I don’t know if you’d call it a hobby, or what. But of late, I have taken up a new … uh, hows ’bout we call it a “calling”? It came up a few months ago. Maybe a year ago or so. I can’t pin it down with any precision because in the early stages, I didn’t notice how preoccupied I was gradually becoming with this subject.
I can tell you when the opportunity arose for me to be exposed to it. It undoubtedly started last summer when my wife and I decided that after almost 40 years, we could get along without cable television. Yes, that’s right. I no longer have access to cable. Or dish or any service for which we have to pay through the nose and that raises its fucking rates every six months … or whenever it feels like it … whichever comes first.
It was hard, at first, having to miss the newest Sharknado movies and the Duck Dynasty saga. And I wasn’t sure how I would survive without ESPN. That is, until I remembered I had been paying for ESPN for decades, and had never—not once—ever watched as much as a full minute of ESPN programming.
The cable news was actually the hardest to give up because I am, if not a full-blown news junkie, at least a recreational news user—meaning: I can give it up on weekends and whenever something comes on PBS worth missing Rachael Maddow for. Besides, as I was to discover, much of my favorite news programming shows up on the Internet, anyway—sometimes within minutes of it’s true broadcast time.
So we burned our bridges with cable and bought an antenna. It’s a rather compact little antenna, compared to those monstrous insectoid concoctions we all used to have protruding from our roofs back before the advent of unfree teevee. My daughter ordered it from some Internet source and I installed it as soon as it arrived. I was eager to find out just how much is floating through the atmosphere these days, waiting to be plucked out and displayed on my basement 40-odd incher.
Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised how much there is wafting through the open air, available for snagging by competent antennae. Not as much as cable, that’s true. But as most of you know, an approximate 90-percent of what’s on cable is just a way to employ actors and writers who can’t get jobs in respectable mediums. Not to mention the utter waste of our dwindling digital resources on shit like the Golf Channel, home-shopping networks, and any station that would still put Pat Robertson on the air.
(To be fair, approximately 90-percent of free television is as useless as the useless 90-percent of cable television. But at this point, I refer to sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon’s dictum when he was asked why he chose science-fiction as his genre when 90-percent of science-fiction is crap. He replied, “Ninety-percent of everything is crap.”)
Out of the selection of offerings my little antenna has brought into the house, I do believe my favorite are the plentitude of oldy-time television shows. After watching years of shows that expand plot lines from season to season like Canadian thistle spreads from neighbor to neighbor, I find it refreshing to see a story that opens, develops, and comes to a satisfactory conclusion—all within the space of a half hour. (Seriously, Lukas McCain can blow three black-hats clean to Boot Hill, and it’s never mentioned again. By the next episode, you’re not sure if he’s really as good with that rifle as he needs to be if little Mark isn’t going to end up an orphan.)
Ah, I could wax poet for the next month of blogs over how cool Paladin, Josh Randall, Robert Culp as the O.T.R. (Original Texas Ranger) are, but I must skip directly to why I started this story in the first place. It is Raymond Burr. Yes, Raymond Burr.
Before twaddling off to bed one night, I took one last turn through the channels and stumbled across a show that was one of my family’s favorites back before I picked up shaving. Perry Mason. Loved Perry, did young Bill. Tough dame Della Street, super suave Paul Drake, hapless D.A. Hamilton Burger … the whole crew. But especially, I loved the way every show ended with Mason pinning the real murderer to the mat with his relentless logic.
I’ve continued putting myself to bed with a dose of Perry Mason since that first discovery. And the more I watch, the more I have become intrigued with Perry’s … er, Raymond’s eyes. Take another look:
Have you ever seen eyes like that before? I mean … on a human being?
The longer I watch him, the more I am convince that Raymond Burr had some sort of total eye transplant from another animal. I mean it. Look again. This is when he was young …
… and this is probably around his Ironside days, when he was older:
See how the eyes remained the same? Eerie, ain’t it? I’ve seen eyes like that before, I swear, what with those huge, liquid orbs and droopy lids. But for the life of me, I can’t think on what sort of animal it was. My first thought was “COW,” but … nah. Not quite right.
Sadly, Mr. Mason … er, Burr … is unavailable for questioning—or “cross examination” in Perry Mason talk.
Should any of you have a reasonable guess as to what sort of creature gave Raymond those eyes, I would certainly like to hear your input. However, I am in no mood for silly or irrational nonsense. If you don’t have a responsible, mature reply to my that might further my research, just keep it to yourself, please.
And we can rule out cats. See for yourself.
Oh, and he had a damn cool theme song, too.