Monday, September 29, 2008


Ever since I found GraphJam, I've been fascinated with how life can be quantified.

You might remember how this was shown (to nice effect) in the under-appreciated Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction.


(And yes, I know that I have been relying on videos and random stuff lately. I'll begin delving back into the fascinating thing that is my daily grind very soon . . . I think.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RSS explained

No one asked, but I am compelled to pass along this video explaining Real Simple Syndication feeds, usually known as RSS feeds.

I use RSS feeds every day. I keep up with almost every blog and website that I read on a regular basis via a subscription to that site's RSS feed. I offer my own RSS feed for Why Won't You Grow?! and encourage everyone to think about using it. (You can access the feed via the link in the sidebar to the right, under the helpful heading Why Won't You RSS?!

(Incidentally, I found this video while I was investigating Twitter. Do any of you have any opinions on Twitter? It seems that this is the hot new thing and I'm always interested in jumping on the bandwagon of the hot new thing. If you have opinions or thoughts on it, please let me know.)

Enjoy the video. The very clever (and stylish) people at put it together for you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear John McCain

Shut up.

I can't understand why you think it is a better idea to suspend your campaign (when said suspension will generate free, media-driven discussion of your campaign) to go back to Washington and solve the economic crisis.

Do you not realize that in approximately 100 days the Current Administration, and a portion of the Congress will be out of a job? Do you not realize that you might be the person who is then required to lead the actual implementation of whatever solution comes out of Washington to address the economy?

Don't you think it might be a better, far more relevant use of your time to attend tomorrow night's debate and clearly describe to the American voters how you would be a leader in this time and what your opinions and plans are for addressing this fundamental failure of the Free Market economy that Your Party favors?

Candidate Obama is correct here. The debates should continue. Very fast jets are available to get you across the country if critical votes are required.

Stop grandstanding and start living up to your required task as presidential candidate.

(Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find out what happened to David Blaine last night.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall TV summary

So, let's go back for a minute and assess what has been said about the Fall TV season that is currently rolling out.

I am not overwhelmed by too many of the new shows, but I tend to focus my attention towards specific genres. Reality shows aren't going to sway me very strongly and I instead focus on spy shows, bizarre sciences, and Abrams/Whedon projects. I am (in short) a myopic fan boy who isn't terribly interested in sampling many new flavors. (Sorry.) You may therefore set aside any recommendations and opinions I have.

Here's how I'll try to schedule my own TV watching on a weekly basis. 

Monday: I'll tape Chuck @ 8 and try to make sure the kids are in bed so I can watch HIMYM live @ 8:30.  When that is over, I'll watch Heroes @ 9. I'll probably give My Own Worst Enemy a try, but it might not last. If it flames out after a few weeks, then I'll use that 10 pm time slot to rewind the tape and watch the 8 pm episode of Chuck before I go to bed. It looks like Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles is going to get missed out. Sorry, Fox . . . I'll make it up to you on Tuesday. NBC gets the bulk of my attention on this night.

Tuesday: If I could record two shows at once, then I guess I could use some of the vacancies on this night to watch T:TSCC. As it is, the only show I am currently going to make an effort for on this night is Fringe @ 9. (See, Fox, I said I'd do right by you. And I also promise that I'll pay even more attention to you when Dollhouse premieres in the winter.

Wednesday: ABC gets it's first look midweek at 8 pm when Pushing Daisies arrives in October. But, as with everything that begins at 8 pm, I'll have to tape it because I'm always busy getting the kids to bed. Luckily, I'm not going to worry about the Knight Rider show that competes with it at that time over on NBC. Even better . . . there is nothing else that I am worrying about watching on this night.

Thursday: When 2009 arrives, this is to be renamed LOST Night, but until then, I'll be recording and devoting a bit of my time to Smallville (8 pm)--as pathetic as I know that is. My love of LOST likely means that I'll continue to pay less attention to The Office and 30Rock. I know, I know . . . they are quality shows that deserve better. 

Friday/Saturday: I am unable to find anything worth watching on these nights. And the kids always watch a movie Friday night anyway. So, I'll give my eyes a break and read instead.

Sunday: If I watch anything on a regular basis on Sundays it'll be The Simpsons. I'll probably also watch some of whatever football game in on that night but just a quick check here and there. Given all the other TV I'll be watching on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I might be doing office work that night anyway.

I've got to earn money for the cable company somehow. . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Closets & Doors

Sarah has been updating some of her room decorations, removing old pictures and putting up new ones. 

I noticed two new items posted on the door to her room.

This sign, in case you can't read it, says: "KEEP OUT!!! Sarah might be sick, sad, mad, tired, or sleeping. So you must NOT disterbe her if her door is closed. Knock and say yoor name and she will say If you can come in. Otherwise . . . STAY OUT!!!"

Fairly clear.

The other sign--

says: "RULES--There will be no Screaming, yelling, kicking, punching, hitting, running, disturbing, jumping on the bed, and no TOUCHING EACH OTHER!!!!! Otherwise have as much fun as you can!"

I have no adequate response to that.


In other news, I feel the need to apologize that I haven't blogged more. I know that I sometimes do this apology thing about not being committed enough and blah, blah. But it has dawned on me that the sheet number of things that I have set up as bloggable material make it very difficult for me to NOT blog on a fairly non-stop basis.

For example, if you have set up rules (as I have) that even your items of clothing are fair game for blog subject matter, then every day should be something new to discuss.

To that end, I offer this bit of clothing-related musings.

Is it freakish that I have organized my area of the closet in this way? Please someone tell me that I am not alone in this?! Though I will admit that my newest clothing idea might be a bit bizarre. You see, I am experimenting with the notion of rotating through my collared shirts from left to right. I wear a shirt and it gets dirty. But after it is washed, I hang it up on the extreme right end of the group. I pull my next collared shirt from the left side and so on. Therefore I avoid wearing the same shirt too frequently and maintain a consistent rotation of usage. I can, of course, make weather/temperature-related allowances and much make sure that I don't cluster together two shirts that are the same style but different color.



Finally tonight, an essay about being an editor and a writer by Mr. Brian Doyle. I am neither an editor nor a writer in the ways that Mr. Doyle describes, but his work is within the same solar system as mine . . . I think. I pass it along as a professional courtesy and hope you can enjoy its word play. (h/t to Cheryl Klein's Brooklyn Arden blog)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Mighty Wind

(Yes, it was an obvious and easy joke. This is the last time I'll apologize for it.)

For all my local readers--which pretty much means all my readers--this isn't news, but we had one helluva wind storm here in middle Ohio yesterday evening. It was, as I have been told, remnants of Hurricane Ike passing wind across the country like any uncaring septuagenarian. We all felt the force of that wind and we all found it ill.

The lame joke portion of the post now completed, I--like others--will recount my experiences with the storm.

I was outside with Hannah in the mid-afternoon. I pushed her on the backyard swingset for a while, enjoying the neatness and orderly appearance of a freshly-mown yard. The backyard does look vastly improved since the patio is completed, the tired old plant beds have been professionally shaped, mulched, and generally spruced up with new plants and new ideas. AND Lynda worked very hard last weekend to clean up some of the wrecked ground from the patio construction--tilling and turning soil, removing LOTS of rocks, putting down new grass seed. The seedlings are now shooting through the earth after days of diligent watering and what was once crusty dirt is showing a fuzz of future green.

Good times all around.

So, I was enjoying this sight, pushing Hannah on the swingset and generally relaxing. Then I decided to take H. up to the "tower" portion of the swingset. We sat up there and Hannah enjoyed feeling the rougher texture of the wooden planks and attempting to eat leaves. I just enjoyed being outside. True, the wind was blowing strongly, but I didn't think anything of it. The Midwest has always seemed to me to be very windy--compared to the much stiller wind patterns of the deeper South.

Eventually we went back inside and I started thinking about what to make everyone for dinner. I settled on a menu and began chopping potatoes and boiling water for corn. Heck, I even made a sour cream/dill dipping sauce for the chicken tenders that I was baking in the oven. By now it was clear that the strongly whipping wind tossing the trees about outside was more robust than the normal weather pattern. I checked the TV and saw that, sure enough, there was a severe wind advisory warning for the next five hours. Okay, then, strong winds.

The dramatic angle of the trees made me reconsider my nonchalance. I began to fear for the integrity of our roof, the trees, and especially the small trunks of two trees in the backyard--one of which was newly planted. Luckily, both trees were wired to sturdy stakes and bent without breaking. The same could not be said for the taller trees in the yard who were viciously tossed to and fro by extremely strong gusts. I could see limbs down in our yard and neighbors behind us gathering up things past the fence. I decided to put our sun umbrella in the garage and to pull in the flag on the front porch. If the wind pulled them into the air, they would have made pretty damaging spear-like projectiles.

The power conked out for the first time half way through the chicken baking. Residual heat trapped inside the oven and the uniform thinness of the tenders made them perfectly edible once I got the potatoes (previously roasted) on the table with boiled corn on the cob. We ate in the evening twilight coming through the large windows. The power came back on and then off again twenty minutes later. On and then off; on and then off. It was never a long wait in between and we all had plenty of time to get the kids fed and upstairs to shower and bathe.

The only really concerning part of the ordeal for us was a banging noise that I identified as the uppermost gutter on the front of the house. The long nail-like fasteners were already a bit loose and the gusting winds had slowly pulled them further and further away from the eaves of the roof. Consequently, that gutter--which ran along the front face of the house just above three of the four bedrooms--was slapping around with each new gust. During one quick foray outside, I could see that the entirety of the gutter's long middle was loose and the whole trough was only being supported by the downspouts on either end. I was afraid that if either spout lost its grip, the long gutter might swing wildly in the wind and damage the roof or one of the windows or something. But it held together--we were lucky yet again. This morning it sagged above the house like some kind of drunken grin, but it stayed up.

In the end, we kept our power on. Our roof was fine. We had only minor limbs falling in most places. A significant limb broke off of a half-dead tree on the edge of my property beside the garage, but it just hung down without hitting the house in any way. When I got home from work today, I pulled it down easily and sawed it down into manageable pieces with my hand saw. But the tree itself is (and has been for a while) a useless, unattractive half-dead thing that resembles a broken wishbone. This storm damage will finally give me the reason I need to ask my neighbor to wield his chainsaw at it. (No, I'm not likely to use the chainsaw myself.)

The kids were out of school today due to the widespread power outages across the city. Luckily (again!) the daycare was up and running, so Lynda and I went to work as (mostly) normal. After hearing many tales of ripped up roofs and prospects of days without power, I am very thankful for the very minor inconveniences that my family has faced. And I consider that if I hadn't decided in May to cut down the large, dying tree that sat right in front of our house, I might have a very different story to tell today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace: 1962-2008

I complete my CBS post and do a bit of web searching. I'm stunned to find out that David Foster Wallace took his own life a few days ago.

I really admired DFW's writing style--as bizarre and confused as it sometimes was. I borrowed Jack Thunder's copy of Infinite Jest around seven years ago and read it through after several months (probably?) of confusion and perseverance. Lately I've been meaning to reread IJ but I couldn't find a copy of it at Half-Priced Books the last time I looked. I did pick up (what turned out to be) his final work, Oblivion, only to discover that I had read it before--probably a loaner from the library.

However, I am a proud owner of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, my favorite collection of DFW essays and magazine pieces. I've read and reread it several times and am very confident that I will do so again many times more.

I ran into DFW and his sort of literary step-twin, David Eggers in the early 2000s. I have a fondness for both of these men, not just because we all share an excellent first name, but because they helped interest me again in the pleasures of reading. I was stepping away from my academic past at OSU and committing myself to life at my current job. I hadn't done much reading that didn't involve academic school work in many years. So, Wallace and Eggers reminded me of the varied world of fiction. 

And what fiction it was. Both of these men spun tails of truth, human observation, surreal prose, and footnotes! They seemed inventive and wildly creative. Along with Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, I was excited by the possibilities of reading fiction again. 

I am saddened that Wallace won't be writing anymore. He had a unique gift. I'll try to enjoy that gift again when I reread his works.

CBS Fall TV Preview

So, it was a rocky start when I started this post.

But, I'm here to finish up the Fall TV preview posts on the major networks. The last one to go is CBS.

I've already completed NBC,

and Fox.


Monday: CBS Monday is filled with lots of sitcoms. It's kind of like their version of NBC's Must See TV "back in the day." But, I've always sort of thought it was kind of like the Red State's version of Must See TV. I suppose I can blame Everybody Loves Raymond for that, but mostly I can blame my own prejudices for that. I'll give you a bit of lowdown on the shows and you can decide for yourself.

The Big Bang Theory [9/22 @ 8 pm] is in its second season. How can a show featuring two nerdy roommates who pine after the hot girl across the hall appeal to Red Staters? The answer is, most likely, not at all. So, my GOP Must See TV is already looking stupid. Want to guess how valid it will continue to be? Following that show is one of my personal favorites--and most likely the only show on CBS that I watch now that I've slid away from CSI--How I Met Your Mother [9/22 @ 8:30 pm]. I fell in love with this show last summer and caught up with seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix. While I thought Season 3 didn't measure up with the first two years, it was still quite good--especially the over-the-top craziness of Barney Stinson (played by Neal Patrick Harris before he completely won me over with this summer's Dr. Horrible's Sing Along-Blog.) Please watch HIMYM!

After that, CBS provides Two and a Half Men [9/22 @ pm]. While this show may have inherited from Everybody Loves Raymond the mantle of signature sitcom on the network, I don't like the show and have no interest in spending a lot of time discussing it. I do wonder how Charlie Sheen likes performing that very weird grimace smile that is featured on the website graphic. That must hurt don't you think. But in general, my opinion of the show can be summed up in four and a half words: "It's a piece of sh--"

If you don't like Men, you could wait around for a new show called Worst Week [9/22 @ 9:30 pm]. The description of the show--main character magazine editor who is a bumbler around his girlfriend's family will do whatever it takes to please them--sounds like someone at CBS started jotting notes while watching his Netflix copy of Meet the Parents. But, I'm sure it'll be great!

And then there is CSI: Miami [9/22 @ 10 pm]. I'm just surprised that David Caruso hasn't poked himself in the eye from taking the sunglasses off and on while telling jokes.


On this night, CBS keeps it simple. There are only three, hour-long dramas to keep up with. But I will keep it even simpler than that. I'm only going to focus on one of those shows. NCIS [previously debuted, 8 pm] keeps the focus on Mark Harmon's procedural drama that is two parts JAG and one part CSI. Without a Trace [9/23 @ 10 pm] is now in its fourth, fifth, ??th season. If you simply can't stand to watch yet another minute of missing persons drama on the nightly cable news networks, this missing persons fictional drama might make it all more palatable. But I want to talk about the NEW Tuesday night show, entitled The Mentalist [9/23 @ 9 pm]. This show is probably not nearly as awesome as the name might promise it to be, but it sounds like a pretty awesome name, doesn't it? Can you imagine what this show might have been if it was written by Michael Chabon and presented itself like The Prestige? Unfortunately, a show that incredible would never get made for a primetime slot on CBS Tuesday night. Instead, the show comes off as a modern day knock off of Sherlock Holmes. But all procedural cop shows on TV--and CBS has LOTS of them--feature one or two detectives that have amazing observational skills. I fear the name is the best thing this show has going for it.


Are you tired of the procedural cop dramas on CBS? Well, neither are they! If you weren't paying attention, it's only the middle of the week and we've already seen CSI: Miami, NCIS, The Mentalist (ooooohh!), and Without a Trace. You might think that is overkill. You might think CBS is in a bit of a rut. Well, you know who else is in a rut? Old people . . . which provides a flimsy segue to The New Adventures of Old Christine [9/24 @ 9:30 pm]. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss has shaken off the Seinfeld Curse and found a successful (Emmy winning!) show on the Tiffany Network. Good for her. Is the show good? Maybe a little . . . but it can't be worse that anything Jason Alexander or Michael Richards tried.

Gary Unmarried [9/24 @ 8:30 pm] wins points for having a catchy title that rolls off the tongue. However, it is describes as follows: "Gary (Jay Mohr) is a recently single contractor with a controlling ex-wife." Uh oh! Single, moderately good looking guy with shrewish ex. That sounds . . . conventional. I hope they have a smart-alecky kid!

Having successfully filled an hour of a prime time schedule without a cop drama, CBS rewards itself with a two hour block featuring Criminal Minds [9/24 @ 9 pm] and CSI: New York.
[9/24 @ 10 pm]


Speaking of things people don't seem to get tired of . . . Survivor [9/25 @ 8 pm] is in Gabon this cycle. I lost real interest in the show after season two in Australia with Colby and what's her name who won the $1,000,000. You see . . . that's the problem. Nobody remembers who won except for season 1's Richard (and a lot of that is because he walked around naked a lot). Cultural moment . . . OVER!

This season of CSI:TOS [10/9 @ 9 pm] is notable for it being Gil Grissom's (original lead star/now producer and general BMOS(et) William Peterson) final season. And then there is new show Eleventh Hour [10/9 @ 10 pm], where star character "Jacob Hood will stop at nothing to make sure that scientific advances will be used for good and not for evil." THANK YOU Mr. Hood! Finally! Someone who can tell all those destructively objective scientists to stop and THINK about consequences for a change!


Ghost Whisperer [already debuted; 8 pm] is still hanging out on Friday night's here and Jennifer Love Hewitt still has a weird overly haired, skeletal look about her. What isn't the same on this night is The Ex List [10/3 @ 9 pm].  The CBS website that I gave you a link to lists a description of the show as: "What if you learned you had already met your soul mate? When a bachelorette-party psychic reveals to Bella Bloom that she has already met the true love of her life, she goes on a quest to find this mystery man from her past. With a limited time to locate him, Bella puts her normal skepticism aside and, with the help of her friends, lists all the males she has dated, befriended or even briefly encountered in her lifetime. It’s an illuminating and sometimes humiliating search, but Bella knows it might be her only chance to find “the one.”" This sounds like a slightly interesting premise that is a combination of HIMYM and My Name is Earl. But those are good shows, so maybe this might be a quality program. Unfortunately, since it is on Friday night at 9 pm, the chance of anyone watching it is pretty slim. Finally, Numb3rs [10/3 @ 10 pm] rounds out the night.

Weekend: CBS Saturday night is news magazines (48 Hours Mysteries) and Crimetime Saturday--which is a fancy way of saying they are going to rerun all those procedural cop dramas that you might have watched Monday through Friday. And then on Sunday (after football) you've got 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race [9/28 @ 8 pm], Cold Case, and The Unit.

So, there you have it. 

All major networks have been covered. I'll find a better way to do it next year, I promise.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


(This first part is influenced by my first few pages of reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

What might cause people/nations/worlds to change their calendric system? Probably a cataclysm of some kind. A date upon which to base all past and future dates. Perhaps we might have done that with the first "Date which will Live in Infamy?" But we didn't. And now we've gone through (at least) one more since then, but we didn't change then either. So, I guess we won't. But if we did, it would make keeping accurate records and descriptions of historical events harder to describe and keep track of. Of course, if you are going through the trouble of setting your entire world view around a single date, then everything else gets skewed and complicated anyway, right? (And yes, some of you might be thinking that this also applies to religious beliefs as well and I won't deny that the logic is the same.

But, yes, another anniversary came and went a few days ago. The day before I almost made a snarky comment about the appropriate colors to wear on that date would be Red, White, Black, and Blue. But I didn't say it out loud and I have come to be glad that I did not. I admit that part of my snarky reaction is based on my biased opinions about the POTUS, but that should not extend to the normal people that have every right to note this date with reverence, honor, and sadness.

Perhaps part of it the overlarge flag that is draped over the building during this Week of Remembrance. At least I don't work on that side of the office anymore, therefore hearing the WHAP, WHAP of the metal grommets and rope that hold the overlarge flag in place. At least my sunlight does not have a patriotic hue as it comes in through the windows on my (non-public) side of the corporate workplace.

But anyway, on That Date, I got to work early in the morning (since it was my week to leave early for the school pickup). The out-of-order traffic light above Polaris Pkwy. should have given me a clue, but I was surprised to discover that power was out in the office That Day. Not many people had yet arrived, but I climbed the stairs to the fourth floor (exercise . . . NOT elevator avoidance) and set my stuff down. I knew I had Page Proofs to review, so I didn't worry about my non-functional computer and gathered up my chapters, my red pen, and my iPod full of podcasts. I sat down on the buildings northwesterly corner and used the morning sunlight to illuminate my tasks. As I went through my chapters, people began arriving around me, but they generally left me alone. As I worked I heard an intercom announcement that the power was projected to return in another hour or so. Workers were authorized to leave the building for coffee and breakfast elsewhere in the meantime.

I finished my work and found a few friends who wanted to walk to the neighboring Starbucks for the morning coffee. We left the building, crossed the parking lot and decided our route would be through the empty parking area of the now-empty music amphitheater. We had to cross the feeder road, walk along a small overpass, and walked down the slight defile to the parking. Unaccustomary as this type of pedestrian activity is to us, it felt a bit odd. Naturally, I chose to make some appropriately purile jokes to Shirtless about Armageddon, Apocalypse, and zombie attack as we walked. (I even picked up a four-foot-long wooden marker stake left over from some construction project as our roving bands only "weapon.")

I was joking of course, but there was a small part of me that mentally connected the power outage to the previous events of That Day. Remember how for a few weeks after Then we looked a bit more carefully when planes flew overhead? So, yeah, a bit of my brain went There and Did That.

In the end, we didn't make it to Starbucks. We met another band of rovers coming toward us from that direction. Their reconnaissance was that Starbucks was powerless as well. Presumably the be-aproned Baristas were told to defend their milk frothers to the death.

So, we turned around and our band of travelers split up. I went back inside and climbed up the stairs to my cubicle in the sky. Others got in their cars and drove to a nearby restaurant for coffee. When I got back in the building I saw that lights were on and so I got upstairs, plugged in my laptop and switched everything one. Probably everyone who was in the building at that time also decided to activate at that time because five minutes after I started everything, the power went out again. This time the blackout only lasted for about ten minutes and then the rest of the workday was normal.

But, this wasn't a normal day. Or at least it had not once been normal. I stopped worrying about the possible dangers hidden in that mornings disruptions and went about my day, but later that night, when I got home and got the kids to bed I switched on the History Channel and saw that they were playing 102 Minutes That Changed America. I normally don't sit down and watch  these things. I have not seen United 93 or World Trade Center. But I sat and watched. And it made me feel regret for the snarky comment almost said the previous day or the zombie jokes that morning. I was reminded of the simple human dramas that took place That Day as well as the confusion and terror that occurred. 


In other less serious news, several of us had our annual eye exams today. It was confirmed that my right eye cataract had significantly worsened during the past year. According to the optometrist, even with prescription correction, I can't get my right eye vision better than 20/200. So, it isn't very good. The doctor had said last year that he would stick with manual adjustments for as long as possible, but things got so bad since last year that he is willing to go right surgery now. And I am fine with that since I pretty much avoid driving at night right now. If it is raining, it is very difficult to distinguish the streetlights from the headlights and everything has a halo. Adding in the reflections from any rain soaked asphalt just makes everything treacherous.

So, I expect the surgery to occur sometime within the next month or so. Of course, I'll fill everyone in as the time draws closer.


Finally, here is a bit of levity, courtesy of Hannah. Thanks for breaking the mood!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CBS Fall TV Postponement

Well, my first week into my own personal Fall TV preview has not gone as smoothly as I had wished. I did manage to see the 2nd season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles last night and it seems not significantly different than last year's truncated season one. I think what I dislike most about the show (and I do like some things about it) is that is seems to devolve each week into set pieces of mayhem and violence where murderous robots smash up interior decorations, then go outside and smash up cars, and in the end everyone is all scarred up and bloody. Week after week of this type of things is pretty depressing. (But then, everything about the Terminator storyline--destructive future, no hope, rampant chaos--is depressing.)

So, I watched that.

Tonight I was going to watch Fox's new show Fringe. It was going to begin at 8 pm and I did manage to carve out the time to set the VCR programming to catch the episode--or so I thought. But I guess I didn't have time to double check things because I was quite busy most of the day. All of the family had been battling sicknesses and vomiting all weekend and most of us stayed home from work/school/daycare  yesterday to recuperate. So, today I went to work and was promptly called this morning to find out that Hannah was still spitting up. So, I swapped with Lynda at lunchtime and missed most chances to do any real work--though I did do a bit. But soon enough I did have to get Sarah and Grace from school and then I was overseeing four kids (my three plus the next-door-neighbor) and starting dinner plans. And then Lynda got home, but we found out that Sarah had forgotten her math book at school. So, she called our back-door neighbor (who's in Sarah's class) to see if we could borrow the book to complete the homework. Somehow this evolved into S. coming over to DO the aforementioned homework with Sarah and that became also eating dinner with us and pretty soon I had a semi-full-fledged playdate on my hands. (Remember that this is a WEEKnight.) And Lynda was soon to leave to attend the school curriculum night. So, I was AGAIN overseeing four kids after dinner--my three plus the back-door-neighbor. The homework took a long time to complete because Sarah and S. were giggling more than working, but I tried to get Hannah and Grace's baths completed in the meantime. AND Sarah had other homework to do after she was all done with math, and she wanted to show S. her room, and on and on and on.

Finally Order and the Usual Nightly Routine were semi-established. Hannah was asleep, Grace fell asleep, Sarah finished all of her work, Lynda returned, and I could go downstairs to watch the taped premiere of Fringe while drafting the CBS Fall TV preview.

But, wait! The VCR isn't working! Nothing is taping! Disaster! Cursing! Wailing! Misery!! (I'll have to wait until the premiere rebroadcast this Sunday night . . . but it's still a bummer.)

And now I'm tired and my eyes feel scratchy.

Sorry CBS, but you'll have to wait for one more night.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Political Pause

I am going to take a brief break from the TV Preview posts to relate a brief observational interlude that I had the other night.

Thursday was Grace's first day of Kindergarten. She has been very excited about the day for many, many weeks now and was counting down each day with fervor. That morning she was very proud to be riding in the van and walking through the doors at the elementary school rather than riding with Hannah to the daycare. It helped that she had Sarah to lead her to her classroom, but she didn't look back to me as she exited the van and never hesitated on her long journey to adult independence.

But, as nice as that was, this story isn't entirely about Grace--though Grace is the reason for the story.

You see, we decided to celebrate Grace's milestone by going out to dinner that night. And if we're going out to dinner, that usually means Bob Evans. (It didn't hurt that we had Kids Meal coupons from our recent visits to the Zoo.) Unfortunately, I experienced some marginal table service while we were there, but that contributed to the story as much as Grace's Kindergarten initiation.

While I waited for my fish sandwich to be correctly plated, I began to listen to a group of six people that were sitting directly behind me. I had not paid any attention to them when they entered the restaurant, but lacking any food to eat, I began to eavesdrop on their discussion.

What first caught my attention was their drink orders. One person asked for water, ice, and no lemon. No big deal. But the next person asked for water, no lemon, and no ice. The third person asked for iced tea and all the lemon the other two had not wanted. I don't mention all this to say that they were being difficult or anything. I just began to think that there were likely to be disappointed in their drink accuracy, since the waitress was the same one that had failed to understand my original entree order and was slow in getting it fixed. So, I was worried for this other table in advance. 

Soon, I got my food and the waitress moved on to get the next table's food orders. This proved to be more complicated than the drinks. One man asked for a chicken salad sandwich--but apparently hadn't examined the menu to see if it was actually offered. The waitress was unsure if that was the case and warned the patron that this might lead to disappointment. The other table mates made their varying orders and the waitress went off to the kitchen and to investigate the likelihood of the chicken salad sandwich.

(Now, I must say that you might find it strange that a restaurant might not have a chicken salad sandwich, something that is a fairly common food item across the country. But, in Bob Evans slight defense, they typically feature chicken salad platters and sandwiches during the summer months. And since football was currently being played in Ohio, the mind said that summer was over.)

I bring up all this falderal about drink and food orders to get to the real point that I was beginning to suspect that this group of restaurant goers were not locals and were more than simply your regular out-of-towners. You see, during the course of my eavesdropping, I heard them mention cities and towns in Pennsylvania as well as Florida. All pretty normal, except that we are in the midst of a presidential election year and three of the important swing states now and forevermore are Ohio (where we were sitting), Pennsylvania, and Florida. 

I began to think that these people were party of either the Obama or the McCain campaign staff--not significant staff certainly, but some of the faceless cogs in the machine that swarms the country getting the local pulse and seeing how people are polling. It was, after all, the night of McCain's acceptance speech and the night after VP-candidate Palin's speech. I couldn't really get a sense as to whether they were Obamaniacs or McCainiacs . . . and I wasn't about to turn around and ask. But the significant swing state name drops and the efforts to complicate the ordering process suggested to me that these people were maybe from way-out-of-town.

I got a look at them when I got up to go pay the check. There was nothing outwardly evident to support my guesses--no straw hats, political buttons, or constant cell phone calls. I suppose I could have been completely wrong about the whole affair, but it was a fun diversion.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

ABC Fall TV Preview

This week has been full of posts on network shows offered as the Fall TV season begins.

I've already covered 1) NBC, 2) The CW, and 3) FOX. Tonight it's ABC's turn (and don't worry, no lame and contrived themes tonight. Just straight talk about television).

Monday: I've never liked to dance very much. When I was a young middle school and high school kid, just trying to get the courage to talk to girls I liked, dancing was completely out of the question. If one broke into sweats standing, talking, and looking a desirable girl in the face, then how could one summon the gargantuan gumption to add standing that much closer and touching on the shoulders and (God forbid!) the hips!? So, that said, Dancing With The Stars [9/22 @ 8 pm] just isn't the show for me. I know some people just love it and appreciate the scintillating power of dance, but I could find better things to do. Plus, I am generally suspicious of reality programming, but that suspicion grows more pronounced when I see that the show (such as DwtS) spreads itself out over several nights--thereby metastasizing its hold upon the TV week. I want shows to be neatly contained boxes of entertainment. If I wanted multi-part miniseries, I'd build a time machine and go back to 1986.

I'll admit that I didn't give Samantha Who? [10/6 @ 9:30] much thought last year (and I'm still not advocating it as worth your time), but it seems to have done well enough to keep itself alive for a second season. Of course, this might be more a result of the writer's strike and the resultant discombobulation from that. Perhaps ABC just didn't have better options? I can't tell you if Christina Applegate's Samantha character has continued to suffer from memory loss--which was the point of the first season--but I suspect it being the series major stumbling block. How do writers keep up the conceit of memory loss for an extended period of time, or, how do they prevent a show NOT about memory loss being anything but yet another romantic comedy?

Did you know that Boston Legal [9/22 @ 10 pm] was still on television? Sure is. And did you know that James Spader and William Shatner are still involved? Are there two men that have aged less gracefully, suffering from unfortunate weight gains?

Tuesday: One of the network's new shows kicks off this night--a reality game show called Opportunity Knocks [9/23 @ 8 pm]. The show's description indicates that a roving show will arrive at the home of unsuspecting families, will gather the neighborhood to be the audience, and will then proceed  to ask trivia questions about the family members  themselves and the things in their home. It's supposed to be a way of seeing if the family really knows each other--and while I'll admit that is more friendly-seeming than The Moment of Truth (see Fox's preview), it has a faint whiff of being something cooked up by the Bush administration to search for and identify illegal aliens trying to secure a green card.

Dancing With The Stars spreads from your colon to your liver on this night, beginning at 9 pm.

ABC's Tuesday night wraps up with Eli Stone [10/14 @ 10 pm]. This show is well done, I guess, and I really like the presence of Alias alumni Victor Garber, but at the end of the day, this is just another Lawyer Show that is gussying itself up by giving the title character a brain aneurysm that gives him visions to defend his clients better. It feels like late Fifties cars that were festooned with larger and larger tail fins to no significant utility. Some people liked it and some people saw threw it.

Wednesday: All three shows at midweek are returning shows from previous years, but the best of the bunch is Pushing Daisies [10/1 @ 8 pm]. The highest of High Concept shows, it follows the travails of Ned the Pie Man who has the odd power to bring dead things back to life with a touch. However, a second touch on the reanimated object brings an irreversible death. Ned uses this power in two ways. It helps him run his pie shop economically (he can by the older fruit at a lower cost) and he partners with a local private detective to "interview" the newest inhabitants of the morgue to solve murders. Add to this quirky stew the fact that he reanimated his recently deceased childhood sweetheart, but can never touch her again and you have poignant romance on top of quirk. Further add unnatural set decorations, Barry Sonnenfeld design touches and the narration of Stephen Fry, and all I can say is catch up now!

Private Practice [10/1 @ 9 pm] is also back from last year. I'm not a fan of Grey's Anatomy so I don't find anything compelling to say about this show. It's a spinoff of Grey's and follows the continuing struggles of surgeon Addison Forbes Montgomery as she deals with medical struggles and romantic ups and downs. Physician, heal thyself!

Lastly on this night, Dirty Sexy Money [10/1 @ 10 pm]. The name alone compelled me to kick off last year's ABC 2007 Fall preview. But now, I'll just leave you with the name. Review the link and choose for yourself.

Thursday: The only new show on ABC Thursday night is called Life on Mars [10/9 @ 10 pm]. It follows a NYPD cop that gets thrown backwards to 1973 New York and must find a way to live in the unfamiliar past and find a way to get home. If you think it feels a bit like Quantum Leap, I agree. If you think it also sounds similar to a British television show of the same name, then you are either well read or you subscribe to British cable.

The other shows on Thursday are Ugly Betty [9/25 @ 8 pm] and Grey's Anatomy [9/25 @ 9 thru 11 pm]. I kind of feel that Ugly Betty fills a void left by the earlier and best years of Will & Grace. I don't know this for a fact, but I think that the same demographics of TV viewers liked both shows. I also feel that Grey's Anatomy mostly appeals to women, but I may be wrong with that as well. Still, these shows do well and pull in decent numbers.

But, let's get to the big elephant in ABC's Thursday night room . . . LOST. It won't be back on the air until January 2009. I cry about this a little bit every day. But it gives you the time to recommit yourself to the show you should be watching. I've been writing about TV all week and I can confidently say that there is not another on any of the regular networks that puts more effort, more quality writing and storytelling into a complex plot that can engage the mind and captivate the imagination. Put it on your Netflix queue. borrow Seasons 1-3 from me. Purchase Season 4 this Christmas. You don't want to pass up this opportunity!

Friday: ABC has a pretty weak draw of shows on this night--Wife Swap [10/3 @ 8 pm], Supernanny [10/3 @ 9 pm] and 20/20. I propose to ABC that they combine these three shows into a three hour extravaganza entitled Supernanny Swap/20. This crazy reality show/news program will ask rich families swap their nannies and au pairs with less fortunate wives in lower income brackets. Watch the spoiled nannies struggle to help minimum wage families make ends meet while oppressed middle class mothers try to relax with more opportunity for luxury.

Weekend: Saturday night on ABC is all about college football. On Sunday you get America's Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives [9/28 @ 9 pm], and Brothers and Sisters [9/28 @ 10 pm]. I watched Desperate Housewives with energy its first season but quickly lost season the next year and began watching less and less of all TV on Sunday night since. But you might like Sally Field on Brothers and Sisters and you might find that Desperate Housewives regained some of its zip last year. If so, enjoy.

So, if you are still with me here, I strongly suggest that you give Pushing Daisies a try and make every effort in the world to enjoy LOST while you have the chance.

Until tomorrow night, when I set my sites on CBS . . .

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

FOX Fall TV Preview

We keep on rolling tonight with another network's Fall TV lineup. On Tuesday I gave my opinions on NBC; on Wednesday I gave The CW a look. Tonight it'll be the FOX network.

For no reason at all, I think we'll use the old phrase "The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog" as the thematic system of this preview.

Monday: We'll use The Quick to describe Monday night's on Fox. It begins with Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles [9/8 @ 8 pm]. Why The Quick? Well, when Terminators show up, there tend to be a lot of people that end changing from the Quick to the Dead. (I didn't say this theme would work well every time . . . if at all.) T:TSCC started last season and met with mixed reviews. It has some potential, but there were only about 8 or 9 total episodes aired at the end of last season. It felt to me like the actors were still working their way into their respective roles--especially the young man trying to portray a high-school aged John Conner. He needed to take some acting refresher courses over the summer break, I think. Summer Glau (River from Firefly fame) was an interesting choice as the newest Terminator assigned to protect the Conner family, but her basic roboticness tended to create a one-note performance. I don't exactly know how to get around that, but I think there are quality pieces to work from in this series. 

Also on Fox Monday is another season of Prison Break [9/1 @ 9 pm]. I feel that the buzz on this show flagged pretty strongly after its premiere season that energized a lot of people. The original puzzle-based plot of finding a way to break out of prison was invigorating to people, but once the characters got out of that prison setting, the show sort of became aimless. I say all this without being a fan or watching the show. If anyone has insight on why this show deserves a  successful fourth season, let me know.

Tuesday: This night features two shows, House and Fringe. This night will be described by the words Brown Fox as described below.

Up first is House [9/16 @ 8 pm], a favorite show to a lot of people. I kind of think of it as an edgier spin on ER with a healthy dose of Sherlock Holmes. I like the mystery inherent in each episode and I like the character of House himself. He'll represent the "Fox" here, since many people find him sexy. Perhaps it's his confidence in himself; perhaps its his limp (which makes him vulnerable); perhaps it's his ability to always get to the correct answer, but people dig Hugh Laurie's character.

"Brown" goes with one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the fall, Fringe [9/9 @ 8 pm--a 2 hour premiere with regular episodes airing afterwards at 9 pm]. Why "Brown?" Well, I see it like this. The last time I was this excited by a show on Fox, it was Joss Whedon's Firefly. That show featured Captain Malcolm Reynolds, formerly of the space rebellion force known as the Browncoats. I can only hope that Fox gives Fringe more time to succeed than they gave to Firefly because a great many people are very excited by the idea of Fringe--I don't think it's a X-Files rip off and as a last word I've only got three additional words to add to seal the deal (for me anyway)--J  J  Abrams.

Sign me up!

Wednesday: I'll use Jumps to describe the only interesting show on Fox's midweek lineup . . . because Bones [9/3 @ 8 pm] has five letters just like "jumps." (Man, I am really regretting this terrible idea for a theme!) Bones has always appealed to a lot of people and I think that I would also like it if I had ever taken the time to start watching the show. But I didn't jump on board early enough. That isn't really an excuse in the era of DVD rentals and summer hiatuses, but that is all I've got. Bones is a show about a FBI agent played by David Boreanaz (of Angel) and a forensic anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel. As I am sure I've said before, two more complicated names that are prone to misspelling I'll probably never encounter. I once planned to study forensic anthropology in my early college career, so there's another reason to like. And the two main characters have (I believe) a Mulder/Scully vibe that is also appealing. So, I recommend this show. Catch up with past seasons on Netflix, watch on the web, whatever. But give this show a try.

Thursday: This night makes me use the words Over and Lazy. Why "over?" Well, Fox on Thursday night begins with The Moment of Truth [8/26 @ 8 pm], a show I had hoped would be "over" and done with by now. The premise of destroying lives with public  polygraph questions for entertainment value is reprehensible and shows the worst of Fox's bad tendencies. I want it to end, but I don't think it ever shall.

"Lazy" seems to fit Kitchen Nightmares [9 pm] because the website gives me the impression that this Chef Gordon Ramsey reality show was originally aired in 2007 and are being rebroadcast now to help fill out the schedule. Since I don't like cooking shows that aren't aired on the Food Network, I don't truly care one way or the other, but it does seem a bit shocking.

Friday: The end of the Fox workweek schedule is best characterized by Dog because it is boring, same old, same old stuff. Who really watches Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? [8 pm]. Are these viewers, perhaps, the same one's that watch Don't Forget the Lyrics? [9 pm]. I don't care about either of these shows, so I'll quickly move on.

Weekend: Saturday on Fox is Cops, Cops, and more Cops. Sunday is filled with the animation block that includes King of the Hill, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad. All of these shows have been on autopilot for many, many years and you don't me to tell you anything new about them. End of discussion.

So, what have we learned about Fox? Well, there are some good shows returning (House, Bones), some shows with solid potential (T:TSCC) and one show that just might be something special--fingers crossed! (Fringe) This network just might be worth your time in carefully selected bites. Tread carefully but sample with confidence. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

CW Fall TV Preview

We are carrying on with the 2008 Fall TV preview posts here on WWYG?! Last night I wrote about NBC. Tonight, I am swinging over to the CW, but I'll admit that I should have done this network first, because it is going all out this year and committing itself to quality programming in ways that you just wouldn't believe!

Case in point . . . 90210! It's 2 hour premiere is going on right now as I type . . . but by the time you read this, it'll all be over and you will curse yourself for missing the chance of a lifetime to see a show as great as that in it's Second Coming. Plus, have you heard? Shannon Daugherty is TOTALLY coming back for a few episodes! And OMG! she and Jennie Garth are getting along just great and isn't that awesome!

So, yeah . . . 90210 is back. I didn't care about it the first time around and so I care even less about this incarnation. It doesn't really matter to me how pretty all the actors are--and I have seen that they are very, very pretty. It just seems like this might have been a bigger deal if we hadn't already seen The OC come and go and weren't currently living through Gossip Girl.

But, let's break things down by day, shall we?

Monday: Speaking of Gossip Girl, [9/1 @ 8 pm] it's back on again for the Fall and premiered last night. I haven't watched the show, though some people have tried to tell me that I would like it. I am not entirely sure why that would be the case. I know that originally I think the plot involved a rich kid anonymously blogging about her equally rich friends to much scandal, but I wouldn't doubt that that plot thread faded away and now I suspect it more resembles MTV's The Hills or some other show about rich people (did I mention that 90210 is also on this network?). I'm sure it's a well put-together show and I do like one of the stars (Blake Lively) a bit, but I don't think I'll be tuning in. Sorry.

As to what else is on The CW on Mondays . . . it's One Tree Hill [9/1 @ 9 pm]. This show used to be about basketball, right? I have never watched even one minute of the show over its . . . how many years? . . . two, three . . . ahh, who cares. It's probably just another excuse for pretty Caucasians to sit around and scheme about how they are going to steal each other's significant others.

Tuesday: This is, as I mentioned at the top, the night for 90210 [9/2 @ 8 pm]. But how good can the show be if it has slipped from 3rd rate, maybe 4th rate network FOX (home of the original show) to the even more tenuous CW network? Nothing on the CW inspires much confidence, so I can't say I'll hold high hopes for this show, no matter how many alumnus they drag out of renewed obscurity to pump up the ratings. I am sure Ian Ziering has got nothing better to do, but Jason Priestly and even--god help us all--Luke Perry can probably find more appealing ways to spend their middle-ages now, right?

And let's now forget the "reason for being" of the CW network! Showcasing the lives of the rich, powerful, and vapid. This is reinforced by the OTHER show the network trots out on Tuesday, appropriately titled Privileged [9/9 @ 9 pm]. What is this show about? Well, imagine an earnest, well-meaning young college journalist major that is "taking her lumps" working at a tabloid. She loses her job and manages to swing her way into being the live-in tutor for snooty high schoolers who live in Palm Beach. Can the earnest journalist remain true to herself while trying to enrich the lives of the vapid and also not be seduced by the hot boys and easy living lifestyle of the too rich and not famous? Tune in next Tuesday night to find out!

Wednesday: Midweek on The CW means America's Next Top Model [9/3 @ 8 pm; a 2-hr premiere]. For this, the eleventh cycle of the show, Tyra and Company take a group of homely girls under their wing and get them to realize that beauty isn't important. Instead, the ANTM crew heads into the mean streets of Chicago to volunteer in soup kitchens, pick up trash, and scrap the gum from under the audience chairs at Tyra's talk show.

(Did you believe any of that?)

In actual fact, the latest group of model hopefuls might indeed do the things I mentioned, but only if that was the inane subject of the latest photo set up . . . and preferable if these things could be mimicked while being dangled fifteen feet up in the air.

The other Wednesday night show, Stylista [10/22 @ 9 pm] is a reality show about people competing to get an internship at Elle Magazine. So, if you've seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada, but what you REALLY wanted to see was the video tapes of the casting director for that movie, then this show is right up your alley.

Thursday: If it's Thursday and its the CW, then it must be Smallville [9/18 @ 8 pm]. Yep, the show that no one can believe is still on the air is back on the air again! Clark still doesn't fly; he refuses to see that Chloe is the only person in town worthy of his romantic attention; Lex is marching ever closer to Ultimate Evil; Lois is still annoying as ever, and Lana is dead? I don't even remember what is up with her. I just know that I want it over with. I have invested years of my life in this show and its a habit that I just can't break at this point. I must see it to it's conclusion . . . it's grim, joyless, unfulfilling conclusion.

Supernatural [9/18 @ 9 pm] is also back for another year. Once more I'll say that you would expect me to like a show about demon hunters, vampires, various occult stuff that could (if done better with a more interesting cast of characters) remind me more of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. But this show doesn't rise to that level of quality, so I don't bother. I'm sure there is a rabid fan base for the show that just got reenergized at Comic Con, but I'll eat my Smallville gruel and move on.

Friday: Friday Night Smackdown. Ugh.

Saturday: local programming

Sunday: Encores of shows done earlier in the week. Pretty pathetic. Except that on 9/21 all hell breaks loose with three new shows--In Harm's Way [9/21 @ 7 pm], Valentine [9/21 @ 8 pm], and Easy Money [9/21 @ 9 pm]. One show is about Greek gods trying to keep their identity secret while matching people up. Another is about ordinary people doing treacherous stuff for a living. And the third is about a family of loan sharks and the one upright son that wants to run the family biz legit. I'll let you sort out which description fits which show. And you also have to guess which show features the always delightful Judge Rheinhold!

So, 90210 . . . this is your network. It can barely put together four weekdays of prime time programming. And you are going to be its salvation? I say good luck to you. And I'll also say that there are several shows listed on the CW website as Coming Soon--all in early October it appears. These shows will not be dealt with in great detail, because they are desperate back ups for equally desperate cannon fodder going out now. But I do note with interest the presence of Bob Saget in one show, Surviving Suburbia [midseason arrival date unknown], because it sounds like he is mimicking the Kevin Spacey role in American Beauty. And we all now know what a horn dog smut head Saget really is, so maybe this is playing more to type?

Another night down, another network excoriated. Tomorrow . . . maybe FOX?

Monday, September 01, 2008

NBC Fall TV Preview

Labor Day has come and gone, the first football games have been played, and there are leaves piling up in my yard (due to drought, but still). That means only one thing--Fall is almost here and that also means one other thing . . . I've got to get to work writing this year's Fall TV Preview posts.

If there is anything constant about my blog (and, no, there isn't much) it is that I have spent some time during this part of the calendar year previewing the upcoming slate of television shows on the networks. It has gotten a bit more complicated over the last few years as the networks have sort of added a summer season, while also mercilessly cutting and destroying poor performing shows. And, of course, I don't spend time talking about cable series and premium channel shows that I am not a subscriber of. So, the utility of this exercise becomes less and less relevant each year, but it means something to me, as when I was younger, I greatly anticipated the arrival of the Fall TV issue of TV Guide. (Yes, I really did.) I loved reading about the new shows, seeing the actors, and trying to gauge which episodes I thought might be interesting to watch and trying to see if I could fit any of the good ones into my schedule.

So, here we go again. For no reason at all, I'm starting with NBC.

While perusing the network website, I am struck by the small amount of new shows upcoming for the Fall. I count only FIVE new shows, if you can believe it. Either than means NBC has truly given up any belief in its ability to create new scripted programming that America wants to watch--a thought process I am not willing to entirely discount--or they are sticking with the shows that, while huge ratings successes in recent years, are at least pleasing to the critics and SOME of the viewing public.

Monday: Chuck [9/29 @ 8 pm] (a show that I said I liked last year and did watch some, but not enough) remains on Monday night's at 8 pm. Chuck's first season was quirky and hit my sweet spot of being nerdy and about spies. So, let's hope the show keeps things going for season two. Heroes [9/22 @ 9 pm] is also back again on Monday. I've read that the creators and writers learned from the poor plotting and delays that screwed up a very poorly received season 2. Season 3, they claim, is going to be more action-packed and more engaging. I just hope it keeps people interested. The mystery isn't nearly as compelling and knotty as LOST, which has used its intrigue and better quality writing to keep going over rough patches. Heroes doesn't have the same loyalty from me or from most people, I'm guessing. So, they need to step up quickly. The other new show on Monday's is one of the few that I am intrigued by. Unfortunately, My Own Worst Enemy doesn't hit the network until next month [10/13 @ 10 pm]. But I'm a fan of high concept (schizophrenic family man that might be a spy in a different life--again with the spy fetish, David?) and Christian Slater is the main character. So, I'll give it a try. It's probably this year's Bionic Woman, but I hope it might be engaging.

Tuesday: Well, NBC doesn't seem to have much going on. Most of the night is filled with another Biggest Loser spinoff (this one focusing on families losing weight together, it seems). I'm all for weight loss, but I don't think I'll be losing much weight by sitting down in front of the TV watching other people do it. And NBC doesn't inspire much confidence the rest of Tuesday night by ending the primetime hours with Law & Order: SVU. I've never been and L & O fan, so it looks like Tuesday night is another network's night in this house.

Wednesday: NBC won't be drawing me in too hard on that night either. The night begins with one of the few new shows of the season, but I've already experienced it (more than once!). You see, it is the ill-conceived reboot of the Knight Rider series that I was a fan of back when I was a kid. I was an unabashed fan of David Hasselhoff and KITT (vers. 1.0), but this new "updated" show probably seemed like a good idea in the executives offices of NBC when they were discussing how much critics liked "Battlestar Galactica." But, BSG is gritty, pseudo-political and just awesome. Knight Rider [9/24 @ 8pm] just doesn't work. I gamely tried the "movie version" of the pilot back in the spring, but I don't think I'll be taking KITT back out for another spin. Following that, you've got Deal or No Deal. (I say No Deal.) And after that is Lipstick Jungle. [9/24 @ 10 pm] You might not be aware that that show was on last season . . . at least I think it was. I distinctly remember typing the title Lipstick Jungle during last year's NBC preview . . . hold it, let's check . . . hmm. I can't seem to find it in last year's writeups. That probably means that it was a mid-season replacement just waiting in the wings. I do know the Brooke Shields is in it, but that's mostly because Brooke was a celebrity judge on Project Runway recently.

Thursday: Moving on, we can see on Thursday, the bulk of NBC's plans and the only place they have really strong shows (other than Chuck on Monday . . . but that's mostly my opinion, I guess.) The night kicks off with My Name is Earl [9/25 @ 8pm] and then moves on to another of the new shows, Kath & Kim, [10/9 @ 8 pm] a show with a flashy website. Usually, that means the network is engaged in the success of the show. It also helps that the show features SNL alumnus Molly Shannon. But it doesn't bode well to me that the show is an Americanization of an Australian original show of the same name. (I know, I know that The Office has done well in this regard, but doesn't anyone besides me remember the disaster that was Coupling?) The 9 o'clock block on Thursday is filled with the reliable and funny duo of The Office [9/25 @ 9 pm] and 30 Rock [10/30 @ 9:30 pm]. These are the shows you can guarantee will be talked about the next day around the office water cooler (do those still exist anywhere? my office has a water dispenser that comes pre-chilled . . . anyway). So, even though you have to wait until Halloween for 30 Rock (and have to fill that time with SNL Weekend Update Thursdays) I recommend you spend time with those shows. I don't even know yet what it's Thursday night competition is, but that's why we DVR stuff, right? And then there is ER [9/25 @ 10 pm]--in it's kajillionth and final season. What can I say? I stopped watching in the Clinton administration but it's still going strong. I guess the legislation on euthanization finally came through? But in a final season, keep an eye out for stunt casting, dramatic returns of old cast mates--those not ridiculously killed by falling helicopters or now far too famous to bother.

Friday: NBC is bringing back Life [9/29 @ 10 pm--a special Monday repremiere before consigning it to death on it's regular Friday slot] from last season and either rerunning Tuesday's episode of Deal or No Deal (I surely hope not) or they are just running another one (not a good option either, when you think about it). The only new thing on Friday night doesn't look very promising on the face of it--Crusoe. [10/17 @ 8 pm] Yes, THAT Crusoe. Supposedly, the show will "brave the elements (??) in a contemporary tale of love, friendship, and self-discovery." I know that some people love costume shows, but I don't think I'll be staying home on my birthday to watch that premiere.

Weekend:Well, it's what you expect. Friday is either Dateline or reruns of what you decided not to watch on the previous weeknight (Knight Rider or Law & Order: SVU) or football, football, football on Sunday.

Not very inspiring, huh? Well, there's not much I can do about it being far from the power center of television and decision making in California. I can only vote by neglect (for the most part) and try my best to give my ratings to the few shows on NBC that seem to be creative and fun to watch.