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Mary had a little lamb. Mary's ovine pet propelled her, not just to stardom, but to galactic fame. It was the TV show featuring Mary and her adolescent sheep where her acclaim started. It was the Mary Had a Little Lamb Vacuum Sealer that forced Mary, trancelike, to the roof of her condominium complex, ready to jump, ready to leave this life, longing for sweet relief.

Mary's smile on the vacuum sealer box, reflected back at her, was the tip of the spear that poked her to the edge and forced the toes of her white lace-up boots to creep over the brink. The vacuum sealer was the latest product to bear the Mary Had a Little Lamb official stamp of approval. Mary Had a Little Lamb Air Freshener was the first in the long line of trusted merchandise -- that was ten years ago. Back when Mary was the hottest ticket in this and every other town. Back before the product endorsement machine ground her -- and her little lamb -- up and spit out the chunks. That was ten years ago; ten years before she thought hurling herself off this building was the only way.

From atop her high-rise, neo-Deco downtown diving platform, Mary was afforded a view of a billboard that read, "If you die, your love will go on." The billboard was an advertisement for the Mary Had a Little Lamb Last Will and Testament Service. Mary's fists flew up to meet her tear-gushing eyes, and she shuddered, coughed, and convulsed at the sight. Mascara streaked past her chin and stained the ruffles of her baby blue and white lace-frilled collar.

"I HATE YOU!" Mary screamed at the billboard. "YOU SOLD YOUR SOUL!" There, pictured on the billboard, next to her smiling face, was her beloved lamb, whose fleece was white as snow. Sobs escaped her cupped hands and wafted into the stiff wind. "I'm sorry!"

The sheep did not answer. The sheep only stared out into the city streets below it. Bright spotlights shone up onto the stoic visage of the barnyard creature. "I'm sor-or-or-or-orry," she lamented. The sheep did not answer.

Mary steadied herself against a wall to her left, the wind whipping tendrils of her hair straight out from beneath her bonnet. "Remember?" she screamed into the bustling air. "Remember when we first started? Back in Anaheim on that sound stage? We were happy!" The lamb on the billboard did not answer, but Mary reminisced. "Everywhere that I went, you were sure to go! REMEMBER?"

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, June 23

Health Matters

UCSD-TV, 3:00 a.m.

Stuff between my teeth has come to my attention. All it took was one article entitled "The Dangers of Neglecting to Floss," and I run waxed string between my teeth every two hours. Another article about brushing the back of your tongue to do away with bad breath came my way. Now I stand at the sink with a brush halfway to my spleen; I cough, gag, and weep until my roommates rush in to make sure I'm all right. I pray I never read an article on keeping toenails trim. I'd be footless before week's end.

Friday, June 24

Crazy as Hell (2002)

SHOWTIME, 3:40 a.m.

The word insane is abused. My ears hurt when I hear it. You know what's insane? Dressing your neighbor's cat up like the Queen of England and trying to get a blumpkin from her. You know what's NOT insane? (A) How much foam is in your latte; (B) How much liquor you drank this weekend; (C) Deals on new convertibles. Those things are all well within the spectrum of normal human behavior.

Saturday, June 25

Endurance

KNSD, 3:30 p.m.

I rode my bike to Hillcrest from O.B. last week. The best part of the ride was the looks I got from the serious bicyclists in their Technicolor tighty shorts and that rearview mirror attached to their aerodynamic helmets. I could read the cyclists' thoughts as though they were scrolling across the front of their sleek sunglasses in red LED letters, "What is that fat tattooed dummy in the T-shirt and jeans shorts doing all the way up here on that beach cruiser?"

UFO Files

HISTORY CHANNEL, 6:00 p.m.

Since when does this ding-dongery pass for history?

Sunday, June 26

Cops

COURT-TV, 8:00 p.m.

I found a yellow ticket on the windshield of my truck last week. "Parking in a red zone." I was baffled; only my rear bumper was in the red. Instead of trying to fight the ticket I drew flowers, hearts, and sunshine on my check and wrote in large letters, "I LOVE GETTING TICKETS!" On the envelope I drew a pig. I expect the Homeland Security Anti-Terrorism unit to break down my door sometime next week.

Monday, June 27

The O'Reilly Factor

FOX, 8:00 p.m.

I watched this. Here's the entire gist: this guy gets all butt-hurt and yells at people when they disagree with him. As a reflection of politics in America today, this show is a perfect example.

Tuesday, June 28

The Golden Girls

LIFETIME, 6:30 p.m.

If there are any old ladies who read this, let me ask you something. What is that enchanting scent you're wearing? Oof! The other day I was in the grocery store when I was accosted by the swarm of bees that is Eau de Old Lady. The culprit was two aisles away in a purple pants suit with matching dye job. Do they hand that stuff out at the DMV on your 60th birthday or something?

Wednesday, June 29

Beauty and the Geek

KSWB, 8:00 p.m.

One of my favorite pastimes is cataloging everyday items by smell. For instance, the band of my wristwatch smells like my ex-girlfriend, and Scotch tape smells like Christmas. The bottom of my VCR smells like high school.

Thursday, June 30

The Price Is Right

KFMB, 10:00 a.m.

The Smithsonian should seal The Price Is Right

studio in Lucite for the benefit of future generations. In the way that the Empire State Building is the tangible zenith of Art Deco, The Price Is Right

studio is the finest example of fat, glittery, fabulous '70s design and should be preserved.

Austin Powers:

International Man of Mystery (1997)

FAMILY CHANNEL, 8:00 p.m.

Some nights, when the grim truth of life is peeled away for me, I hug my legs, rock back and forth, and through tears I whisper, "Please, God. I wish Mike Myers had never been born. Please, God. Make him go away. Please, God."

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