APtx 10/09 0152 Texas Topic: No TV By MARCIA SMITH Dallas Times Herald DALLAS (AP) -- Ther

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APtx 10/09 0152 Texas Topic: No TV By MARCIA SMITH Dallas Times Herald DALLAS (AP) -- There's winter, spring, summer and fall. And then there's the year's most-awaited season -- the new TV season, when more than 88 million Americans come inside early and reacquaint themselves with the Huxtables, ALF and Maddie Hayes. Not everybody looks forward to the new fall schedule. Two percent of Americans -- those who have no television set -- don't know Maddie Hayes from Gabby Hayes. To them, Bill Cosby is an author, Santa Barbara a city. Living without television, says one non-viewer, is "like living in a foreign country in which you don't speak the language." Leif Oines is one of those people. The 26-year-old Dallas computer programmer kicked the TV habit eight years ago and today, he says he's a little out of touch. "I always see something about `Moonlighting' in the National Enquirer at the checkout, so I know it's out there," says Oines, "but I don't know what it is." Oines grew up watching reruns of "Gilligan's Island" after school, but when he left home for college, he didn't pack a TV set. "I didn't miss it," he says, "and after I earned enough to buy one, there always seemed to be something more worthwhile to buy. TV is always trying to sell you an idea that's not fully developed or a thing you don't want or need. "There's always something better to do." For Elva Trevino, reading and exercise take the place of the TV viewing she gave up 15 years ago. "I find the TV sits me down," says the 37-year-old IBM saleswoman. "I didn't have TV until I was 14 or 15 -- I grew up in South Texas and our family didn't own one -- but sometimes I watched `Pop-eye' at a friend's house. "When I met my ex-husband in 1972, he subscribed to three newspapers, read lots of magazines and didn't watch TV. That's when I discovered it was more fun to read." Mary Beth Burns says cable television peddlers think she's lying when she tells them she doesn't own a TV. Mrs. Burns, 30, and her doctor husband, Steve, decided nearly five years ago not to waste their time on the tube: Instead, they renovated a house and became active in church work. Since the birth of her daughter two years ago, Mrs. Burns has become more determined that a TV set will not take root in a corner of her living room. "It's not public enemy No. 1, but there's a lot on TV I wouldn't want my children to see," she says. "TV has changed a lot since I was a kid. I'm appalled at the language and what is shown. It presents things as the norm that aren't the norm." And, she says, it sometimes takes the place of parents. "I'm sure I wouldn't play with my child as much if I were plugged into the TV instead of to the child," Mrs. Burns says. "And I can see how it would be tempting to let it baby-sit with your kids. But when you're watching TV, you're not interacting with each other." Russell Hobbs, a Deep Ellum nightclub owner whose unmarried and childless lifestyle is very different from the Burnses', nevertheless agrees that television discourages interaction between people. "They stay in their gerbil boxes watching the same things on TV, hiding from each other, instead of socializing," he says. "We need to open up our hearts and be with people instead of being programmable objects. "TV is like tropical fish food," Hobbs says. "It's fed to us to keep us at a certain level. People do it because they're naturally lazy. I say, `Turn off your TV and ... get involved in art, go to galleries and museums, see a play.' " Hobbs, 29, owned three television sets when he decided to go to Alaska in 1982. He sold two of them to help finance his trip; he sold the third "to a guy who was going to work way up on top of the world ... in Dead Horse, Alaska." Hobbs says he rarely misses his TV-watching days. "I'm not saying everybody who watches TV is stupid, but there are people who are slaves to TV," he says. "I don't know what TV is teaching us, except what Larry Hagman looks like and whether he drinks Coke ... That's why I sold my TV and saw it go off to Dead Horse." Charles Young, a Hare Krishna priest and manager of Kalachandji's Restaurant, also has strong differences with the values presented on television. "There's a lot of promotion of irreligious principles -- meat-eating, violence, excessive sex life," he says. "It doesn't promote the finer spiritual sentiments in life ... compared to reading Scriptures, which is ore enlivening and healthy." Young stopped watching television 12 years ago when he began to practice the Hare Krishna religion. He says he finds television a "ridiculous waste of time" and if he happens to bump into one, "I feel frustrated because I see nothing of value on it." "In America, TV has become a guru. People believe what they see ... and they subject themselves to whatever mood the TV show is. Just as we develop some of the qualities of our friends, we develop the quality of things we watch on TV." On that high note, it should also be said that not everyone who doesn't have a television prefers it that way. Neal McWeeney, 25, and an assistant manager at Whole Foods Market, grew up fighting with his older brothers and sisters about which Saturday-morning cartoons and science-fiction movies they would watch on the family TV set. Since leaving home, he hasn't gotten around to buying a set. Instead, he reads sci-fi novels, plays softball and goes camping. Still, there are times when he misses the tube. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, when he's not in the mood to read and he can't go outside, McWeeney finds solace at the movies. "I just go watch the big screen," he says.


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