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Television dishes out mesmerizing trash talk

Over the summer I lived with someone who became increasingly important to me. She began to rule my life, but I didn't mind because I'm in love with her. She is the television (or Telly as I affectionately call her).

I can't quite pinpoint the moment when television took over my life, but I think it was somewhere between CNN Headline News and Battle Bots. (I actually find Battle Bots more informative, but CNN has cool clips of hurricanes). Anyway, this summer I found myself watching a wide array of television shows.

I watch VH1 for Pop-Up Video and Behind The Music. I don't really enjoy Pop-Up Video, but I can't stop watching. I am afraid that right after I turn the channel they will reveal an extremely cool fact about the video. For example, once they showed a Prince video that was quite boring, but I couldn't turn the channel because I knew right after I did, a little bubble would pop up reading, "Prince is actually an over-sized lizard. To this date he has sold more albums than any other amphibian." I couldn't take the chance of missing that.

I also watch Behind the Music despite the fact that it stopped being interesting a long time ago. VH1 apparently ran out of exciting, big-name stars for the show, and now have resorted to featuring stars such as Vanilla Ice. It should be a sign to VH1 that the show is going downhill when it devotes an entire hour to someone whose career only spanned 45 minutes. Seriously, you can't do a Behind the Music on Vanilla Ice - it should have been called Behind the Song. This show's starts seem to be getting younger and younger, and for many of them, there isn't really any life story to be told yet. It's like, "Coming up after the break, tragedy strikes the Hanson brothers ... in the form of acne! But eventually they find a good facial wash ... and a new lease on life." (The narrator of Behind the Music is contractually obligated to say the phrase "a new lease on life" at least three times in every episode.)

Recently I've been watching a lot of documentaries on the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel. Each show discusses cool guy things like mummies, giant machines and, sometimes, mummies that were uncovered by giant machines. I have watched more than one of these shows about mammoth machines. Essentially, each documentary consists of footage of the huge machine sitting still, footage of the huge machine doing its job, more footage of it sitting still, footage of it being built, footage of it sitting still with a little guy standing next to it, and, if you're lucky, footage of the little guy being eaten by the huge machine. Occasionally, there will be an interview with the guy who designed the machine:

Reporter: What did you have in mind when you designed this massive device?

Designer: Well, I figured it could be used for mining although at first I was hoping to use it to scare the hell out of my ex-wife.

Reporter: And are you as nerdy as you look?

Designer: Far more so.

(These shows also tend to interview the guy operating the machine even though he has the same IQ as the gravel he's digging up.)

Reporter: Can you give us a quick demonstration of how you run this massive machine?

Operator: Well, I just push this button to make it dig a lot and this button to make it dig a little, and here's where I keep my soda.

Reporter: Has anything gone wrong before?

Operator: Oh, yeah. Once my soda fell over. And once, I destroyed an entire housing development, and believe it or not, that was the same day my soda fell over. That was a hell of a day!

For lack of anything interesting on television, I watch more CNN nowadays than I had ever intended. For those of you who don't know, CNN stands for Chandra News Network. For the past several months, CNN has shown 24-hour-a-day Chandra Levy coverage even though it means ignoring less important international stories such as England floating off into the Atlantic. (See - I bet you didn't even know that had happened.) CNN fills each day by showing groundbreaking Chandra Levy reports such as this interview with the Washington, D.C., chief of police:

Reporter: Have you found her yet?

Chief: Nope, haven't found her yet.

Reporter: Do you know where she is?

Chief: Nope, don't know where she is.

Reporter: Did you check her apartment?

Chief: Yeah, I think so.

Reporter: Gary Condit?

Chief: That's not a question.

Reporter: I know, but I'm obligated to say his name in every report I do for the next four years.

As you can see, I've watched enough television this summer to kill thousands of brain cells and make me ... not smart ... as much now ... as much as ... before.

However, when classes begin, the number of hours I watch TV will be altered drastically - I'll watch more television in order to avoid annoyances such as classes and homework.


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