The Reader's Eye on Television

Diary of a Television-Infected Existence 5:22 a.m. Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are doing it. I know it. That old, chapped man's hand is down that other old, chapped man's pants. They lean in. Their shoulder-padded, dark-gray wool suits rub at the lapel, and Cheney opens his mouth, only slightly, as they get closer. They are going to kiss and I am going to throw up. I'm watching the affair on a fuzzy, scratchy TV, and before the vice president's lips touch those of the president's, I breach the liminal surface of consciousness. I'm awake, sweating, horrified, in my own bed. I still feel ill because of the nightmare and rub my face. What a terrible dream. What hopelessness. The sickening feeling of it clings to me still like a remora fish stuck to my shark belly. 11:54 a.m.

"Are you hep to the jive?! Yeah! Yeah!" I'm sing-screaming as I drive the 8 west. "Are you hep to the jive!? Yeah! Yeah!" I slap the steering wheel and my truck dances down the freeway. Other drivers honk as I invade their lane. "Are you hep!? Are you hep!? Are you keepin' in step?! Are you hep to the jiiive!?"Go to hell! That's a good song! Honk and fly that finger at me all you want. I will sing and swerve and rip down this road.

I want everyone to hear the song I am singing, but it's not on the radio. The song was crammed into my brain by a jazz special on the sissy Arts Channel this morning. I turned the show on to have background noise while I made breakfast and coffee and showered. I didn't watch a second of it, but my TV blared into my bedroom while I ate cereal, peed, and wiped my counters.

The Cab Calloway tune is entertaining me with joy and closed eyes and the love of hearing myself sing as I tear ass from North Park to Ocean Beach.

"Are you hep to the jiiive?!" 2:08 p.m.

Do I buy the tiki art magazine or the music magazine with Rick James on the cover? I like the carved totem poles, beach girls, and surf aesthetic of this magazine, but I also like Dave Chappelle's send-up of the hair-wild music producer. The music magazine is not about the comedy sketch, and I was never a fan of Rick James's music.I am also exhausted with my mind's slavery to broadcast entertainment on this day.

I'm going with the tiki art magazine.

Thursday, June 14 Joyce Meyer: Enjoying Everyday Life CA4SD 12:00 p.m. Settle down there, momjeans. Not everything in life is a joy. For those tough and tired times, for scrubbing a sink and a dental visit, there is not enough "up with me!" attitude and self-help-y cheerleading that can drag me through. These reasons, these things, are why there is booze.

Road Trip with Huell Howser PBS 8:00 p.m. If there were ever anyone to not road trip with, it would be Huell Howser. Road trips require mixed CDs of guitar-heavy rock and roll, Mexican cantina music, and sound clips from Mad Max. Beer, beef jerky, and sweat fuel a good interstate drive. Not PBS. Not middle-aged men. No one ever named "Huell" washed trucker speed pills down with Gatorade and vodka.

Friday, June 15 The Price is Right CBS 10:00 a.m. Bob Barker's final episode. I hate TV. But I harbor a grudging respect for Bob Barker. The only way he could retire at a higher status of "old guy cool" is if he came out to his departing performance with a highball in his hand and at the very end said, "Remember to spay and neuter your pets," long sip from the cocktail, "Ahhh! I'll be in the Caribbean." Wink.

Saturday, June 16 The Bean, Your Complete Ab and Total Body Workout USA 8:00 a.m. At night I toil at my drafting table and plastic injection mold. A few hours each week. Laugh now, but when the Butt Lift Suspension Helmet transforms the exercise-at-home landscape of this country I will be the one giggling until I am wealthy, tanned, and wet.

Baseball Tonight ESPN 9:00 p.m. Gone are the days of finding teeth in a pool of hepatitis downtown. Sterile corporate branding and blazing brilliant ballpark light replaced the grit and the stained piles. I've been to a game; it's nice there. Although I think the ghost of Ginsberg weeps.

Sunday, June 17 The Millionaire Inside: Your Guide to Retiring Rich CNBC 7:00 p.m.

Invest. Scrimp. Save. Set aside money you would have otherwise spent on whiskey, a trip to Mallorca, and surfboards. Wear sensible khakis and a blue button-down shirt. Splurge on an evening at the Olive Garden once a week. For the rest of your life. Until you retire rich and you can do the things in the last two years of your life that you could have done for the first 60. Doesn't that sound nice?

Monday, June 18 Kyle XY Family 8:00 p.m. Oh, for the love of... The whole damn mystery is about this kid who doesn't have a bellybutton? What a cruel joke played on the dullard masses. Hell, I've got a mole on my calf that looks like a swing set. Make a show about that.

Tuesday, June 19 Suzanne Somers 15th Anniversary HSN 8:00 p.m. You know, in my day there was no such thing as Internet porn. If you were lucky, your dad had a Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Edition" in the garage, or you taped a TV show on your VCR and maybe, just maybe, if the stars and planets were generous that night, you caught a Thighmaster commercial on it, and you could sneak out at midnight and replay it with the sound off. It took tenacity and character to get a cheap giggle when I was a kid.

Wednesday, June 20 Raise Your Voice Family 8:00 p.m. There exists, on Youtube, a video of me in a Mexican wrestler mask drunkenly karaokeing Roy Orbison's In Dreams . A friend described the sound as "an old woman being eaten by a coyote." Another said, "This should be listed in the Geneva Convention." Be careful what you wish for, Family Channel.

Thursday, June 21 Winged Migration PBS 9:00 p.m. I have not yet grown wings as I had planned. However, a bump on my temple promises to be the beginning of my set of ram's horns. My girlfriend thinks its acne, but all great men had detractors to their vision. This will not stop me from meditating each day for an hour and chanting, "Come on monkey tail, horns, and bat wings. Come on monkey tail, horns, and bat wings."

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