but thank whatever force that deigned we should have been born here in the glorious future, as opposed to that lamp-lit and flush-toiletless hell. The Observer likes it here, with the pharmacies full of antibiotics, a hospital up the road were they can do more than Good-Lord-Willing our injuries and ailments, popsicles in the coolerator, and a corner store three blocks away full of cold beer.
Our dear, departed Pa, a man of harsh upbringing, taught Yours Truly how to live in the cold, cruel, mud-over-the-tops-of-your-boots world. We have no doubt that as a younger man, we could have hacked it in Deadwood until the smallpox or a cleavage-stowed derringer took us down. But The Observer must admit, we're getting soft in our golden years. What's worse, we've come to love it there on our divan, never straying far from 74 degrees. The oldest of old saws looks to be The Observer's lot from here on out: too light for heavy work, too heavy for light work. Best we can do at this point is try not to lose the remote.