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Have you ever made an ass of yourself? I mean, somewhere public, involving a loud hissy. Ever done anything like that? I did. I was in a coffee shop in Little Italy last week, getting an ass full of eavesdropped conversation while I waited in line for my cup of love.

"What were those little bears that bounced?" a blonde in a blue oxford and khaki pants asked her circle of friends seated by the window.

"Wait a minute, I know this one," another answered. "Did they really bounce? Are you sure they were bears because Tigger bounced."

"The Gummi Bears," I said to my reflection in the pastry case and moved up one closer to the register. "Duh."

While the coffee girl was fussing with the magical machine that gives me the will to carry on, the group continued to mangle cartoon trivia. "Skullator," one answered. "He was He-Man's enemy." Another asked about crime fighters that wore masks and drove custom assault vehicles and was answered with, "I think those were GoBots."

I was stirring in a touch of cream when I couldn't take it any longer. "Oh, yeah, yeah. He was on the Smurfs," one of them shouted. "His name was Gorgon. He was the cat who tried to eat the Smurfs."

I hung my head and slapped the stir stick against the counter. Feeling that my childhood was somehow assaulted by their misinformation, I put that little cardboard band around my cup and headed for their table. "It's Azrael," I said, probably a little too loud. "Azrael is the cat on the Smurfs. He belonged to Gargamel, the Wizard."

Four heads turned toward my invasion. "And He-Man's enemy was Skeletor, not Skullator. GoBots are like fake Transformers; they're robots that turn into cars!" I was in a tizzy and I was using my "you're all idiots" voice now. "And the guys who wore masks that could shoot things from their masks were called -- and this is an easy one -- MASK! They were the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, with a K -- Kommand."

Whenever you really flip out in public, there's always an awkwardness that can drag on for minutes, or, if you're like me and this sort of thing is common, you can turn and march out anonymously without that uneasy feeling that accompanies an inappropriate outburst.

Yes, sir, now I know that irritating morons can get the blood flowing better than a double shot of caffeine. And knowing is half the battle.

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, September 21

Captain Ron (1992)

TBS 10:00 a.m. Sometimes I think I'd look good in an eye patch. Then my hair stands on end because I've caught myself tempting fate. Please. Please. Please. Whoever's up there listening, please don't blind me in one eye to teach me a lesson.

Celebrity Duets

FOX 9:00 p.m. You can't bedazzle turtle poop.

Friday, September 22

California Connected

PBS 9:00 p.m. I used to like to take a bunch of ketamine and go for a drive. It was a mystery to solve when I ran out of chems and woke up in a gazebo. What town am I in? What day is it? Where is my truck? You know, things to do before you're old enough to drink.

Saturday, September 23

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

WGNSAT 12:00 p.m. The sequel, A Real Nice Bus Driver Who Maybe Drinks Too Much, wasn't as successful, but I think it's the better movie. Richard Gere doing pushups in the rain because he's "got nowhere else to go"? Who believes that tripe? Now, smoking a pack of Kools on the Blue 13A route. That's real life.

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

SPEED 9:00 p.m. When the squirrels revolt and start taking back the earth, I'm getting Emelio, a 50-gallon drum of San Jose biker crank, and a big rig and we're driving to Scotland to dig up Bon Scott. I may pick up John Wayne and a kindly orangutan along the way.

Sunday, September 24

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)

MAX 10:15 p.m. If this were France, I would have that little accent thing over the "e" when I yell, "Lamé! Lamé!" at the screen.

Monday, September 25

Futurama

TOON 10:30 p.m. Let this stand as fair warning to the U.S. scientific community: Unless there's a rocket pack on my doorstep by Tuesday, you can all line up for a hideous Indian burn and the swirly of a lifetime. I came here for two things: dehydrated food pills and to kick some ass. And you nerds haven't invented dehydrated food pills yet.

Tuesday, September 26

The Flavor of Love

VH1 9:00 p.m. If you tilt a bottle of water back and while you're drinking you think, "Hmmm, this water smells like bad breath," brother, it ain't the water!

Wednesday, September 27

Johnson Family Vacation

FX 8:00 p.m. Just when I was about to release my screenplay of Wangs Take Manhattan . Looks like I've got some stiff competition. But, I'll come out on top. You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me.

Thursday, September 28

Naked Science

NGC 108 9:00 p.m. I prefer home improvement in women's lingerie and a rhinestone cape.

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