Saturday, February 17, 2007

In Memoriam

A great man in the annals of American male history has died:
The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, has died.

Adler, who won an Emmy Award along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley for the device that made the couch potato possible, died Thursday of heart failure at a Boise nursing home at 93, Zenith Electronics Corp. said Friday.
His funeral can be see on CSpan, CSpan2, and if you're lucky enough to have picture in picture, TNT.

Seriously, think for a moment how much different your life would be without this invention?

Without a remote, you'd have to get up and change the channel. Television would have remained something that the entire family gathered around to watch what, well basically, the parents wanted to watch. The kids would have found some excuse (except homework, of course) to wander off and do something else, like read a book. TV would not have become the central focus of the home.

So there'd be no reason to develop cable, the VCR, the DVD player, satellite television. You wouldn't have component stere systems. Hell, even my computers have remotes! You'd have to get out and open your garage by hand, even on the coldest snowiest winter evening. The next morning, you'd have to stagger out to the car and start it with a key, braving the subfreezing cold while trying to move around enough in the seat to stay warm while the engine warmed a little.

Movies would still be in vogue. Because there'd be no cable, there'd be no videos, so no Britney Spears....wait, that's a good thing! Paris Hilton!

Of course, no Daily Show or Colbert Report, either. Or CNN. Or the Weather Channel. Or LinkTV or FreeSpeech TV.

People would have to talk to each other.

The NBA, NHL, and MLB empires would be much smaller shells, focused on serving local markets, especially during football season when the NFL had locked up TV coverage on CBS and NBC. There'd be no Fox. No Simpsons. No "Married WIth Children."

Kids might actually go outside and play in the spring, summer and fall (and maybe even in the snow!) rather than watch the X Games on ESPN. No ESPN.

So I'm thinking that, today, as you tune in the Flyers/Rangers game, or the Army/Navy basketball game, or prerace coverage of the Daytona 500, you might want to mute the sound for a minute out of respect for Robert Adler.

I'll be outside, however.