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for January 8, 2003

No Passing Zone
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

It's January! Congratulations, you survived another round of close contact with your brother-in-law Goober, endless checkout lines and abundant, flinty sugar cookies. Congratulations on doing your part to increase the Gross National Product. On the flip side, you're too broke to leave the house. Don't cry! Think of it as your chance to become One with the couch, and to reacquaint yourself with your old friend the remote.
Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love once flew into tidy Milwaukee for a weekend, during which was heard this conversation:
Friend: You're from New Jersey. A Giants fan!
Moi: No, I'm from New Jersey. I don't follow football.
Friend: Aha! A Jets fan!
Moi: No, dahhhhhling. Did you know some people don't care for football?
[Insert puzzled silence here.]
It's also true that some people are fans of the playoffs, when most of the losing teams have been eliminated and new levels of losers are created so one winner can be crowned and sportscasters can yodel until training camp begins. Playoffs fans spend January catching up on what didn't interest them. They're too busy to talk! Playoffs fans remind Your Jalapeno Poppers of voters who turn up on election day and arrange the levers in the shape of the Big Dipper.
Monday night has not given the non-football viewing public much to crow about in ages. Perhaps network programmers suspect you're doing laundry or actually supervising the kids. It's hard to say. But let's say you're you, and it's January, and you couldn't give a hoot about a Hail Mary pass. What are you going to watch?
At eight o'clock, the Discovery Channel offers Monster Garage. If you haven't seen this yet, you're way behind the curve. Monster Garage is renegade bike builder Jesse James, a crew of welders, machinists and rock star mechanics, and a tricky project. On one episode, the task was to turn a limo into a fire engine; on another, transforming a Porsche into a golf ball collector. It's fun, frustrating, and a game with decent prizes for the successful crew. One wonders if the Discovery Channel plans to send the vehicles out on solo tours.
At nine, Bravo debuted Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within. You want a reality show based on real work with fantastic results? You got it. This is way better than The It Factor (which should really be called The Who Cares Factor) and more dramatic than Escape From Experiment Island.
Now, let's talk about guilty pleasures. Guilty pleasures are things you like but tell your friends you hate. Still hiding your Fleetwood Mac records? Pretending you like expensive beer when Pabst Blue Ribbon fills your vegetable bins at home? Your Fried Zucchini knows we - you and I - have never been closer - which is to say nearer. One of Your Caviar On Toast Points confesses a guilty pleasure: Jill Hennessy is fun to watch, and sometimes so is NBC's Crossing Jordan. Granted, the writing's often on the feeble side with an extra helping of lame, but Jill Hennessy is a quirky damsel playing a character whose tenacity and smarts come through every time.
When cabin fever sets in and your bank balance permits, you can make excursions into New York City and see television shows taped. For information on how to whoop and hollar for all your worth, click like you mean it.
The Late Show with David Letterman:
The Maury Povich Show:
TV shows in New York:
Not the most up-to-date:
With a few exotic ideas:
So. January doesn't have to suck. Why did it take until 2003?

©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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Los Campesinos - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future (Free download!)
Miike Snow - Black & Blue

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