Due to the extremely cold weather, I spent more time than usual watching the telly this weekend. I saw “The Osterman Weekend” on cable television, which is a film by Sam Peckinpah based on a novel by Robert Ludlum. Ludlum is the guy who wrote “The Bourne Identity”, “The Bourne Supremacy” and the “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

The movie is a bit dated, having been made in 1983. It stars Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Burt Lancaster, Dennis Hopper, Meg Foster and Craig T. Nelson. Though not a particularly great movie, it is very interesting to watch. My purpose in blogging about it is to mention a quote by the character played by John Hurt. For a really good analysis of the movie, see the Forager Blog post of February 21, 2007 here.

The quote is the opinion of the character in the movie played by Hurt and refers to the purpose of television. The quote is: “Programs are just a pause in between attempts to sell you something.” This quote stuck in my mind all weekend because every time I tried to channel surf, I ran into a commercial. On the rare occasion when I did switch and run into program content, it lasted only, I swear, only a minute or so before a commercial came on. It seems to me that in an hour long show, about 22 minutes are non-program minutes. That’s over 33%.

This is why I am not interested in HD television. Maybe I’m just being an old fart, but I don’t want a large television where the commercials are displayed in high definition. Although I do consider myself a tech geek. All the shows on television seem to be reality shows, which I don’t watch. I do watch DVD movies and DVD’s of tv programs, which are great because: 1) there have no commercials, and, 2) the bonus content can be quite excellent. Still, I’m not interested in HD. I can watch these shows on my laptop which provides very good quality, use headphones and save myself $2,500 – $5,000.

To quote Dennis Miller, “I don’t mean to go off on a rant here but…” but I’ll repeat the quote, still banging around in the empty space between my ears. “Programs are just a pause in between attempts to sell you something.” Billy Mays, shut up and go away - please!

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