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Aer Lingus was my new favorite airline. Mostly because its name sounded like a romantic euphemism for something dirty. But, also because my flight from Dublin, Ireland, to Edinburgh, Scotland, cost me only 30 pounds sterling. I'm not sure what that was in Euros, but it was about 66 bucks American when I was over there. Since I hadn't figured out the exchange rates and was drunk most of the time, I had at least that much in loose change cling-a-linging around in my carry-on luggage. I wondered how they could offer flights at such a bargain price, and in my paranoid traveler's mind, I figured they cut maintenance costs on their planes.

"Please, take your seats, we'll be departing shortly," a lilting Irish voice requested over the intercom. The Hyundai-sized seat groaned when I set my Cadillac ass in it. European plane seats are much smaller than American.

I'd traveled around Europe for a couple months, and I never got used to the smaller, flimsier construction of things -- taxi cabs I sat crooked in because of the low roof; narrow doorframes I turned sideways to get through. In Hungary, I popped a tiny faucet -- spigot, knobs, and all -- out of a Lilliputian sink, trying to adjust the hot water.

Squeezed between the aluminum armrests on my Aer Lingus flight, I noticed the itty bitty TV in the back of the seat in front of me. The flight's only an hour, and I checked the pamphlet of scheduled broadcasts and read the lineup of entertainment. Channel 1: The Simpsons . Channel 2: Absolutely Fabulous . Channel 3: The EastEnders .

"Your Captain today is Maureen Kelly. She's assisted by her co-pilot, Moira O'Hare. We'll be taking off directly, please fasten your seatbelts properly," the gorgeous Irish voice sang.

This may disappoint some of you. I know some of my readers are religious people. But, I am not. Like a great many Italian Catholics, my faith had lapsed, and I'd embraced a secular outlook on life.

But when I heard those words: "Your Captain ...SHE...by HER... " I said to myself, "Well, let's give this prayer thing a shot."

My too-large fingertip couldn't push the buttons to change channels on the miniature TV in front of me. For an hour, I sat in a tiny, creaking seat at 30,000 feet over the North Channel, watching Absolutely Fabulous and whispering, "Hail Mary, full of grace..."

What I will and won't watch this week

Thursday, December 28 The View

ABC 10:00 a.m. If I were Renée Zelweger and Donald Trump was Tom Cruise, I would trot across the living room, jump into his arms, and pepper him with kisses while saying, "You had me when you called Rosie O'Donnell fat and ugly. You had me when you called Rosie O'Donnell fat and ugly."

Anderson Cooper 360

CNN 7:00 p.m. After the elections in November, I thought, There's nothing that can stop us now! We're taking the White House in 2008! Then the Democrats announced that their leading candidates are a woman and a black guy. I'm not usually one for sports metaphor, but every athletic cliché I knew came spilling out of my head right then. "What? No! Fumble! It's not time to swing for the fences and try for a grand slam; it's time to lay up, get it out of the sand, and back on the green!"

Friday, December 29 Everybody Loves Raymond

CW 7:30 p.m. Someday I'm going to shoot Ray Romano in the ass with a bb gun. Not enough to hurt him, only enough to be a stinging inconvenience. Much like his career has been to me.

Saturday, December 30 Bob Esponja

XEWT 8:30 a.m. A quick online translation reveals that the literal translation of "Bob Esponja" is "Bob It Puffs Up." Digging around the translation website again, I find that "butt" translates to "extremo." With that, I've found the motivational nickname for my rear-end that's going to get me back in the gym on January 1. "Ollie: Extremo Esponja!" becomes "Ollie: Butt, It Puffs Up!"

Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy

Lifetime 7:00 p.m. Probably the same reason I wore a diamond tennis bracelet to my vasectomy. Although, I gotta tell ya, sister, it wasn't on my wrist!

Sunday, December 31 A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story

Lifetime 7:00 p.m.

The Fantasia Barrino Story:

Life Is Not a Fairy Tale

Lifetime 9:00 p.m. I'm going to start a guy's network, like the anti-Lifetime, so I can have a movie made about me that has a title like these two shows. Anthony Olivieri: The Story of One Fat, Tattooed, Drunkard Tackled to the Floor by a Deaf Hooker in a Bangkok Strip Club . (Based on actual events.)

Monday, January 1 Heroes

NBC 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. A Heroes marathon? Seriously, it's the bus to Dorkville, and I just can't get there fast enough.

Tuesday, January 2 Boxing -- 1975: Ali vs. Wepner

ESPN 7:30 p.m. You know professional fighters choose intimidating nicknames to scare their opponents, like "The Boogeyman" or "Rampage" or "Psycho Killer." I've chosen my fight name based on a real-world occurrence: "Ollie the Greasy Mattress Laying in an Alley, Because, Woof! You Don't Know Where That Thing's Been." A friend of mine has chosen his name using reverse psychology. He's trying to lull his opponents into overconfidence with the moniker, "Edward the Aromatherapist."

Wednesday, January 3 Top Chef

Bravo 8:00 p.m.


TVLand 8:00 p.m. I'd like to mix the show Top Chef with M*A*S*H so I could hear Colonel Potter yell, "Damn it, Klinger, this is a hospital not a fancy restaurant!" and Hawkeye Pierce can quit complaining about the food and get back to making out with the hot lady nurses. Oh, my.

Thursday, January 4 Scrapbooking

HSN 9:00 p.m. In the coming revolution, when the power grid has fallen and global warming threatens to spread the next age of ice, your scrapbooks will come in handy as kindling. Keep scrapbooking my portly middle-aged lovelies. Keep scrapbooking.

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