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NoTube: Week Two

Rediscovering the joys of the local (and endangered) video store, and reminders of Mariners seasons past.

So far, so good. Last I checked, the only station broadcasting old-school-style was still KING-TV with its endless post-apocalyptic loop featuring Glenn Farley telling whoever might hear him how to go digital. It's like one of those video tapes they find in bunkers on Lost. I keep wondering if there are people out there watching this repeating how-to video who haven't noticed that it's the only thing on. You know who I'm talking about, the folks who like the sound of TV in the other room while they do the ironing.

Not missing broadcast yet, not even the umpteenth Friends rerun about fake orgasms. I did go down to the corner pub yesterday and caught (on cable) one inning of the Mariners game. They had the bases loaded with no outs and only scored one run, on a walk! I read this morning they lost the game. Digital hasn't changed the way they play. Oh, well. When the only entertaining aspect is watching Ken Griffey Jr. at bat, I feel like it's 1989 and I'm a "Lefebvre Believer" once more.

Mostly, we've been watching videos: a season of the shrink show In Treatment and lots of old cowboy movies, including one directed by Fritz Lang. I had no idea he directed westerns. Our non-digital household is good news for a truly struggling industry: independent video stores.

We have a great neighborhood store, Island Video, a small local chain, but I think they're struggling. Their hours have been cut back. Netflix is one of the things killing these shops. I love Island because it's got a staffer named Charlie who's seen everything and has an opinion on it. He helps keep the place stocked with interesting films and he's a guide, someone you can go to and say, "Name me a couple of good Westerns done in the noir genre," and he'll name them and critique the performances (You think Friz Lang directing a cowboy movie is strange, what about one with Rod Steiger mumbling his way through the old West? How many cowboys had New York accents? Bizarre.)

So we're watching less TV, but still spending some downtime in front of the tube and I hope helping keep Island Video going. Dump broadcast and patronize your local indie video store.

Knute Berger is Mossback, Crosscut's chief Northwest native. He also writes the monthly Grey Matters column for Seattle magazine and is a weekly Friday guest on Weekday on KUOW-FM (94.9). His newest book is Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books. In 2011, he was named Writer-in-Residence at the Space Needle and is author of Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. You can e-mail him at mossback@crosscut.com.


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