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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Hey, I’m a Man, and I Watch Shows. What’s So Fricking Hard to Understand?

Please keep hands and feet inside the blog at all times during the ride.

Before I get started today, I’d like to thank each and every one of you (no matter how small) for taking time to read this. I know, I know, I should tell you nice things like that more often. I should be more attentive, and offer to rub your feet after a hard day, and bring you ice cream when you’re feeling blue. On the other hand, none of those things is ever going to happen, unless you give me lots and lots of money in return. So, for now, let’s just stick to the simple ‘thanks!’, shall we?

Anyway, I bring it up because our little blog has hit a milestone. Or rather, probably will by the time you read this. Because as I write this, the Where the Hell Was I? blog has received 2494 hits, or — for those few of you who can read but can’t manage simple math skills — six hits shy of 2500. And that’s a lot of hits. Now, it doesn’t matter that 2450 or so of those hits were from people looking for naked cartoon pictures of Pamela Anderson. No. Really, it doesn’t. Hits are hits, folks. And inadvertent or not, the blogodometer is about to roll over to twenty-five hundred big ones, so I thought I’d stop and say ‘thank you’ to the roses. Or stop and smell you people. Or something like that. Anyway, rock on. Throw some confetti if you want to join in the celebration. Dance a jig. Get naked. Whatever. Just know that I appreciate your readingness (No, it’s not a word, dammit! Deal.), and that I’m thinking of each and every one of you.

(Of course, I’m picturing some of you just throwing confetti, while I’m imagining others of you slightly differently. Like, naked and dancing a jig. Or naked and smelling roses. Or, I don’t know, naked and getting your feet rubbed with blue ice cream. Ick. And now I feel all dirty. See what you do to me?)

All right, back to bidness. If I want to sit at my computer feeling dirty and lewd, I’ll go browse the ‘Naughty Grannies’ site. Or ‘Livestock of the Rich and Famous’. But that’s not what we’re here for, so let’s get to the action.

First, a confession. Or a complaint, I’m not sure which. But it seems that I don’t quite have the TiVo thing down quite yet. Oh, I can switch between tuners and rewind and slo-mo when the need arises. (As in, ‘See? See? His foot was in bounds! I told you!‘ or ‘Look, right… there! See? A nipple! How cool is that?!‘) But apparently I’m having trouble conveying to the little hamsters inside the machine just exactly what sorts of shows are likely to be of interest. Last night was the first real test.

So, I’ve asked the TiVo to record several shows. Mostly cartoons and stand-up comedians, plus a couple of action flicks.

(No, not that sort of action. I’m talkin’ about bazookas and explosions, not, uh… bazookas and, um, explosions. You know what I mean! Anyway, we only have HBO, so I couldn’t even get to the ‘Skinemax’ stuff if I wanted to.)

Anyway, guy stuff. Oh, sure, my wife’s got a couple of workout shows in there, but I actually thought that was going to work to my advantage. See, the new Man Show premeired last night. It’s the one with Joe from Fear Factor (and News Radio before that), and some other guy I’ve never heard of.

(Speaking of which, wouldn’t Joe and Jimmy Kimmel be the absolute best combination for this show? Adam Carolla (previously of Loveline with Dr. Drew) was just a bit too smarmy for me, and the new guy is… well, just some guy. How the hell do I know if he’s qualified? Is his last name Hefner? Did he write for South Park before this? Who knows whether he’s got the right mix of infantile humor and boob fetish to be an asset to the show? Oh, wait. Right, he’s a man. Okay, he’ll be fine, then.

But still, Jimmy was the best. We old folks remember him from Win Ben Stein’s Money, as well, where he semi-hosted and generally annoyed the crap out of the show’s namesake. Hey, if you think about it, the lineage is sort of interesting. Ben Stein‘s Hollywood career, such that it is, was launched alongside a young Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And Ben went on to unleash Jimmy on us, and later on the Fox NFL pregame goons. So in a way, Broderick begat Stein begat Kimmel. Or ‘mild-mannered nice boy’ gave birth to ‘surprisingly unstodgy rich smart old guy’ gave rise to ‘snickering bozo who makes boob jokes and drinks beer on camera’. Now is this a cool country or what?)

So, anyway, the new Man Show was on last night. Now, I couldn’t actually ask TiVo to tape it without getting the rolling-eyes-and-clucking-noises treatment from my wife. But — but! If I could coerce TiVo into taping it as a ‘TiVo Suggestion’, based on my other choices, well, then, I’d have to watch it, right? I mean, if the TiVo went to all that trouble and all. I wouldn’t want to be rude. So, given my penchant for South Park and Family Guy and sports and such — and even the scantily-cladness of the workout chicks in my wife’s taped shows — I fully expected to have the new episode waiting for me when I wandered downstairs this morning. But, despite my best sneaky efforts, it was not to be.

You cannot imagine my Juggy-less disappointment when I found out. Oh, sure, the infernal machine had taped Saturday Night Live and MadTV and even SportsCenter, all without asking, but a show that actually contained comedy and satire and talk about sports?

(Not to mention pajama-clad jiggly jubblies.)

No dice. Obviously, the new machine and I have some issues to work out. And we’ll get there. I just shudder to think how many snorty giggles I’m missing while we fine-tune the relationship. It’s a damned shame; it really is.

And so, I’ll be teaching class this evening to make sure this travesty never happens again. In a way, I’m a lot like Annie Sullivan. And the TiVo is my Helen Keller. I’ll hold its hand and teach it, slowly but surely, about all of the important things in the world. I’ll hold TiVo’s proverbial hand under a tap, and spell out B-E-E-R over and over until it understands. I’ll give the thumbs-up to Monty Python and A Fish Called Wanda, and see if it picks up Fawlty Towers. (But not Around the World in Eighty Days. Snoozies!)

And some day, all the hard work will pay off. I’ll have my Man Show, without having to ask for it. I’ll circle around it, with Married… With Children, and News Radio, and even Benny Hill, if I can find it still on anywhere. And eventually, little TiVo will get the picture — no pun intended — and bring the Juggies bouncing and sproinging into my living room. And I’ll watch it. And my wife will walk in, and say, ‘What the hell are you watching, anyway?‘ To which, I’ll be able to reply, with a perfectly straight face:

Gee, hon, I don’t really know. TiVo taped it for some reason, so I figured I should check it out. Hey, you might like it. See that guy drinkin’ a beer, with the three chicks’ boobs in his face? He used to be on News Radio. You like that show, right?

And she’ll still roll her eyes, and ‘tsk tsk‘ at me. But at least I’ll have an excuse. It’s a game, really. Just another way to pass the time. (Hey, I can’t blog every waking moment, now, can I?) And in the meantime, I’ve got plenty of other good stuff to watch. If TiVo doesn’t straighten up until the Man Show is in reruns, that’s fine — I can wait. Plus, all this sneaky TiVo manipulation might come in handy when Cinemax — or better, Spice — has one of those free weekends:

Wow, I don’t know, babe. I didn’t ask it to record seventeen pornos in one day. Look, they’re all ‘TiVo Suggestions’; what can I do about it? And I’m sorry it taped over your workout videos, but from the one I was watching, it looks like there’s just as much exercise in these. It’ll just take a little more, um, limbering up to do what they do. But if you want, I’ll spot you. I’m only trying to help, after all. Here, I’ll even go get you the baby oil and the bunch of bananas. I’ll be right back…

See, folks, there’s a plan in all of this. There’s always a plan. And it almost always involves baby oil or bananas, and usually both. Now if I can just find a good excuse to work beer into the equation, I’ll be all set. I’ll have my own little Man Show, live and in person and without commercial interruption. How could it possibly go wrong?

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