We did have cable. For long even, about 2 years If I recall. My television watching would ebb and flow during the period of 2 years. Some weeks, it would be off and stay off. Some other weeks it would be the primary means of entertainment.
Of course, now with Harmony, everything is different. The less exposure to television she gets during these important developmental years, the better.
*snip* bye bye. Good riddance.
That being said, there is something about being able to sit back and consume information, turn down the brain a little bit. Reading is one of those things, but reading is still an active consumption, at least, it is for me. While reading, I am visualizing the situations, thinking about the things being said, sub-texts, etc.
Enter the SicP Lectures. My answer to passive consumption. And let me tell you, this is the kind of TV I could watch for HOURS. Now, what is SicP you might ask? It is a book (Free For Download!) that is actually entitled "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs", and is about as beefy as you might expect. The Lectures are a great companion to the book. Really, the only thing missing is a good instructor that can answer questions. And with the fine folks in #scheme, even that missing piece of the puzzle is there.
Here is an oft-quoted piece of SicP, to give you an idea of what you are getting into:
We are about to study the idea of a computational process. Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers. As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells.
Listening to: High Times - Big Bud (6:33) Infinity + Infinity