Friday morning I bid adieu to an old friend. It wasn’t a “so long“ or a “see ya later.” It was “goodbye.” Forever. We had been through some good times together, some great times together, me and my buddy, and some heartbreak, too. Thick and thin. Feast and famine. All the clichés. There was a close call last February. Hospice was called in, last rites were ordered. But my friend lived on until Friday.
When broadcasters across the country finally shut down the analog drip, my 10-inch Magnavox television set flat-lined in a screeching spasm of static — death cascading across the dial, first LPB, then the big three affiliates and FOX. There was no gasping or rasping or wheezing into oblivion. No last exhale of a friendly Casper-like ghost. It was sudden and final and violent. Dead. Gone.
And there will be no reprieve. There is no colostomy port on the back of this television for a life-giving digital converter box. Its tap vein cannot be found. It is at least brain dead, which is dead in my book. An eight-pound Terri Schiavo.
The little off-white set with the broken antenna had been a companion for a dozen years or so — young and fresh when it came to me, and eager to divine sound and moving pictures from the invisible air around it. I wish now I had named it. I would have called it Sparky.
I bought it for 50 bucks from a freckly fatherless boy who wandered the neighborhood peddling household goods for his cash-strapped mama.
The set chronicled the long indigestion of the Bush presidency, the nightmare of 9-11 and the never-ending Iraq War to the inauguration of Obama. It has gone out on a higher note than it came in on, being the first to tell me about Monica Lewinsky. A cigar? Really? I didn’t believe Sparky — yes, I’m calling it Sparky now — but it was true.
For the last decade Sparky lived on the back porch, keeping me abreast mainly of the fortunes of my beloved bedraggled Saints, and the teams who competed against them, and “Antiques Road Show” and “Frontline,” and “60 Minutes” on Sundays when the nearby barbecue pit — another old friend sucking vainly for air — hinted that chicken was not my forté; stick with sausage.
If you’re one of the sentimentals for whom things aren’t just things but markers that chart your life, then these things have a residue on them that is greater than the stuff they are made of: more important than the plastic and diodes, transponders and tubes and other embellishments of engineering that occupy their innards. Sparky was the threadbare shirt I wore when a child was born, the wallet that bore my first driver’s license. Damn this disposable age.
I can’t bring myself to throw Sparky into the garbage or even to wait for a household hazardous waste day. I can’t even bring myself to assign gender to Sparky. It will go into the attic and join the relics that simply cannot be tossed. I’ll leave it for my kids to decide what to do with him. I called Sparky a him. O ...
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Four hours after inviting supporters to a rally with Sen. Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy claimed that Mary Landrieu “voted against stopping executive amnesty.”
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ten departing CEOs rake in $430 million; profile of FSU gunman emerges; Buffalo's weather woes and more national and international news for Friday, November 21, 2014.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
Carencro ranch style home or three bedroom traditional in St. Martinville
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.
The Baltimore Ravens' retooled secondary had no trouble against a rookie quarterback at home. This week, however, their task is far more challenging: stopping Drew Brees on the road in New Orleans.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name to the list of possible Republican presidential candidates flooding the campaign trail for GOP Senate candidate Bill Cassidy.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Florida this week with his fellow Republican governors for another gripe session aimed at their favorite target, the president, this time taking aim at his immigration plans.
Early voting for the runoff is shortened by two days because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Coach Don” Gagnard is running for school board. Today he offers his critique of the socioeconomic relationship between government subsidies and obesity.
BP is heading to a federal appeals court in its effort to oust the administrator of damage settlement claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Former Le Rosier chef who cooked at the James Beard House and was named one of the “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine magazine in 1995 was 48.
It was only a few months ago when the LPSB held the school system’s purse strings with a death grip, but oh how board President Hunter Beasley's demeanor seems to be changing with the ouster of Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Pat Cooper is contesting his termination by the LPSB, filing a petition Tuesday that calls the recent decision “arbitrary and capricious.”
A look at the numbers highlights the challenge facing Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu as she tries to win a fourth term in a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising the new Republican majority will quickly resurrect Keystone XL pipeline legislation killed by Democrats, potentially setting up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.
The 59-41 Senate vote was one shy short of the 60 needed to clear the House-passed measure.
Spot bonuses to employees who go above and beyond on projects one of several reasons national mag calls BR-based biz bank a cool place to work.
The Director Search Committee interviewed the five men still in the running via video last week and is set to trim the field this week.
A national animal rights group has been rebuffed by a Baton Rouge district court judge, although the group might still get its day in court.