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"Ugh," I say and roll my eyes. "Change it." "What are you talking about?" Joe, my cousin asks, incredulous. "That's Metallica."

"I know it's Metallica. They suck. Change it."

"Metallica rocks," he says and throws his arms up. "How could you want to -- wait a minute. What were you watching the other day?"

" Fleetwood Mac Live ," I answer and make a swiping grab at the remote control, but he's quicker than me and I grab air. "Oooh. See if that's on. I wouldn't mind watching that again."

"I don't get that."

"What?"

"You're 27 years old. Have full-sleeve tattoos and half-inch plugs in your ears," he says pointing to my arms and stretched out earlobes. "And you'd rather watch the puttering old farts of Fleetwood Mac shuffle around on stage in their Depends FOR AN HOUR than this one Metallica video."

"Metallica sucks!" I yell at him and lean in close. "Get it through your --" and before I finish I slap him in the face and grab his hand that's holding the remote. "Joe! Give me the remote!" I yell as I pry his fingers away from the controller. His hands grasp mine and we tumble to the floor. "Give me the remote!"

"Not until you say, 'Metallica rules!'"

"I'm older than you. Give me the remote!"

"Four years!" he yells and I cut him off by leaning my left forearm against his neck. His voice squishes up so he sounds like Donald Duck and he says, "It's my house. It's my TV."

He shoves the remote under his back and lays on it. The channels start flipping as his shoulder blades romp down on the buttons and I romp down on his neck and grab at his arms. The bars that indicate the volume level start to creep up and across the screen. Martha Stewart is yelling into the front room about decoupage. "FIRST," her cinnamon herbal tea voice fills the space from couches to windows. "YOU CUT THESE FLORAL PRINT SQUARES." I pull the remote from beneath Joe and hold it directed at the TV to lower the volume. "FROM YOUR FAvorite fabric." The green bars crawl back across Martha's hands to the other side of the screen and her voice softens.

"Oh, look," I say, wiping my face and heaving for breath, holding the controller at arm's length. "Martha Stewart's on."

"GYAAAH!" Joe screams and makes a flying lunge for the remote.

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, August 18

Satan's School for Girls (2000)

USA 8:00 a.m.

Wahoo! Now we're talking. I've always lamented that daytime programming is a sea of vanilla lattes, white turtleneck sweaters, and cinnamon-colored couches. Looks like USA is taking an initiative for the bachelors who work from home. I salute you, noble USA Network!

Billiards

ESPN2 9:00 a.m.

My friend, Jessie, is a flannel-shirt-and-work-truck hillbilly. He only graduated high school because his girlfriend did all of his homework and he copied my answers on tests. To look at him you'd think you could break a 2x4 across his forehead and he wouldn't even notice. But for all of his lack of apparent sense he is one hell of a pool player. We used to trawl the bars downtown with a game plan of hustling the rubes. By the time it was our turn to shoot a game, Jessie would be so drunk he could barely hold a cue. He'd wake up on my couch the next morning and ask, "What'd we win?" "40 bucks. WE LOST 40 bucks and we had to fight those guys because you grabbed their girlfriends on the ass!"

Friday, August 19

Bring It On (2000)

USA 6:00 p.m.

Why is this on so much? Do the network execs believe us to be sitting at home with bated popcorn breath, dateless on a Friday night, waiting for Near Smut to come on? Oh. It's for, "those guys."

Saturday, August 20

Independence Day (1996)

XHAS 8:00 p.m.

Let's see. Saturday night. We need some background noise while we're showering and dressing and grooming to go out for the evening. Rambo III and A Beautiful Mind are on at the same time, but neither has the comedy that we're looking for to put us in the mood to chat up complete strangers in a bar. HERE WE GO! Independence Day on the Spanish Channel. You won't understand what Will Smiff is yelling out the canopy of his fighter jet, but c'mon, it's Will Smiff yelling out the canopy of a fighter jet. It's not Orson Welles whispering, "Rosebud."

Sunday, August 21

Saturday Night Live

NBC 1:01 a.m.

Get home from the bar. Forget about more booze, open a Pepsi, and pull that burrito out of the bag. Think about the girl you talked to and what could've happened if her friend

hadn't pulled her away and out the door. That bourbon's going to give you a banger headache in the morning, but right now, there's Saturday Night Live , carne asada, and the girl who got away.

Tu Desayuno Alegre: Fin de Semana

KBNTCA 7:00 a.m.

I think "tu" means "you" or "your." Thinking back to my time in Spain, I recall "desayuno" means "breakfast." Doesn't "fin" mean "the end"? Or is that just in French films? So this program is about "Your Breakfast" something something "the End" something else. I'll be surprised if there aren't women dancing around in bikinis, so I'll probably watch.

Monday, August 22

The King of Queens

CBS 8:00 p.m.

Everybody Loves Raymond

CBS 8:30 p.m.

The big three networks are losing ground to the cable channels. They've been bitching and moaning that we're just not watching their shows and commercials anymore. They're not making money like they used to. Hmmmm... I wonder why. BECAUSE YOUR SHOWS SUCK, YOU IDIOTS!

Tuesday, August 23

Tommy Lee Goes to College

NBC 9:00 p.m.

Awesome. This doesn't look stupid at all. Super.

Wednesday, August 24

Jurassic Park III (2001)

TNT 9:00 p.m.

Let's combine this technology with Jason from Friday the 13th. We could find a bit of his DNA, clone him in a lab, and build a tropical island getaway theme park around his cage. What could possibly go wrong? It'll be titled Friday the 13th Park . We'll drop all the Roman numerals and just start over fresh.

Thursday, August 25

Joey

NBC 8:00 p.m.

Would you please GO TO HELL whence you came, vile beast!?

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