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 ...
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.