Never let it be said that I don't cover the important issues....
I wrote this little treatise back in November and emailed it to my friends. I thought I would post it here.....
I was right about something…
So I’m watching TV last night after Lynda (my girlfriend) kicked me out so she could finish her laundry. (That has to be the single most pathetic sentence written by a man in…like, ever.) It was about 11ish, and I went flipping through the myriad of HBO and other assorted movie channels:
HBO: Some crappy documentary
HBO2: Some crappy movie that’s been on every other day for about a month
HBO Signature: A repeat of the season finale of “Rome”, which I saw Sunday night.
HBO Family: Some movie that really stretched the definition of “Family” programming. Not interested.
HBO Spanish: I don’t habla, so this was not an option.
HBO Comedy: Some raunchy, anonymous comedian, probably yammering on about how Bush sucks. Or he’s an idiot. Or he’s a sucky idiot. Or something.
HBO Zone: The zone of sucky programming.
Other Movie Channel 1: Crap
Other Movie Channel 2: Crap
Other Movie Channel 3: More Crap
Other Movie Channel 4: Still More Crap
Other Movie Channel 5: The Last Thing You Would Ever Want To Watch
After surfing for a while, my choices came down to:
Reasons To Watch:
It’s sports. I’m male.
Reasons Not To Watch:
a) The sports that are going on right now:
NBA – which I haven’t cared about since John Stockton retired in 2003
NHL – Is it ever NOT hockey season? They start in early October and their playoffs end a week before the Fourth of July. And no, I don’t care.
College Football – I knew there was no ND news, and the only thing they would have to talk about is speculation about who’s going to which bowl. I already know that if ND wins this Saturday, we’re probably going to the Fiesta against Penn State, Ohio State, or Oregon.
College Basketball – Unless ND is playing, I don’t care until March, no matter who’s playing. The games don’t mean anything. Last night, #2 Texas played #17 Iowa. In college football, that’s an interesting matchup, and regardless of when it’s played, it would have an impact on the national championship. In college basketball? Unless it’s an NCAA Tournament game, it matters little to not at all. While the 65-team March Madness is great, it really makes regular season games involving Top 25 teams little more than televised practices. Who won the game? Couldn’t tell you. I know both teams will make the NCAA’s. I’ll tune in then. This is why I don’t favor a 16-team playoff in college football, like many do.
NFL – I haven’t watched an NFL game this season, and with my Packers sucking wind at 2W-8L right now, I doubt I will until the Super Bowl, and even then, it will have to share my attention with the buffet at whichever party I’m at. And no, I don’t want to hear another syllable about Terrell Owens.
b) SportsCenter, unless you’re looking for a specific highlight or result, has become largely unwatchable. It was the greatest thing ever in the late ‘80s – an hour of sports highlights!! Chris Berman was anchoring, and he made even baseball highlights interesting with his nicknames for players, like Bert “Be Home” Blyleven and Cookie “Days of Wine and” Rojas. He seemed to provide the right balance between entertainment and serious sports journalism. In the 90’s, Berman gave way to Dan Patrick and Ken Olberman, who went a little more toward the entertainment side, but it was so darn entertaining that I didn’t mind. It was still about the sports, and their shtick only added to the enjoyment of the highlights.
Patrick and Olberman moved on to other things, and SportsCenter started to become a shrill imitation of its former self, with the new anchors’ shtick overshadowing and intruding on the sports part. There was Kenny Mayne, with his ultra-ironic narration of highlights:
(Highlight of pitcher delivering pitch to Mark McGuire)
Mayne: This is Mark McGuire…
(McGuire hits towering home run)
Mayne: …he’s tall.
(Highlight of Dante Bichette coming to the plate)
Mayne: Here’s Dante Bichette …
(Bichette strikes out)
Mayne: …he’s not.
Imagine an hour of that.
Even worse is Stuart Scott and his ultra-hip street lingo narration:
Scott: Boo-yah!!! Smith was all up in the house !!! Puttin’ his game on !!! He threw down and got all up in Martin’s grill !!! He gots to represent, winnin’ the APB Professional Bowling Championships…..
So SportsCenter was out. This left me with a repeat of…
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Reasons Not To Watch:
Already saw snippets of it last week. If I mentioned that I watched it to Lynda, she would possibly be offended at the idea of me having the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in my living room.
Reasons To Watch:
a) I did the cheerleading thing at Univ. of Central Florida (before I transferred to ND), so I find this kind of thing interesting.
b) The “Who’s Going To Make The Team?” drama.
c) The high Unintentional Comedy Factor – Last week I saw a bit of a clip of a girl who got cut and wept into the camera that she felt like she was called to be a cheerleader, that “God has put this on my heart”. I thought at time that this proves that either God, or this woman, is a major flake. I saw the whole clip this time, and it rated even higher on the UCS (Unintentional Comedy Scale, a term coined and employed frequently by Bill Simmons). Turns out that this is the 8th year in a row (!!!) that she has tried out and gotten cut, this time in the first round. Still, “God has put this on my heart”. God is either a heartlessly cruel SOB, or this chick is not getting the message (from God or the Cheerleaders) : move on.
Of course, the crying-after-getting-cut thing (save for “God has put this on my heart”) and the praying-in-a-circle-before-tryouts scenes didn’t really rate high on the UCS, because I understand how it feels to really want something and how it feels when I don’t get it, regardless of how inconsequential it may seem to others (“Dear God, please help/let/guide Notre Dame to beat the godless heathens of USC…”). But the part where they are put into a classroom to learn “Media Relations” was a UCS tipper. One by one, they stood up and answered the “What it means to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader”. Apparently, Condoleeza Rice doesn’t hold a job that is this important. Funny stuff. I especially was amused/perplexed by the number of times I heard “This is my life’s goal…”. Geez, I guess it’s all downhill from here, huh?
Okay, not much of a convincing justification, but I’m glad I watched because it provided me with affirmation that I was right about something. The cheerleaders are taken to a swanky, upscale restaurant to learn proper table etiquette. The Etiquette Coach walked them through a full course dinner, correcting and advising them as they went. “When toasting, don’t raise your glass above shoulder level.”, “Don’t put lipstick on at the table.” (that’s always a tough one for me to remember) , etc.
Then the perky-blonde-girl-whom-the-Cheerleader-Director-made-to-dye-her-hair-brunette (you don’t see blonde-to-brunette that often in Texas) picked up the little roll of bread and proceeded to use her knife to cut a piece off of it.
At this point, those of you who have eaten with Lynda and I will remember that this is a point of contention between us. When I wish to divide a roll of bread (at, say, Macaroni Grill) amongst my dinner companions, I pick the roll up and tear off a piece. At this point, I either pass the roll around or put the roll back on the table, or if I’m with people I’ve known for a long time, I will tear off a piece for them as well. Lynda, on the other hand, will pick up her knife and slice off equal-to-the-crumb pieces for everyone. Either of us performing their preferred bread-distribution method elicits an eye-roll from the other, and debate ensues. Her position is that it’s more sanitary and neat to cut the bread. I respond that you still have to hold the bread to cut it (thereby touching it and nullifying the “sanitary” argument) and that usually the bread is so soft that in the process of cutting it, the bread gets squished down. I also have the Almighty on my side as a role model in this aspect:
During the Last Supper, Scripture Says:
“And he took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body…’ ” Lk 22:19
“And as they were eating, He took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’” Mark 14:22
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ ” Mt 26:26
“Jesus took bread, then pulled out a knife and proceeded to cut identical slices from the bread, though Peter’s might have been a little bigger (which of course upset John, who always thought he was the favorite), Judas got the heel, and Our Lord completely forgot about Philip, which is no big deal because everyone else pretty much has too….”
So I’m simply following the example set by the King of Kings. Of course, Lynda, not persuaded by simple logic or the actions of the Son of God, sticks to her cutting-with-a-knife guns, thinking she has etiquette on her side.
As the perky-blonde-girl-whom-the-Cheerleader-Director-made-to-dye-her-hair-brunette cut into her bread, the Etiquette Coach stopped her and asked the group “How do we get a piece of bread from a roll?” The perky-blonde-girl-whom-the-Cheerleader-Director-made-to-dye-her-hair-brunette looked confused, and no one else answered, either. The Etiquette Coach continued: “We pick up the roll and tear a piece off…” she intoned, picking up the roll and tearing a piece off for emphasis, then using the knife to butter the piece. Again, in case you missed it, the Etiquette Coach instructed:
“We PICK UP THE ROLL AND TEAR A PIECE OFF…”
(Me doing a little “Dance of Superiority” around my cube)
I await Lynda’s lavish apology.
(Editorial Comment on 01/17/06: I'm still waiting...)