Summit Up: Where jalapenos redeem us from television |

Summit Up: Where jalapenos redeem us from television


Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column demanding to know whose idea it was to cut the corners on our television.

In all preceding decades, television programming was formatted to fit our screen.

Anything filmed in letterbox (an early term for widescreen) was altered and perhaps stretched a bit to make it workable for our viewing pleasure.

Then came the advent of those sleek-looking “widescreen televisions” made to fit the letterbox format.

We couldn’t afford one, and we still can’t afford one.

We continue to use the heavy, 20 inch square box we got from our uncle about seven years ago.

It gets as many channels as the newer TVs, but it doesn’t have “high definition” or any bells or whistles besides a sleep timer that goes all the way to 240 minutes – that’s four hours!

But anywho, we feel like those greedy corporate animals in the television industry got their big heads together and came up with a way to coerce people into buying expensive letterbox televisions.

TV programming for peons like us is no longer formatted to fit our humble screens. They started cutting corners – and the sides, too!

We first noticed it during the opening credits of some TV show, when letters of peoples’ names didn’t make it on to the screen.

Now even TV commercials do it.

The sides of peoples’ faces are cut off. Part of the picture is missing.

The cable bill is the same price, and they even tell us we have to have a special box for broadcast TV.

What happens when 3-D TV becomes the standard? Will they selectively delete stuff just to annoy us into buying the latest and greatest brain-rotting box of filth?!

By then we will probably have picked up some Visio on clearance, thinking we got a good deal, only to grow more mouth-frothingly agitated.

It’s the same thing with the contraptions we plug in to our sets.

Sorry if you bought Laserdisc, Divx, HD-DVD or any of the other failed attempts before tomorrow’s golden standard – of about 8 to 10 years.

Blu-Ray is the existing standard for people who can afford fancy gadgetry to add to their oversized television sets.

We do not have Blu-Ray. But we can assure anyone who does that it will become extinct long before there’s ever a monorail on Interstate 70, or a Sonic in Summit County.

Technology advances at an ever-increasing pace. And the more people feel compelled to update, the more stock increases for those publicly traded monsters that persuade us to keep up with the Joneses.

It’s a page from the playbook of our country’s weapons and military equipment manufacturers. With every new generation of innovation comes the need to buy the next latest and greatest thing.

It’s going to be extra tough for the entertainment industry when everything is digitized. But we guarantee they’ll continue to come up with new gadgets we don’t need.

And where does the old stuff go? Usually it gets dumped in the landfill.

That’s thinking ahead. Hopefully tomorrow’s people will have some kind of use for soils leached with mercury, lead and other dangerous elements.

Until then, we’re sticking our TV in the garage and installing a turtle tank in its place.

Turtles are colorful. They only cost a few bucks a month and with proper maintenance, they operate anywhere from 40 to 100 years.

Not even our mother’s Zenith lasted that long.


If there’s one mechanical animal that’s more useful than the one-eyed monster that brought us such archetypes as Cops and Wheel of Fortune, it must certainly be the automobile.

We’ve been driving for more years than we care to remember, and like most motorists, we’re certain our skills are better than the next guy/gal.

Turns out, there are some real morons on the road. The average American driver would get a “C” on a written driver’s test.

Don’t believe us? Check out what friends over at Cercone Brown Company in Boston sent us:

“According to the results of the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test, Colorado ranked 24th in the nation with an average score of 77.8, which beat out the national average of 76.2.”

Kansas came in first, with an average score of 82.3, and New York got a 70.

These Boston people are telling us that nearly one in five licensed American drivers – from a pool of about 38 million – wouldn’t even be able to pass a written driver’s test.

If that’s not scary enough, think about all the educated drivers who drop their motor coordination in the gutter as soon as they get through the Eisenhower Tunnel into Summit County.

Known as “gapers,” these otherwise normal human beings can’t keep themselves from gazing at our purple, majestic mountains in hopes of spotting a deer or antelope.

Instead, some of them get a piece of guardrail – or a chunk of the median.

And usually their on their cellular telephones.

Oh well. We learned long ago that only a few people are worth trusting with our lives. We don’t ride with gapers, and we would prefer they use public transportation.


On the green thumb front, we’ve added another member to our family of plants.

This jalapeno plant promises 3 inch peppers within 72 days.

If that’s the case, we’re going to be some of the happiest people this side of Mexico.

After dabbling in flowers, aloes and Creeping Charlies, we’ve found a type of plant we can literally take a bite out of.

Too bad the growing season in these parts is so brief, or we’d be offering them to avid Summit Up readers in return for some ego-feeding positive feedback.

For now, you’ll just have to settle for some end rolls.

Come on down to the corporate suites and we’ll hook you up with these 3 feet long-ish rolls of paper from our magic plant in the hills of Gypsum.

You can use it to wrap presents or create large banners plastered with whatever free speech is fit for print.

Just don’t set it on fire. We’re already getting into the season when things burn, and the last thing we want to hear about is an end roll causing the great beetle-kill flare-up of 2010.

So yeah, we won’t be sharing our jalapenos with readers, but maybe you can grow some of your own.

You know, if everybody in the world raised just one pepper plant, it would reverse global warming and suck up all the carbon from the atmosphere.

The whales would breed and the lynx would outnumber foxes.

Evil regimes of government would line their homes with pansies, declare cease-fires and chew bubble gum.

OK, so maybe there would just be more people eating Tums.

It’s Sunday, and we demand a big TV with the corners intact.

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