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1. This morning I inadvertently caught a few minutes of the local Fox affiliate's news broadcast. Naturally, they had a reporter stationed at Best Buy talking to people who were buying things. TVs. On credit. Since HDTVs are supposedly the big-ticket item this year, I thought I would do my part as an American, member of the quasi-MSM, and incorrigible gadget hound, to give slightly more reasonable real-world, real-person advice than you may be getting from other sources.
* Don't buy a supercheap HDTV. Just don't. Shitty HDTVs are worse than good non-HD cathode ray-tube TVs. Regular old CRTs have better color than cheap HDTVs. You're better off getting a big CRT for like $50, or even $0, and then spending the balance on movie tickets.
* Don't buy a supercheap HDTV because a lot of them aren't actually cheap in the long run (via Gizmodo).
* My one piece of advice for actually buying a TV is this: I've noticed, browsing classified ads, that people with more money than me are selling off their used CRT HDTVs for cheap because, having more money than me, they're replacing them with expensive flat-screen TVs.
Cons: CRT HDTVs are much bigger, deeper, and heavier than flat screens, obviously. They're used, so caveat emptor, but since they were all big-ticket items back in the day, the build quality's pretty good. And since you're buying from people and not stores (I'm not sure they even make them anymore), you have to be patient.
Pros: Almost everything else. They're HDTVs with CRT color quality, and if you like the softer picture of CRTs, there's that, too. Since they're CRTs, they also deal with non-HD inputs better than flat-screens. And the biggest pro is that they're cheap. I got a 27" for $50. If you really want an HDTV and are on a very limited budget, it's worth considering.
2. If you are a regular reader you are aware that I'm a compulsive fan of comedian Maria Bamford, who I think is a genius. Which is why I'm glad to see her getting work, even in the form of Target Black Friday ads, and why furthermore I'm glad to see that those ads are unsettling enough to bother advertising experts (the comments are hilarious), as a Bamford/Wieden + Kennedy collaboration is almost inevitably going to do. As my colleague Mike Riggs put it, "only Bamford could sell Target while seemingly trying to freak you out of leaving the house tomorrow." Indeed, a small cultural victory.
3. If you get depressed around the holidays like I do, Bamford's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" always makes me feel better. Drink more caffeine and just stay on your meds.