SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

One Way To End Channel Surfing
By Dave Kiffer


March 19, 2007
Monday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - A couple of recent news items caught my eye.
jpg Dave Kiffer

First, La-Z-Boy is facing a "difficult sales environment" and is slashing jobs and closing several manufacturing plants in order to cut losses estimated at some $10 million last year.

Okay. I can understand businesses losing money or even going bankrupt. That's the American way. Free enterprise means that if some company is doing well, then some other company is not.

Despite all this hooey about "growing" the economy and a "rising tax cut floats all boats" the reality is that the earth is one giant "zero sum" ecosystem. Somebody gains, somebody else loses.

But La-Z-Boy? If any company epitomizes all that is great about America it has to be the purveyor of overstuffed furniture that puts the "couch" in "couch potato."

If the place that has launched a thousand (spreading) hips is having tough time making a go of it, then the modern world is a cruel realm indeed. Especially in light of the fact that millions of baby boomers are now reaching their dotage and are suddenly learning that "passive" can be a good - and comfortable - thing.

So the idea that all these people could be without somewhere cushy to plant their heinies, concerns me greatly. Sure there are other companies out there to overstuff our furniture, but none that are as evocative of our modern culture as "La-Z-Boy."

Perhaps the company should really just announce a major recall. Imagine how much change has accumulated in those cushions. Should be enough to easily cover the $10 million debt. But - as usual - I digress.

The other news item was a story out of Long Island last month about a man being found dead watching TV.

This comes as no surprise to many wives out there. It is a well-known fact that many men exhibit death-like symptoms while sitting in their easy chairs watching television.

Eyes glaze over, oxygenation slows, reaction to outside stimulus ("Honey, did you hear me?") completely ends. The only sign that the individual has not expired is the inevitable "call of nature."

But what makes the case of the Long Island man more newsworthy is that he apparently expired sometime in late 2005 or early 2006. Yes, he had been sitting in his chair, dead, 'watching' TV for more than a year.

That has to be some type of record, if only because - despite his obvious inability to pay - his electricity stayed on.

Therefore, he was still watching the TV long after he died and - according to the Southampton, NY medical examiner's office - achieved a "mummified" state due to the lack of humidity in his home.

As usual, the media coverage left out some important facts. For example, what channel he was watching? For the sake of clarity I'm assuming it was the channel that he had on when he expired, although some wives would insist that their husbands would continue to channel "surf" even after death.

Think of the marketing opportunities for the networks or cable. "The Discovery Channel: Because Life-Long Learning Lasts Even Beyond Death!" or "The History Channel: In Search of Modern Mummies" or even "The Horror Channel on Terrovision: We'll Really Scare You To Death!"

At the very least, this information should have voided the Nielson ratings for the Suffolk County area. No one watches the same channel (except maybe the Weather Channel!!!) 24/7 for 14 straight months.

Of course, it also goes without saying that this gentleman was a widower. Otherwise, his wife would have eventually come back downstairs and turned the TV off.

She would also have eventually noticed that he was dead.

Probably within the first couple of months.

Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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