2018 The Year We #CutTheCord On Cable Television

With the arrival of the new year, it is a time for reflections.  Many people write about their professional and family accomplishments and most people will have one or more to highlight.  I too have different accomplishments that I could write about but I’ve decided to write about a milestone in our family’s entertainment.

First, this isn’t about getting completely out from under the thumb of the various large cable television corporations.  With my husband needing internet in his home office and our overall need for it for streaming services, we need high-speed internet and that usually means one of the big providers.  This is about dropping them for everything else.

Second, cutting the cord has some upfront costs associated with the process.  These costs, for the most part, are one-time costs that will eventually pay for themselves but cutting the cord isn’t cost-free.

At the beginning of 2018, our monthly bill from our cable provider was about $222 for what they call the Triple Play and Digital Preferred.  What this means is that we had internet, cable television, and cable telephone.  This price was a bundled package providing a discount of $36.  We had dropped the premium channels previously when the most recent broadcast season of Game of Thrones was finished, we found that for the most part we only watched two programs on HBO and very little on any of the other premium channels.

Yes, there are many cable television channels that had programs that we watched but more and more we turned to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.  The holdout for us was that cable television gave us broadcast television.  What would we do without local news and our favorite network television shows and with busy lives, don’t even think about taking away the DVR. So we trudged along paying that enormous monthly fee.  Just like burning our money.

In the summer, I began reading articles about streaming packages that could possibly give us local channels and many of the cable channels that are included in the cable television that we currently have but for less monthly.  I started making charts comparing Playstation Vue, Hulu, and Youtube which were some of the few providers of such services.  This lead me to articles on “cord-cutting” websites.  Finally, my husband and I circled back to the idea that those streaming packages are just another disguised cable bill.

Looking at cord-cutting websites such as Antenna Web, we began thinking about getting an HD antenna for broadcast television.  Talk about a brain explosion.  It all seemed very complex and the idea of an antenna installed on our roof made me think I was entering the Twilight Zone in a world of the 1960 or 1970s.

This 1963 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine would have the copyright renewed in 1991. Online page scans of the Catalog of Copyright Entries, published by the US Copyright Office can be found here. Search of the Renewals for Periodicals for 1990, 1991, and 1992 show no renewal entries for Radio-Electronics. Therefore the copyright was not renewed and it is in the public domain.

In the end, we decided to try an indoor antenna.  There are so many to choose from and you have to know the broadcast zones that you are trying to receive.  We lucked out with the one we bought on Amazon but I am not sure we really knew what we were doing.  I guess we figured we could just return it if it didn’t work.  We weren’t dropping the cable until we had it all functioning.

ClearStream 2V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna with Mount and 30ft Cable – 60 Mile Range

Yes, that is our antenna.  If we had it in our living room, it would make a good conversation piece for guests but it is out of the way in my husband’s home office on the second floor (higher is better).  It doesn’t take up much space.  We purchased long cables in order to use the antenna for the televisions on both floors but started out just hooking up the television on the second floor which was closer.  With the television remote, we set the service to “Antenna”, ran a channel update and with our fingers crossed started going through the channels.  You would be amazed at how clear the picture broadcasts.  For many of the channels, I thought it was more clear than cable.  We discovered that one of the needed broadcast channels had very bad reception so we tried changing the direction of the antenna.  This resolved the distortion without affecting other channels.

The next thing that needed to be resolved before we cut the cord was DVR.  With shows broadcasting at the same time or when we can’t be home, a DVR was something that we became dependent on and didn’t want to give up.  Again there are several options for this but some require a monthly fee which we didn’t want.  Our televisions are not Smart TVs so some type of device is needed for streaming.  We currently use an Amazon Fire Stick but also have older Roku devices and blueray players with streaming capability.  With having the Amazon Fire Stick, we decided to purchase Amazon’s DVR, the Fire TV Recast.  I am so glad we did.  The two devices play nice together.  When we went with antenna, we thought we’d be constantly using the television remote to switch from “antenna” for broadcast tv to the Fire Stick for streaming but having the Recast eliminated that cumbersome process by putting DVR on the Fire Stick menu. That menu option takes us to the live broadcast channels and the DVR functions.  Do you remember I mentioned buying long cables to connect the antenna to the television on two floors.  With the Recast, we don’t need them.  The Recast is connected by cable to the antenna but the televisions are connected to the Recast by wifi.

Amazon-Fire-TV-Recast-with-Fire-TV-Stick-4K-and-Remote

With everything set with television entertainment, we dropped the television portion of our service but still had the telephone.  We haven’t seriously used a home telephone line for a few years due to having cellphones but the cable telephone had been part of a package and my husband used it as his work line.  When we dropped the television from cable, the monthly cost of the telephone increased since it was no longer part of a triple play package.  At $45 a month, it had to go.  Voiceover IP was the answer and we chose Ooma.  For this part, it has only been a few weeks but so far it is working well.

As a family, we are getting used to the reduction in television channels.  Without the large monthly bill for a bunch of channels we don’t use, we now have options.  With streaming services, we maintain a base of Netflix and Amazon Prime but pick and choose others as we feel fit.  I recently picked up Britbox and after a month or two I decided to drop it and pick up Acorn TV instead.  We have the freedom of no long contracts.  After dropping the telephone portion of our cable bill, our monthly bill for internet and related fees is $114.  We cut it just about in half, not bad.

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy 243 Years Strong

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Zookeeper’s Wife

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinskis’ villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.  I have not read this novel; however  I did see the film.

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Another year of the A to Z Challenge has come to an end.  I enjoyed researching all these books connected with the Second World War and having read many of them, I am looking forward to reading many more.  I appreciate all the visitors to my posts during this month and I’ve enjoyed visiting many posts myself.  I plan to continue to visit posts now that the challenge is over.  If you missed any of the books I wrote about, you can access a menu of the full list by clicking the link at the top of my screen.  My posts from other A to Z years are there too.  Please enjoy this slide show of my entire 2018 challenge.

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#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Young Lions

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw is a vivid and classic novel that portrays the experiences of ordinary soldiers fighting World War II. Told from the points of view of a perceptive young Nazi, a jaded American film producer, and a shy Jewish boy just married to the love of his life, Shaw conveys, as no other novelist has since, the scope, confusion, and complexity of war.  Published in 1948, ten years later it was made into a film starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin.

 

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – X Company

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Well, we have arrived at X and I have nothing.  For my posts, I’ve used the top 100 from two lists (Fiction and Nonfiction) as voted by members of Goodreads.com and for X, I stretched it further by looking through the top 200 with no result.  What could I do but switch to another genre of posts I had done a few years ago called History from the Small Screen.  You can read others in this genre here.

Though it aired on Canadian televison CBC from 2015 through 2017 and is currently finished, it has recently been introduced in the United States on cable television channel, Ovation and my husband and I are big fans.  Season 1 just finished and season 2 is set to air in May.  Set in the dangerous era of World War II, “X Company” follows the stories and adventures of five highly skilled young recruits as they are torn from their lives to train as agents at a secret training facility on the shores of Lake Ontario called Camp X. The agents risk torture or death in each operation, and it is up to them to navigate out of situations where no rules apply. The agents parachute behind enemy lines where anything is fair game, and sabotage, deception, and glamour are part of everyday life. It is an original story about spy craft and the heroes that led the charge to change the world.  You can view the website for the series HERE

Though fiction, was there a group like X Company operating during the Second World War?  The answer is Yes.  This video is a historical walk-through of Camp X and tells the tale of the top secret base through the eyes of an agent-in-training. Discover more about this real location, now demolished, that trained spies from Europe and North America and was instrumental in turning the tide for the Allies during the war.

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – Winds of War and War and Remembrance

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Well known for the two blockbuster television mini-series, these novels by Herman Wouk, the Winds of War and War and Remembrance, tell the saga of an American family caught up in the Second World War. In the Winds of War, the entire story of the Henry family and those who interact with them is set against the backdrop of World War II. There are evaluations of the war as seen from those involved and from a German officer’s writing. The story comes to a close as Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese. The second book, War and Remembrance, continues the story from that point and follows with great fidelity the major events of World War II.  The novel begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and ends with the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. All major battles on land and sea are covered. Japanese, American, and German war aims are fully explored and analyzed, including the development of the atom bomb and of the concentration camps. Domestic life in the United States during the war, the acute suffering of the Soviet people during the German invasion, and the collapse of the British Empire in the Far East all receive significant attention. As a result, the global dimensions of the war become the primary concern of the novel.

Television Promotion Winds of War 1983

Television Promotion War and Remembrances 1988

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach

Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Out of the Hitler Time #1) by Judith Kerr

The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

War of the Rats by David L. Robbins

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge, Paul Fussell (One of the books used as a basis for the HBO television series, The Pacific)

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth M. Norman

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 by Stephen E. Ambrose

 

 

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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I just added Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton to my list of future reads.  Here is the description from Goodreads.com that makes me want to read this story.  In the fall of 1944, a massive American bomber carrying eleven men vanished over the Pacific islands of Palau, leaving a trail of mysteries. According to mission reports from the Army Air Forces, the plane crashed in shallow water—but when investigators went to find it, the wreckage wasn’t there. Witnesses saw the crew parachute to safety, yet the airmen were never seen again. Some of their relatives whispered that they had returned to the United States in secret and lived in hiding. But they never explained why.  For sixty years, the U.S. government, the children of the missing airmen, and a maverick team of scientists and scuba divers searched the islands for clues. They trolled the water with side-scan sonar, conducted grid searches on the seafloor, crawled through thickets of mangrove and poison trees, and flew over the islands in small planes to shoot infrared photography. With every clue they found, the mystery only deepened.  Now, in a spellbinding narrative, Wil S. Hylton weaves together the true story of the missing men, their final mission, the families they left behind, and the real reason their disappearance remained shrouded in secrecy for so long. This is a story of love, loss, sacrifice, and faith— of the undying hope among the families of the missing, and the relentless determination of scientists, explorers, archaeologists, and deep-sea divers to solve one of the enduring mysteries of World War II.

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – Unbroken

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Can you remember a time you read a book and the scenes described were so vivid that you were almost there with the characters?  Did a story ever make you so angry, you don’t know how the world could have ever moved on from such attrocity?  That was what reading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand was for me.  With a little time, I was able to put Louis Zamperini’s story in perspective and not develop a lasting permanent hatred of the Japanese; but I could see how anyone who experienced what he did would.  Somehow he survived and found a way to forgive.  If you have not read this book and you think you will, do not see the movie.  As movies go, it is OK but it doesn’t come close to doing the book justice.

Unbroken is the life story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, an Olympic runner and military aviator in World War II (WWII). He survived being lost at sea and years of horrific abuse as a prisoner of war (POW) in Japan. While on a search and rescue mission in 1943, Louie’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately only Louie and one other man survived more than a month lost at sea. They were captured by Japanese troops and sent to POW camps in Japan. During the next two years, Louie endured physical and psychological torture at the hands of his captors. Finally liberated in 1945, Louie returned to America, where he married—and struggled with alcoholism and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 1949, through the ministry of Reverend Billy Graham, Louie became a Christian and began a full recovery from his emotional wounds, which included finding the strength to forgive his captors. He spent the rest of his life leading a nonprofit organization that helped at-risk boys and also worked as an inspirational speaker.

 

Another movie is being made that tells Louis story after he returned from the POW camp and eventually found redemption through the minstry of Reverend Billy Graham which is the second part of the book.  It will be entitled Unbroken: Path to Redemption and scheduled for release in October 2018.

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Thin Red Line

STORIES FROM A TIME OF WAR

THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN FICTION & NONFICTION

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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In The Thin Red Line published in 1962, James Jones tells a fictional account of the battle between American and Japanese troops on the island of Guadalcanal. In the narrative, Jones introduces the reader to multiple viewpoints from characters within C-for-Charlie Company.  These characters are the commanding officer Capt. James Stein, his psychotic first sergeant Eddie Welsh, and the young privates they send into battle. The descriptions of combat conditions–and the mental states it induces–are unflinchingly realistic, including the dialog. This is more than a classic of combat fiction; it is one of the most significant explorations of male identity in American literature.  Like, the first novel in the James Jones’ trilogy, From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line was also made into a film.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

The Tin Drum (Die Danziger Trilogie #1) by Günter Grass

 

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – Sarah’s Key

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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As I write this, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay is in my audiobook queue awaiting my finishing my current read.  I am really looking forward to this story.  It is currently number 10 on the Goodreads member list of best fiction about the Second World War so I think I will be pleased with my choice.


Paris under occupation seems to be a common theme in novels in this genre.  In this novel, Tatiana de Rosnay brings us a portrait of France in this time period and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.  It is July 1942 and in Paris, Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

I hadn’t heard of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup or at least not that title before so let’s see what it is all about.

Now in the novel, it is May 2002 in Paris on the 60th anniversary of Vel’ d’Hiv.  Journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Sarah’s Key was release as a movie starring Kristin Scott Thomas in 2010′

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut  I was going to use this for my post as I had written about Dresden before which included reference to this novel.

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Savaged Lands by Lana Kortchik

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943 by Antony Beevor

Survival in Auschwitz (Auschwitz Trilogy #1) by Primo Levi, Stuart J. Woolf (Translator), Philip Roth (Afterword)

The Second World War: A Complete History by Martin Gilbert

Shinano!: The Sinking of Japan’s Secret Supership by Joseph F. Enright, James W. Ryan

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green (I remember this as a TV movie starring Christy McNichols).  Here is a blast from by tween years.