Thursday, April 27, 2006

How Low Can You Go In TV Limbo?

"Pretty Damn Low, Apparently"
I don't know what it is, but whenever I don't feel well, I fall into this mezmerization and find myself watching the oddest things on television. I am seemingly so spellbound by the flickering tube, that I become robbed of the will to change the channel, and it always seems to freakishly land on PBS. The last time this happened to me I sat through a special on the life of John Denver, someone I cannot stomach in healthier situations. I kept watching while telling myself, "This is dreadful. I hate his voice...that doofus grin," yet there I sat locked in this sorcery.

Last night, it happened again. I had a minor medical procedure earlier this week, so I wasn't in the mood for hitting the 'hood last night. Sure enough, there I was, the public television station locked into place, watching a program called Show Cattle. I got to learn all about the lives of dairy farmers in Maine and how they show their cows at the Fryeburg Fair in heated competition where often Machiavellian moves are made against Bessie to better place the superior Daisy. The Supreme Champion trophy is some Holy Grail to them and as elusive as The Golden Fleece. I half expected to see some farmer out in the pasture, studying a patty like it was The Oracle.
"Udderly Fascinating," ~~Bossie
I am now educated in identifying an Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey or Shorthorn dairy cow. I know how they get groomed for showing at the fair, including shorn hoofies and mucho shampooing, cutting and brushing. One farm owner stated she spent more time fixing her cow's hair than her own, and I inwardly thought, "You said it lady, not me." I also became educated in the necessity of straight backs and vein definition (don't ask.) I feel like I am an expert on bovine makeovers, but do I really want to be?

Delicious, Refreshing...And Deadly
During the night, I couldn't sleep. I had some statements passed my way this week that gave me pause and made me wonder about the meaning behind the meaning behind the meaning. Not wanting to flounder around in that all night, I turned on the television again and now I had some A&E Bill Curtis production about a murder in Florida where a rare poison was put into a Coca Cola bottle to kill a neighbor. Is nothing sacred? Altering little cokes to ill gain? What was really great is that the A&E channel is promoting this series as "Sentenced to Death Week." I love it. Can't you imagine some overly morbid child addicted to this stuff, and the parent saying, "Billy? You'd better clean up your bedroom, or I'm not letting you stay up to watch "Sentenced to Death Week."
Speaking of death sentences, I also watched American Idol last night, something I never watch, and I found it repulsively fascinating to see these kids from God-knows-where, and they are all tv ready, which is to say, they may have been attending Polk County Community College a week ago, but by God now it's $400 haircuts and an eye that can follow the active camera wherever and whenever it is in their vicinity. It seems like we've become a nation ready for our moment. One day you are sitting in your cubicle, working on spreadsheets, and the next day you are having your day in the sun. With everyone engaged in such active preparation for when that day does come, it begs the question, "Who's repairing the washing machines?" I was talking to a friend about this today, and he shot back, "Guest Workers."
"I'm Ready For MY Closeup"


Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

Question: How low can you go?

Answer: Watching the hour-long Eastern Motors infomercial that comes on in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

But Miss Sparkles! Everyone LOVES those Eastern Motors commercials. They've achieved cult status.

2:25 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

Let Eastern Motors... Put you in a car today... Let Eastern Motors... Finance it all the way!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

See Miss Pirate? I-66 knows it. :D

2:48 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

I know plenty :D

3:02 PM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

No, no no - not the commercial (because I love those). The INFOMERCIAL. Which goes on for an hour and features many different people saying "My job is my credit!" and they never, ever play the catchy Eastern Motors jingle and you keep watching thinking that at some point, they must play the catchy jingle but they don't and then before you know it it's 3 am and you've eaten far too many cookies and your boyfriend is begging you to go to bed because PLEASE, it's 3 a.m. and he's very tired.

3:04 PM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

Not that that's ever happened to me.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

And yes, the infomercial has cult status. Dat's what I'm saying. I was also giving I-66's props for knowin' the jingle. I think QVC has some weird juju going on there, too. You are flipping around channels, land on QVC, forty minutes later you are still watching them push the Wagner HVLP Multi-Pattern Control Spray Paint Sprayer.

3:08 PM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...


Because I hate the infomercial.


3:11 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

[snicker] I don't know anything about that

3:19 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

A youngster I coached in basketball was on the phony "apprentice" show, (I'll call it - I don't remember it's actual title) where everyone thought they were vying for a job with a millionaire, only to be made to do ridiculous stunts and be constantly belittled and humiliated by this man, then discover it was all a joke.

Terrible show, but the good news is he won a game of basketball for some sort of prize or 'immunity'. I was very proud.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

By the way, if you aren't already a regular reader, make sure to visit El Guapo today who had a funny, funny piece about Bob Barker and The Price is Right:

3:40 PM  
Blogger brando said...

Now I have the urge to go watch TV, just to see what's cooking.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Moo! I wonder why cows are so funny? Odd - but they are. Sounds like you got sucked into the TV spin cycle which really isn't the worst place you could be. Perhaps not the most refined way to recover from whatever you went through, but at least it was surreal. You have that talent for making a night of TV sound so very interesting. Hmmm. Maybe I need a night of TV tonight. I'll try PBS, just to see.

El Guapo is marvelous, i agree. Glad to see you give him a nod.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Guest workers are doing all the shitty jobs that no one else wants to do. Without them this country would be in big trouble.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Momentary Academic said...

That's it. Next time I can't sleep, no more movies. Let's see what I gravitate towards, eh? Cube, I hope that you feel better.

8:42 PM  
Blogger KOB said...

John Denver, farmers, Coke, American Idol -- Cube, I you're turning into a middle american. I'm concerned.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Phil: I thought some time ago that reality tv would die off, but it seems to be more popular than ever with the bulk of this country's viewing habits.

Brando: DON'T!! LOL. I was having an "off" night.

Reya: I went out with a friend for dinner real goal was to pick up pretty handbags I had bought last week, but had to wait for pre-sale prices to kick in. All during dinner I told him about the cows. The weird thing was, he was really interested in the facts. Did you know, for example, that in any herd there is always an alpha cow, and that if a new cow is purchased and added to the herd that they never make their way up the ranks to become Alpha Cow? I thought not. Did you know that cows will lick you to get the salt off of your body? I already had learned that one the hard way when my Grandmother's cow Janie licked my little girl arm when I took her out to graze. I never realized the important of udder placement and symmetry to milking, either. I did, however, already know that a cow will let you know which side they prefer you to sit when milking them. Also, Angus (beef) cattle kick more than any other cow. :)

Momentary: Thanks. I'm still reeling from the concept of "Sentenced to Death Week." I mean...why didn't they save that for Sweeps Week?

KOB: Better than Long Island Lockjaw, yes? Wanna hear me do THAT?

9:25 PM  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Wait, did I already miss Sentenced to Death week? They need to promote that better! I would have been mesmerized.

I usually end on the Discovery Health channel late at night... ooooh, amazing surgical procedures for conditions I never knew existed!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Mystery: It is STILL Sentenced to Death Week. You are in LUCK! ^5.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Wrethcat said...

I love cows :-) I especially love them on my plate at Outback :-) I did, however hate waking up before the sun came up at my great uncle's farm to the sound of a pack of mooing and cowbell jingling.

What? No late night viewing of Pimps Up, Hoes Down? or Autopsy? I tell you Court TV gets me sometimes when they are running their stories about convicted killers.

Yes, I watch American Idol. This here little kitten was too chicken to try out to actually go before the gauntlet of hell when lines were wrapping around the DC convention center. I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo glad that ditsy Kellie Pickler girl is gone, her naivite got annoying real fast.

>^, ,^<

8:03 AM  
Blogger I-66 said...

Ha! ^5!

I thought that was left behind in the chat rooms of the late 90's...

8:55 AM  
Blogger cuff said...

PBS last night was pretty damn good. All the President's Men followed by a documentary on Watergate. Listening to the Watergate figures talk makes you realize that it has all happened again. The imperial presidency has returned.

Anyway, Baudrillard has some interesting things to say about "reality tv."

10:30 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Wrethy: You should have tried out. You have a beautiful voice.

I-66: I am personally on a campaign to bring ALL of that old chat room crapola back into usage including {s cheer}...WAVS. So, ^5 AND ^6.

Cuff: I was watching a portion of President's Men last night and realized what a classic it's become as in yes, it's dated, but it still enthralls.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sentenced to Death Week vs. Shark Week. Discuss

QVC has a host that used to host a public affairs-- Catholic program. How's that for synergy? For a really weird psych-out, watch QVC when it features the cherub-and-pixie-crowd, Kirk's Folly. They dress up in angel clothing, and sell strange girly jewelry.

My absolute fave in the reality department: Fear Factor. Oh, yes, I know, we must continue to advocate before the FCC and Congress for regulation/legislation which requires each digital TV licensee to air programming that serves the community's needs and interest, but..... Oh that Joe Rogan and the eating portion of the show. Nothing says fun like intestines and other guts and chicks and lugheads with imposssible boobs and muscles chowing down on grisly objects. My money's always on the airhead chick, cause I figure that she's had plenty of practice in the losing-her-gag-reflex activity.


12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and thank you all for sticking that hideous jingle in my grey cells. Here it comes again. Thanks so much.


12:54 PM  
Anonymous DRFS aka Sue said...

Cube! I saw the cattle show sort of mezmerized me also...I think there is some sort of subliminal message in that more diary?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Sue: Reya of Golden Poppies watched it as well. I'm not sure what it is about that show. Reya loved seeing the farmers. It's embarrassing to admit it was interesting, was.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Udderly fascinating.

(Ok....someone had to say it.)

6:16 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

American Idol is the bane of everything that makes music artistic and lovely and turns it into something ditzy and repetitive. Gaaa.

But, tee hee, about the cows, perhaps you should hire a hit man and have him destroy your television set.

Than you can join the rest of us and surf equally dull websites for hours on end.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Megarita said...

Oh damn, I got sucked into Miss Marple last night on PBS. Who knew public TV was such a dangerous game??

12:04 PM  
Blogger always write said...

1. I get six channels at home, and PBS is my most-watched favorite, hands down. Love the dank British period dramas, though after watching for an hour or so I feel like I'm coming down with a cold.

2. Bill Curtis is sexy.

3. Morbidly curious children are more likely to watch 'American Idol' than Sentenced to Death Week on A&E, don'tcha think?

12:16 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

I just had 5 days in a hotel with none of my favorite mind-numbing tv channels, so now I have to doubletime it to catch up on Food Network, TLC, Bravo, and Comedy Central!

My late-night routine is usually to toss and turn for an hour, then start reading until I fall asleep again. But maybe I'd learn a lot more if I flipped on the boob tube. I'll have to give it a try!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

The last time that happened to me, I found myself watching a bio on Dolly Parton.

10:53 AM  

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