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The Reader's Eye on Television

i REPRODUCE BY EXPELLING A CLOUD OF SPORES. Through the millions of years of evolution the lizard cortex of my brain recognizes patterns that indicate a situation of possible reproduction. Whenever colors and shapes align in a specific configuration in my field of vision, my spore pod swells and -- poof! -- spawns a cloud. The color and shape configuration has a scientific name: cleavage.

The only way to reverse the puffy process is by thinking about Abe Vigoda removing his dentures and swallowing a kielbasa whole. Sometimes, there's just not enough time to conjure that image. Poof!

Because of this mutation, I have to consider my living arrangements more carefully than does everyone else. The sight of an erect spore pod and the occasional, unintentional airborne seed explosion has made more than a few roommates rethink their housing options.

It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's most embarrassing. In the mornings my head isn't quite clear until I've had my first cup of tea. When I'm standing in the kitchen, daydreaming, waiting for the pot to boil, that is the time when my mind wanders. That's the situation that drove my last roommate out.

"Looks like someone's awake," he commented nervously, pointing out my distended pod.

"Oh, man. Sorry. You know, it's automatic," I stumbled. "Uh, let me just --" was all I got to say before -- poof! The kitchen was covered in a sticky, green powder that smelled like eucalyptus. Two weeks later I was carrying his television down our steps and placing it in the trunk of his Toyota hatchback, and he was handing me his keys to the apartment. He said he'd gotten a job in San Jose, but I knew it was my spontaneous eruption that hampered our relationship.

It happened again last week, and I'm afraid my new roommates are going to leave. It wasn't my fault. I was sitting on the couch trying to decide what program to watch. I stopped in momentarily at Telemundo to catch a glimpse of a crazy Mexican show. To my surprise a host of dancing bikini models paraded onto the screen. I jumped up, ran toward my bedroom, but mentally I only got to the part where Abe says, "Hey, sailor, you like my boots?" when -- poof! -- the hallway took on a new coat of mint-green shellac.

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, March 24

Local 8 News

CBS 8, 7:00 a.m.

For the past six months I've driven without a license. Every day. Before I drive I compile as much data on driving conditions as possible. On a map I plot my previous sightings of police cars combined with traffic conditions. I have to rely on traffic reports from news stations, and it's not uncommon to see me standing in my front room yelling at the TV. "Sig-Alert! What the hell is a Sig-Alert? Speak English!"

Howard Stern

E! ENTERTAINMENT TV, 11:00 p.m.

Last time I watched this, Stern had one of his flying-monkey minions spray a naked Penthouse model down with cooking spray. The oil made a beaded slick tan on the woman's chest and butt. It was a very erotic act but would've been more exciting if I could've stopped wondering if Pam Cooking Spray would add this to the list of uses on the side of the can.

Friday, March 25

VH1 Goes Inside

VH1, 11:30 p.m.

VH1 is a gross joke. I watched their 20 Moments that Rocked TV, and it was vanilla in a plain white bowl. Rocking used to mean pulling your balls out on stage, throwing a TV out a hotel window, and having your noggin split open by a flying beer bottle. VH1's 20 Moments that Rocked TV included Kelly Clarkson winning American Idol, Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You, Babe," and Bill Clinton playing sax on The Arsenio Hall Show. Whizbang! I've got chunky Christmas sweaters that rock harder than that.

Saturday, March 26

To Be Announced

CBS 8, 8:00 p.m.

"To Be Announced." That's perfect. I won't be watching TV that night. There's a race of genetic super pigs. I'm not making that up. The pigs are bred and cared for to produce tender, juicy meat on par with Kobe beef. It's billed as "astonishing ham" in the brochure. My friends and I ordered one through the mail, and we're cooking it this Saturday. In our inner circle, the party has come to be known as, "The Night of the Uber Pig." There's no way TV can compete with that.

Sunday, March 27

House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute (2000)

WB 5, 3:00 p.m.

Kid 'N Play wouldn't even touch this stinker. The threat of eternally being tied to House Party 4 must've outweighed the money. I think I saw the main characters sweeping up the Laundromat across the street from my house yesterday. Good enough for WB.

Monday, March 28

Cops

FOX 6, 4:30 p.m.

My grandmother loves Cops. When I was a teenager I was arrested for fighting in a parking lot. For some reason there was a camera crew there, recording me getting cuffed and stuffed into the back of a squad car. I couldn't wave, so I just smiled and mouthed the words, "Hi, Gram." Unfortunately, it was only a training video or something that they kept internal to that precinct instead of broadcasting my antics on cable.

Henry's Film Corner

IFC Monday, 8:30 p.m.

At CollegeClub.com we used to review movies for money. We wrote glowing articles for movies like The Animal and Real Cancun. It was then that I started noticing the reviews in magazines like Maxim, realizing they were just ads. (Really? Club Dread was the best movie of last year?) Say what you like about Henry Rollins, but at least he's not pushing crap for cash.

Tuesday, March 29

Gastineau Girls

ETV 29, 6:00 p.m.

If you like to watch the downward spiral of the bourgeoisie, this program's for you. The daughter is a pampered bitch who can barely tie her own shoes, and the mother swings her champagne glass around while yelling, "I was a model!" every six seconds. Thanks for reminding us, honey. When the money from this TV show runs out, I'll let you scrub my bathtub.

Scrubs

NBC 7, 8:30 p.m.

David and Barb recently attended an art opening in L.A. to display David's photographs. For weeks they invited me to join them. "Go up with us, it'll be fun," they said. "No, I hate L.A." I maintained. Who shows up to the gallery? None other than Zach Braff. I may have missed my only chance to shake hands with the man who had the audacity to write, produce, and direct a movie in which he made out with Natalie Portman.

Wednesday, March 30 Oprah Winfrey

ABC 10, 4:00 p.m.

My friend Kip's favorite joke is to wait until a line has formed (his audience) at the grocery-store checkout stand, grab an Oprah magazine, and proclaim loudly, "Honey, look who's on the cover!" He does it every month. He never tires of it. His wife Renee can only feign ignorance of their acquaintance.

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i REPRODUCE BY EXPELLING A CLOUD OF SPORES. Through the millions of years of evolution the lizard cortex of my brain recognizes patterns that indicate a situation of possible reproduction. Whenever colors and shapes align in a specific configuration in my field of vision, my spore pod swells and -- poof! -- spawns a cloud. The color and shape configuration has a scientific name: cleavage.

The only way to reverse the puffy process is by thinking about Abe Vigoda removing his dentures and swallowing a kielbasa whole. Sometimes, there's just not enough time to conjure that image. Poof!

Because of this mutation, I have to consider my living arrangements more carefully than does everyone else. The sight of an erect spore pod and the occasional, unintentional airborne seed explosion has made more than a few roommates rethink their housing options.

It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's most embarrassing. In the mornings my head isn't quite clear until I've had my first cup of tea. When I'm standing in the kitchen, daydreaming, waiting for the pot to boil, that is the time when my mind wanders. That's the situation that drove my last roommate out.

"Looks like someone's awake," he commented nervously, pointing out my distended pod.

"Oh, man. Sorry. You know, it's automatic," I stumbled. "Uh, let me just --" was all I got to say before -- poof! The kitchen was covered in a sticky, green powder that smelled like eucalyptus. Two weeks later I was carrying his television down our steps and placing it in the trunk of his Toyota hatchback, and he was handing me his keys to the apartment. He said he'd gotten a job in San Jose, but I knew it was my spontaneous eruption that hampered our relationship.

It happened again last week, and I'm afraid my new roommates are going to leave. It wasn't my fault. I was sitting on the couch trying to decide what program to watch. I stopped in momentarily at Telemundo to catch a glimpse of a crazy Mexican show. To my surprise a host of dancing bikini models paraded onto the screen. I jumped up, ran toward my bedroom, but mentally I only got to the part where Abe says, "Hey, sailor, you like my boots?" when -- poof! -- the hallway took on a new coat of mint-green shellac.

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, March 24

Local 8 News

CBS 8, 7:00 a.m.

For the past six months I've driven without a license. Every day. Before I drive I compile as much data on driving conditions as possible. On a map I plot my previous sightings of police cars combined with traffic conditions. I have to rely on traffic reports from news stations, and it's not uncommon to see me standing in my front room yelling at the TV. "Sig-Alert! What the hell is a Sig-Alert? Speak English!"

Howard Stern

E! ENTERTAINMENT TV, 11:00 p.m.

Last time I watched this, Stern had one of his flying-monkey minions spray a naked Penthouse model down with cooking spray. The oil made a beaded slick tan on the woman's chest and butt. It was a very erotic act but would've been more exciting if I could've stopped wondering if Pam Cooking Spray would add this to the list of uses on the side of the can.

Friday, March 25

VH1 Goes Inside

VH1, 11:30 p.m.

VH1 is a gross joke. I watched their 20 Moments that Rocked TV, and it was vanilla in a plain white bowl. Rocking used to mean pulling your balls out on stage, throwing a TV out a hotel window, and having your noggin split open by a flying beer bottle. VH1's 20 Moments that Rocked TV included Kelly Clarkson winning American Idol, Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You, Babe," and Bill Clinton playing sax on The Arsenio Hall Show. Whizbang! I've got chunky Christmas sweaters that rock harder than that.

Saturday, March 26

To Be Announced

CBS 8, 8:00 p.m.

"To Be Announced." That's perfect. I won't be watching TV that night. There's a race of genetic super pigs. I'm not making that up. The pigs are bred and cared for to produce tender, juicy meat on par with Kobe beef. It's billed as "astonishing ham" in the brochure. My friends and I ordered one through the mail, and we're cooking it this Saturday. In our inner circle, the party has come to be known as, "The Night of the Uber Pig." There's no way TV can compete with that.

Sunday, March 27

House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute (2000)

WB 5, 3:00 p.m.

Kid 'N Play wouldn't even touch this stinker. The threat of eternally being tied to House Party 4 must've outweighed the money. I think I saw the main characters sweeping up the Laundromat across the street from my house yesterday. Good enough for WB.

Monday, March 28

Cops

FOX 6, 4:30 p.m.

My grandmother loves Cops. When I was a teenager I was arrested for fighting in a parking lot. For some reason there was a camera crew there, recording me getting cuffed and stuffed into the back of a squad car. I couldn't wave, so I just smiled and mouthed the words, "Hi, Gram." Unfortunately, it was only a training video or something that they kept internal to that precinct instead of broadcasting my antics on cable.

Henry's Film Corner

IFC Monday, 8:30 p.m.

At CollegeClub.com we used to review movies for money. We wrote glowing articles for movies like The Animal and Real Cancun. It was then that I started noticing the reviews in magazines like Maxim, realizing they were just ads. (Really? Club Dread was the best movie of last year?) Say what you like about Henry Rollins, but at least he's not pushing crap for cash.

Tuesday, March 29

Gastineau Girls

ETV 29, 6:00 p.m.

If you like to watch the downward spiral of the bourgeoisie, this program's for you. The daughter is a pampered bitch who can barely tie her own shoes, and the mother swings her champagne glass around while yelling, "I was a model!" every six seconds. Thanks for reminding us, honey. When the money from this TV show runs out, I'll let you scrub my bathtub.

Scrubs

NBC 7, 8:30 p.m.

David and Barb recently attended an art opening in L.A. to display David's photographs. For weeks they invited me to join them. "Go up with us, it'll be fun," they said. "No, I hate L.A." I maintained. Who shows up to the gallery? None other than Zach Braff. I may have missed my only chance to shake hands with the man who had the audacity to write, produce, and direct a movie in which he made out with Natalie Portman.

Wednesday, March 30 Oprah Winfrey

ABC 10, 4:00 p.m.

My friend Kip's favorite joke is to wait until a line has formed (his audience) at the grocery-store checkout stand, grab an Oprah magazine, and proclaim loudly, "Honey, look who's on the cover!" He does it every month. He never tires of it. His wife Renee can only feign ignorance of their acquaintance.

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