“If your working television sits on top of your non-working television, you might be a redneck.” – Jeff Foxworthy

The Idler is not a redneck by the above definition. A few years ago, when the 12 year old Magnavox started looking all wavy without any assistance from Jim Beam or D. G. Yuengling & Son, we went shopping for a new tube. Except there aren’t any “tubes” any more. Now they’re all flat screens, and they’re pretty hard to balance on top of an old tube set so we ended up hanging it on the wall. Plus, Mrs. Idler doesn’t like to let the sun set on anything liable to rust, bust, collect dust or smell bad in the winter time. It’s her world; the Idler just lives in it, so old reliable went out to the curb.

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You know, when the Idler was a lad he and his buddies used to like to find discarded TV’s and throw a rock through the screen. This was in a primitive era when kids rode bicycles without full body armor and the only place you’d find a seatbelt was on an airliner. Somebody had told us that TV picture tubes were “vacuum” tubes, and instead of exploding would implode when you hit them with the aforesaid rock. The old tubes were pretty thick – you had to have some mustard on that fastball – but somehow it was cooler than blowing up a whole video game city. Kids – boys anyway – like to blow stuff up, even when they’re really blowing it “in.” We’re far too mature for such capers now. Plus cleanup looked complicated.

Anyway, now that the Steelers have tanked (there there, breathe into this paper bag), we need to take a look at regular non-sports programming at least to see what sort of nonsense we can tolerate. A lot of shows are presenting their Winter “premieres” now. Since no one in the family has a firearm of sufficient caliber to persuade the Idler to watch “Downton Abbey,” we can make that the first scratch. See how easy that was? Also, here’s a related fun-filled activity: When it’s on, stick your head in the room and inquire, “Yinz watchin’ that ‘Downtown’ Abbey?” The missus will go all Maggie Smith on you and shout, “It’s Downton, you twit!” Good times. But there are SO MANY shows nowadays that it might be a real public service to list the few that potentially are worth a look:

“Broken Skull Challenge,” CMT (season 2 premiere).  The star is a former professional wrestler, so it’s got that going for it.

“My 600-lb. Life,” Lifetime (season 3 premiere)  It’s kind of fascinating until it occurs to you that one of the reasons you’re watching is to congratulate yourself for not being that obese.

“Nazi Mega Weapons,” PBS (season 2 premiere; check local listings) You can tell your snooty intellectual friends you’ve been watching PBS!

“My Husband’s Not Gay,” TLC (special; unconventional Mormon marriages) It’s a real show. Seriously.

“Top Gear Patagonia Special,” BBC America – You could watch it long enough to find out where Patagonia is. Also, there are race cars in it.

“My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” TLC (series premiere; woman behind web sensation “A Fat Girl Dancing”) Must-see TV, am I right?

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