Jim Bartlett's Blog

The Rhythm of the Day

The rhythm of our days is defined more by television than we realize, I think. For many Midwesterners, the 10:00 local news marks the end of the evening and time to go to bed, so you get in your eight hours before rising at 6 for another day. Do East Coasters---who have to rise at 6 in their own time zone---think of the 11:00 news the same way, or are they checking out during the last hour of primetime? I spent two weeks on the East Coast last fall, and I never got used to the idea that primetime is an hour later out there.

Television used to define the rhythm of our days in other ways. During the week, the TV stations marched in step, with a different program every 30 or 60 minutes. Saturdays were not entirely like that. Game of the Week started at 1:00 and got over sometime between 3 and 4, and it would be left to the local affiliates to pick up afterward. Channel 15 would occasionally start an episode of Star Trek right after the game and show it without commercials so it would end at 4:00. Sometimes they would bust out an episode of Twilight Zone as a time-filler, and it was always a treat to stumble upon it, unlisted in TV Guide.

Late at night, TV stations stopped bowing to the tyranny of the half-hour. They'd start a movie at 11:40 or 12:20, as if to say, "it's late, we're off the clock, who cares." Late-night TV looked different, too. There were not nearly as many local buys of regional and national commercials as there are now. Most of the ads you saw late at night were for local businesses, produced by local stations. You'd see a lot of public service announcements, too, often on grainy film scratched from repeated use, or slightly out of focus.

I liked to watch the TV stations sign off, play the National Anthem, maybe put up color bars, or just go to static. At that point, there was nothing left to watch, and you might as well go to bed. Fall asleep with the light of the unblinking screen until the early news, Sunrise Semester, or some noisy cartoon restarts the rhythm for yet another day.

 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Social :
Locations : East Coast


Concerts on the Calendar

(Pictured: Aretha Franklin onstage; credit: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock.com)

My wife and I have no children and few expensive vices, and we don't live extravagantly. Nevertheless, we try to keep the fun budget in balance. We don't go to every concert or every show we'd like to attend, because tickets cost a lot. But this summer is going to be a challenge. Last week, two concerts were announced, and we'd like to go to both of them.

Aretha Franklin is playing the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on June 3, and while I'm not somebody who owns every record Aretha ever made, she's Aretha Franklin, for cryin' out loud, and a guy should see the Queen of Soul when he's got the chance.

On July 18, Steely Dan and Steve Winwood, who are touring together this summer, will play the BMO Harris Pavilion on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. I thought, when they weren't announced on the Summerfest bill itself, that I was safe--but no. Steely Dan is my favorite band. I've seen them three times, and one show with Donald Fagen's side project, the Dukes of September, which features Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and the Steely Dan band. I'd rank Steve Winwood among my favorite artists, too--we saw him in the spring of 2015.

So we're doing arithmetic right now to figure out if we can go to both shows, and if not, which one. My wife's Steely Dan fanaticism is nothing like mine, so I suspect she probably doesn't need to see them again. (And to be honest, I am not sure I need to hear "Hey Nineteen" again, but if they announced they were playing an entire album start to finish, as they did not some of their shows last year, I'd love that.) But Winwood blew us away and I think we'd both like to see him again. If the weather is good, the BMO Harris Pavilion is a great venue for a show, too.

And Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul.

Decisions, decisions.

 (0) Comments

Tag Cloud
Mel McKenzie
Saturday at the 70s
9am - 1pm

Recent Posts