I watch way too much cable news. Which is odd because I don’t really like the news. I worked for CBS News for over 40 years. I had to watch the news. I was making the news shows. It was my job.

If I had a choice, I would rather watch the cartoon network  But now I watch cable news all the time. I seem to be morbidly fascinated with the steady decline of America and what the ass-hole-in-chief did today.

I have noticed one interesting thing. Well, interesting to me.

Only old people watch cable news.

How do I know this? Simple. The commercials. They’re the same. Fox, MSNBC, CNN and for the most part CBS, NBC, and ABC.

By “all the same.”I mean the same advertisers. They break down into a few categories: drugs, medical products, drugs. Medicare supplement plans, drugs. Life Insurance and annuities, drugs, walk-in bathtubs, stair lifts and, oh yeah, drugs.

Every last one of them is depressing as hell. Most of them, I simply don’t understand.

Let’s start with a drug supplement that is supposed to help your brain think better. Why does it make your brain better? Well, they proudly tell you it’s because of an ingredient found … wait for it… in JELLYFISH!

Yes, jellyfish.

Because, you know, when I think of something that involves brains and intelligence, the first thing I think of is a jellyfish! Billion-year-old multi-cellular organisms who float in the ocean waiting for food to become entangled in their floaty dangling tentacle-like thingies. Also, they have no brain.

Then I got to thinking about it and maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe jellyfish are the most intelligent, intellectual philosophical thinkers on the planet. You know, like those advanced omnipotent species that show up on Star Trek.

I mean, what else do they have to do all day? They just float around.

JELLYFISH 1: I think, therefore, I am.

JELLYFISH 2: Free will is an illusion.

JELLYFISH 3: Hey! Some food just bumped into my tentacle thingies!

Next, reverse mortgages.

This is where if you own your house you can sell it back to the bank. They pay you a monthly payment until they buy your house back. Then you have no place to live. So, you’re betting you die before you become homeless. And older.

Is that a bet you want to win?

Then there are all the companies that want to buy your life insurance policy. The pitch goes something like this: “We needed more money for our retirement. We found out we could sell our life insurance policy. Now we are set for life.”

UNTIL ONE OF YOU DIES and the survivor has no life insurance to collect and live off of!!! Isn’t that the reason you bought life insurance??

Isn’t that what happens when the person holding the policy dies??

I guess you could room with the guy who just became homeless. Except, oh yeah, he doesn’t have a home.

Then there are the catheter commercials almost always being hawked by a guy who looks like a middle manager for an insurance company.

Actual catheter guy. And they all have the same mustache.

They all start out with the guy saying, “I don’t like pain when I cath.”

WHAT? Are there people out there who like pain when they cath? And when the hell did “cath” become a verb?? If you don’t know what a  catheter is, Google it. I’m not going to explain it.

Having said that, here’s a true story.

Back when I was a college freshman I worked as an orderly and an ER technician for a hospital. One of my jobs was catheterizing patients. I had only done the procedure on old guys who were unconscious or in a coma.

One day the head nurse gave me a cath kit and told me to do it to a 45-year-old wide-awake guy who was being prepped for surgery. I walked in the room and said I had to catheterize him. He asked me what that was. I explained it to him. When I finished there was a really long pause. All he said was, “You gotta be kidding me.”

It was at that point I realized that:

    1. I had never explained the procedure out loud to anyone before. And —
    2. He had a point. 

So I went back to the head nurse and said “Not doing this one. You’re on your own.”

Finally, drug commercials.

Lots and lots of drug commercials all of which are incredibly annoying because they take a beloved song from my youth and pervert it into shilling their drug. They all tell YOU to ask your doctor if whatever drug they’re selling is right for you.

Shouldn’t your doctor already know that? If he doesn’t, have you considered getting a new doctor?

Here’s the main take away from all drug commercials.


For God’s sake, listen to the list of side effects they describe in each of them.

        • Explosive diarrhea!
        • Sudden stroke!
        • Sudden death!
        • Rectal itch!

There’s actually a commercial for an anti-depression drug where one of the side effects is suicidal depression!

The drug side effects are worse than the disease you’re trying to treat. Except maybe for the one with rectal itch. I just don’t remember what disease it was treating.

So, to all you young folks out there. If you want to see where your life is going to end up, watch a cable news station for a day.

Me, I think I’m going to go back to watching the cartoon network.


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  3. Hey Tommy, lets not forget those commercials that come under the “drug” heading that suggest you might be due for a financial award if you’ve taken a drug that has seriously damaged, or killed you. The latter, I’m a little confused about. How do they get the money to me? Better still, how do they know where to find me if I’m eligible?


  4. 😉
    Makes me even gladder (?) not to own a TV – who needs to know all that ‘old people’ crap? I do however wonder sometimes who is actually noting down names and products and goes out after an emission to buy them! Something MUST work or those ppl wouldn’t throw all that serious money out of the window for TV commercials.
    Your cath-story really cracked me up!


  5. Supposedly, a reverse mortage lets you live there until you die and often will let any one who lives with you — like a kid — live there until he or she dies, too. But to believe this, you’d have to trust banks. do we trust banks? The hell we do!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve heard a large number of (unverified) stories where those reverse mortgage people actually screwed over the senior who signed up with them. The homeowner was left owing back taxes (never paid), and mortgage payments (never paid) and ended up on the street in a few cases because they didn’t own their home any longer, but somehow they did owe the money. It was pretty grim.


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  7. You’re covering a lot of topics here Tom. I once had to catheterize a guy from a biker gang who was in the hospital. What a suck! It must have hurt – but I used a lot of novocaine so I think it must have been the thought of the procedure.
    Leslie Reg. N.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is spot on. My parents, who are in their 70s, watch ABC News every night because we all watched it 30 years ago. It’s clear no one but the elderly watch it now. Those drug commercials make no sense. I try never to be around in their house when the news comes on because the news is so painful to watch. That, and my dad ends up arguing with Trump through the TV. In addition to not knowing that Monoproxidil can cure osteoporosis at the cost of night sweats and anal leakage, I did not know that Trump can hear you if you shout at ABC News loud enough.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sean, I love the juxtaposition of the ads. First cmm’l block — a) Juicy steak that’s good for you. b) vitamins to help you stay healthy from too much steak. c) funeral home savings. When you eat too much steak and take the wrong batteries. Bingo–the big sleep.
      (Wolf is still changing his hearing aid batteries. He’ll be back after one more block of commercials).

      BTW: the kid who anchors the ABC Weekend News– patently screams the headlines at the top of the show to set off pacemakers around the word. Good work, young fella.

      P.S. This week, eggs are good for you. Next week, eggs are not good for you.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Sean, the ABC weekend anchor sounds like he has marching orders from the suits to almost scream the headlines. I recall some suits where I worked would encourage “talent” to “punch it up” for viewers. I wouldn’t do it. Too phony.

      Just for laughs, I did an assigned live shot on an exploding man hole cover on the early morning news. It was the ONLY new story we had. They ran the “breaking news” chyron over me. (Yes!)
      I almost did a carnival barker schtick over the putrid fumes emanating from the explosion which we missed. I could hear lots of laughter in my “IFB” earpiece. I barely kept a straight face.


  9. As always, Tom, you have a unique, weird and wonderful mind…and as always, you made me laugh out loud!I tried to post this comment where it asks for comments on the site, but although I can do it for Ellin’s posts, it won’t let me post on yours.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Pancho, I’d like to argue with you but you’ re right. Those cable news ads are targeting us — ol’ farts. What’s worse – the hearing aids — the Miracle aid ads are false! Can you hear me now?
        (Wolf is in the throne room — changing his miracle aid batteries)

        Liked by 1 person

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