Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind

The best television shows ever?

My tests of my smart phone video capabilities, by way of creating videos of my nature walks and turning them into Jonals, seems to be running out of steam, so I've been considering other topics I can take up in this space. And the one that keeps bobbing to the top is related to the last "text Jonal" (in contrast to the "video Jonals") I did here, on May 10 (linked here), about television. But my more recent thoughts about television programming are more focused and linear than that May "round-up" essay was, because my evening viewing this summer has been perhaps the best television experience I've ever had. What an experience, considering that summers have always been, and increasingly so in recent years, the "dead season" of television's years. But I've been watching three of my all-time favorite shows most nights all summer because of two fairly recent developments: 1. My relatively recent acquisition and finally getting used to using a digital video recording system and, 2. the discovery of a new channel, Inspiration or INSP, that I get through the Dish network, and which carries those three classic programs every weekday.

A bit of the back-story first. I've mentioned switching to the Dish network about two years ago, and although in general it has proven to be little better in service and price than Comcast Cable was, the program offering has been more suitable to me. The "basic" package has ended up costing me over $70 a month some months and over $80 a month other times, not much less than the Comcast basic package had cost. And the fact that I never know what I'm paying for (I never receive a printed bill and the money is automatically deducted from my checking) or why it's $70-something some months and $80-something others is frustrating to say the least. To my way of thinking, no entertainment package is worth that much...but so far I haven't been able to wean myself away from it. At least if I get something to write about from it, that makes it worth more than "nothing." The Dish package comes with a dozen or so sports channels, none of which I have ever watched for anything. But it also comes with a half dozen or more religion channels. I don't watch most of those either (never having been into "touchy-feely," anti-intellectual, or overly effusive religion) but I do watch the 700 Club regularly and look at several programs on EWTN, the Catholic network, including Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Sunday Night Prime which Frank Charney recommended in his blog some time ago and, especially, the G. K. Chesterton program (Sundays at 6 p.m. in my time zone). Several of the religion channels also occasionally show movies and they are better to my taste than most of the movies on the dedicated movie channels included in the Dish basic menu.

Unlike Comcast when I was with it, Dish also comes with a DVR, which is what some people call a "TiVo," though this is a generic digital recorder, not a brand-name one. And I have recently discovered the INSP network, which is the best thing I've found since Pat Robertson sold his Family Network to Fox which summarily sold it to ABC-Disney. Though most of INSP's programming is religion of the type I don't watch (the network is a continuation of the former PTL network and is run by David Cerullo, son of Pentecostal evangelist-healer Morris Cerullo), the DVR enables me to time switch (record for later viewing) the three good programs it has scattered through its schedule: Highway to Heaven, The Waltons, and The Wind at My Back. This enables me to watch them during prime time each summer evening when all the mainstream networks are showing nothing but reruns or "reality shows," which I avoid even more ardently than I do most religion programming. I've seen a commercial on INSP that suggests (though I can't verify) that Dish may be the only place to find the Inspiration network.

With this introduction, I will close for now and take this topic up again soon, Lord willing, but not until after asking what you think is the best program ever on television? Is any of these three shows I mentioned the overall best? I think so, which I hope to "unpack" in one or more future Jonals. What other shows would you put into the running, and why? What did you like about them? What were their shortcomings? What would you like to see on TV next season?

— Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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Today's chuckle

Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem.Like maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

— Jerry Seinfeld

Thought for today

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

— Mother Teresa

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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon.