Peter O’Toole Broke My Television Set

Does ANYONE out there remember having to turn the channel on your television with a pair of vice grips?

All right – so this ISN’T a television set, but you get the picture, don’t you?

I remember watching a television set that wasn’t much bigger than my computer screen. Yes sir, we had ourselves a teeny-tiny black and white Motorola television set that I could watch after midnight using an earplug so as not to wake anyone and a pair of vise-grips to turn the channel.

I also remember being our grandparents remote control.

“Change the channel, Steve.”

So I would get up and walk over to the television and change the channel.

When I got older I bought my own television set which was a fourteen inch black and white Motorola. The channel changer promptly broke and I wound up using a nut driver to change the channel.

Who says that an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

The nut driver fit snuggly over the shaft of the channel changer and so I could reach out across the kitchen table and wrap my manly mitt around the handle of the nut driver and change the channel with ease.

I bought the nut driver at a local Canadian Tire store for those folks who want to know.

Each of these were old school solutions to a new school problem and I take a certain pride in my adaptability in the same way that the wonderfully crafty Red Green takes pride in coming up with new uses for duct tape.

Only today I have got another problem.

We have got a big gorgeous wall-sized television set. It isn’t the biggest or the fanciest or the most expensive wall-sized television set that you can buy but I don’t care because it’s my own television set. I get to watch whatever I want to watch – so long as the wife lets me – and no one but no one can tell me to watch anything that I don’t want to watch – unless the wife tells me differently.

I am a man and I live in fear – so long as she lets me.


Only problem is last night the remote died.

“Oh golly,” I said to myself. “How will I television?”

I looked for the channel changer.

We did not have a channel changer.

We did not even an ON button.

It was ALL on the freaking remote.

So here I sit with a 48 inch glass panel hanging on my wall and nothing to watch on it. That’s a real hardship for a fellow who loves to watch people blow shit up. I was a third of the way through a DVR’ed copy of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – in which Peter O’Toole artistically blows shit up – which meant that I had to hold my pinky extended while I worked the remote.

And so I blame Peter O’Toole.

Peter O’Toole broke my television set.

You read it here first.


I also want to write a short obituary for a local bar.

The Red Fox.

I have spent a lot of time and drank a lot of beer at this little tavern. It used to be a really fun place to go and their club house sandwiches were truly legendary and I got the best liver and onion platter on the planet there.

Hey, I am an old fart.

Old farts LOVE liver and onions.

I even proposed to my wife there on the dance floor at a New Years event right after the band played Auld Lang Syne. I was wearing a red plaid tuxedo – (I swear) – and I dropped down on one knee and she ran off crying.

Left me sitting over a beer wondering if it was YES or NO for almost an half an hour while she first cried and then told our story to a half a thousand women crowded into the Red Fox ladies room.

Hey, I’ve drunk many a beer in a tavern and I can tell you that the ladies room is some sort of a weird alternate dimension where women go to keep us fellows on our toes and wondering.

Well now this bar has gone.

It had died a while ago for me. The menu had changed way too many times and the old staff was gone and it had become a karaoke bar rather than the country and western joint I had loved to go to.

But I am going to raise a beer to the Red Fox tonight.

Won’t you join me?


Lastly, I gave up on Person of Interest last night. I sat down to watch it and they started out with a good setup and then they fell into a conspiracy of the week with TWO secret organizations and TWO secret computers and everybody cloak and daggering all over the place.

There is WAY too much time spent on Shaw and WAY WAY WAY too much time spent on Root – (does anyone else find her smug, whiny and irritating, or is it only me?) – and not enough time spent watching Batman/Reese kicking butt on the bad guys.

They were a unit in the first couple of seasons. Reese and Finch – like Burgess Meredith and Hugh O’Brian in SEARCH.

(anyone else remember that series?)

Now it has degenerated into a non-stop blab-a-thon with ominous mentions of mysterious organizations and gods dueling gods – (metaphorical battle of the super computers) – and every ounce of human mayhem drained out of the series.

Some folks still like it, I expect – but I hereby officially give up on this series.

Doesn’t he look all broken up about how badly his writing went and disappointed me? I’m pretty sure I can see a tear glinting in those steely blue eyes of his.


Lastly – one brief momentary spasm of spam.

The second volume in the Uncle Bob series is NOW available in Kindle format.

Uncle Bob's Babel Baby

Click on the cover and order a copy, if you please. 🙂

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

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