Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going Tubal (16.3.11)

I am not a man of constant sorrow—unlike the Soggy Bottom Boys, but I am a man of few possessions. I have one tie and exactly two pairs of pants that fit me (Yes, the miraculous Ace Eating Plan will be blogged shortly.). I still have my autographed picture of James Brown from the night I sat in with him.

But no worldly good do I prize more than my DVR. You don't know what this is? Still watching your Betamax tapes, are you? Okay, Luddites, it's a satellite box that tunes in my stations and records shows, thank you very much. Lots of them. And even you could make it work!

I've got the last inning of Halladay's gem from the Phils last year; Norm Abram mortising (“use a nice shahp chisel”); much of “The Wire”; Prince Rogers Nelson doing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. I can watch The Shawshank Redemption any old time I want.

Now that's livin'.

Plus, it automatically stores the last hour or so of what little I do watch live. I can replay a technical foul or Angie Harmon just walking into a room at will. Even watch it in slo-mo. Take that, Tim bleepin' McCarver.

I rarely miss a show. And I think that TV drama is better now than ever. I'm invested in cop series, heavily. I can hear the guffaws. Tune in Bridget Moynahan in the excellent new show “Blue Bloods,” featuring a crusty, avuncular Tom Selleck as an NYPD big cheese. I could watch her pop open a Fresca and kvell. Hey some of you golf, you wanna talk about wasting time.

Best of all, I zap through the commercials. This gizmo is so smart that when you fast-forward at triple speed and then hit play, it automatically backs up a second or two. I am getting fairly good at getting it right on the mark, gleefully skipping the Progressive girl (Jeannie C. Riley called; she wants her hairdo back.) and all the fake ItaloDreck I can eat at Olive Garden.

As an aside, I think we need tougher regulations on what marketers can do or say in commercials. Cripes, I saw a Taco Bell commercial where someone is flipping food in a … a skillet! This is akin to spotting Glen Beck at a PETA convention or Charlie Sheen at a juice bar. I think it only fair, by the by, to include Mr. Sheen in every column. The skillet you'll find closest to a Taco Bell is at Bed, Barf and Bidet down at the other end of the mall.

Why would I ever tell my doctor what drug I need? Doesn't she get paid for that? Don't these countless hours of placebo peddling actually raise the cost of mother's little helpers? There's one spot for a prescription med that treats depression. Of course, 75% of the slot is devoted to the contraindications. This one said, “May cause suicidal thoughts.” Hmmm, an anti-depressant that makes you want to go George Sanders. That's a cheering thought.

I can see the next batch, maybe for an anesthetic: “Before surgery, insist on Toxidol. Warning: may cause agonizing pain.”

Looking for a new car? You can lease a dashing Flakmobile for only $239 a month. Then try to read the terms, disclaimers and other balderdash (e. g., plastic windows, no glove box), which is flashed at the bottom of the screen for approximately one-half second in a font that van Leeuwenhoek couldn't read. Ditto the classic “Price as shown ...” which is $17,854 more than the skinny price you see in 72-point Helvetica.

The best news: I get all this for ten bucks a month. You can't buy a club sandwich at the Parthenon diner for that. C'mon over sometime. I've got some great episodes of “Bachelor Father.”

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