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It's a wasteland only if we let it be one
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Sometimes I hear television described as the “great wasteland.” I have even alluded to such myself. But I want to be fair on the subject. I think television can provoke thought which in turn stimulates the brain which can be a good thing.
Many of us grew up with two or three channels. Now we can have up to 100 or more with cable. And like any innovation, it can be used for good or bad. Like fire, it can cook your food or it can be used to burn down your state (Gen. Sherman).
Quite often I will scan the cable channels and get little snippets of thought-provoking programming.
The other night on the religious network, some fellow was selling his book about “fasting.” The book looked to be about an inch thick. And I wondered just how many pages it took to print “don’t eat.”
Since I’ve never fasted, I’m not aware that special instructions are required. Maybe it’s because the words fasting and Baptists are seldom used in the same sentence.
This prompted some deep thinking, and I’ve read where deep thinking can help prevent certain forms of dementia.
The other night I learned there is a right way and a wrong way to pick up a snapping turtle. And if you don’t want to take a chance on getting the directions mixed up, there’s this fellow in the backwoods of Kentucky who will come pick it up for you. Of course the first prevailing question would be, why pick it up in the first place? It’s not like you are typically going to find one in your garage or kitchen. And if it’s outside, leave it alone and it will move itself.
Also, I learned Sunday night on the new episodes of “Finding Bigfoot” that bigfoots swim under water and snatch ducks down from beneath for supper. The narrator said they “are known to do this.” By the way, the narrator is named Bobo, which rhymes with Bozo.
I watch this show for pure entertainment because I’m fascinated with just how gullible people can be. Also, I’ve learned that there is a tendency for people to want to believe in something that is much bigger than themselves. Some of them will dress the part and go looking for it.
Of course one must consider that as long as some people are out looking for Bigfoot, at least they are not on the Jerry Springer Show taking off their britches and throwing chairs at one another. Silver lining?
Then there’s a show called “Pitbulls and Parolees,” which I haven’t actually watched, but I might. I want to see what the relationship is between bulldogs and career criminals. The dogs don’t have tattoos so I know that’s not it. The woman in charge on this show looks really tough. What I mean is I think she probably wears a barbed wire thong.
In a more serious vein, I was informed by scientists on the Discovery Channel that we haven’t even begun to tap our sun’s power. While we must be careful to avoid skin cancer, there is a great potential for enhancing our stock of alternate energies that could relate to less involvement in foreign wars where we sacrifice young men and women to protect oil supplies (excuse me, I mean spread democracy).
OK, I’m getting too political here. Back to more educational leanings.
So I have tried to find out over the years where the expression “the whole nine yards” came from. I’ve heard lots of suggestions that run the gamut from the prowess of male porn stars to the amount of tarp required to make a jib sail. But the other night, I was informed, via cable, that it comes from the length of the ammunition belt used by the waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress.
So before we call television the “great wasteland,” think about this: You never know when you might get marooned on an island or lost in the wilderness and the ability to do some “hillbilly handfishing” could save your life. By the way, having a full set of teeth is not an inhibitor of this skill, I’ve been told.

Walden is the editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer. He can be reached at

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