<rant> :soapbox: There is a thread in 'General Discussion' on the topic of 'ala carte' programming choices. Reading that circular thread is a little like watching a bunch of people participating in group masturbation, in that everyone is discussing in excruciating detail how they should be able to choose only those channels they want to watch, to the abandonment of all others. The thread has wandered away from reality, and well beyond the farside of the twilight zone. If you've followed the thread, you may have noticed that some of the terms being bandied about, "ala carte", "buffet" and "cafeteria", are related to one of America's favorite things - food. Is there a subliminal connection here? Does tv feed us? It certainly doesn't nourish us. Like a steady diet of Twinkies and Coke, excessive tv viewing tends to make Americans fat and lazy, not to mention making some of us socially inept. The author of this rant is living proof of that. Whether we ever get the option of choosing just those channels we actually want, or are forever forced to take 'grab-bag' or 'mystery gift' programming packages ad infinitum, there are two things we should keep in mind - it's only tv, and there are much more important things in life that deserve our time and attention. I'm willing to bet that much of what you and your family see on tv doesn't even come close to reflecting the values you try to instill in your family and uphold in your own life. Who was it that said "TV is the opiate of the masses"? I remember Newton Minow, once head of the FCC, perhaps said it best when he described television as a "vast wasteland'¹. John Lennon once observed that "Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans". Life is also what happens while you’re watching television. It was Groucho Marx who said... "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." Larry Peter observed "Television has changed the American child from an irresistable force to an immovable object." Honestly, now, do we really benefit from watching the boob tube? How much better would our lives be if we put just half the time we spend in front of the electronic babysitter to other and more productive uses. Watching television doesn’t even contribute to physical fitness, since it requires only slightly more energy than being dead. Speaking of dead, no one has ever died wishing he had watched more television. </rant> ¹ Excerpted from Newton Minow's speech to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961. "But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you--and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland."