“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here. – Arthur C. Clarke

Did you ever see that movie, “Lawrence of Arabia” where he spends a lot of time sitting on top of a camel viewing an endless expanse of desert? (Even though he was an Englishman, I thought T.E. Lawrence was a good example, but maybe you can think of a bedouin). Like him, we are faced with the interminable Sahara-like interval between the conference playoffs and the Super Bowl. So we need to find some televised entertainment to occupy our easily distracted minds before we lose all hope and turn to home maintenance, snow removal or – gasp! – books for amusement. We might even have to engage in prolonged conversation with family members and who knows where that might lead? Calm down, Pens and Pitt fans, we haven’t forgotten about skates and sneakers, but there’s still a lot of tube hours unaccounted for. And so, as a public service to you, the home reader, the Idler has taken some time off from his grueling schedule of iPhone games and, um, beverage appreciation to scan the TV dial for viewing strategies to cover the next few weeks.


ANCIENT ALIENS – You channel surfers are bound to come across the History Channel which runs installments of this show almost all day every day. Watch it long enough and you’ll come to realize that visitors from other worlds have been working their spindly green fingers to the bone on an awful lot of famous historical sites and structures, like building the Pyramids, the carving of the Nazca lines and the disappearance of Braddock hospital.The show’s producers like to pose questions like, “Is it possible that alien bus drivers actually levitated the 61C moments before it was to crash into the Duquesne bridge abutment?” The answer, of course, is “No, it’s not possible”, but be careful you don’t find yourself shouting this at the TV, prompting busybody family members to start planning “outings” to “therapy sessions” for you. Not that that’s ever happened to the Idler. The best part of the show is when they interview “Ancient Astronaut Theorist”, Giorgio Tsoukalos, a wild-eyed professor-looking guy with an Irwin Corey hairdo. (For you youngsters, Professor Irwin Corey was a borscht belt comedian whose shtick was to dress up as a mad professor and bill himself as “The World’s Foremost Authority.”) Giorgio is pretty cool about it, appearing as a cross between the Wizard of Oz and Liberace and throwing in what is either a generic foreign accent, a speech impediment or both. He’s actually a graduate of Ithaca College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in “Sports information and Communication.” So he knows at least as much about extraterrestrials as anyone else you’ll encounter at the Moose at closing time.

THROUGH THE WORMHOLE – Continuing with our science theme, Morgan Freeman is your host for this one and it features actual scientists, although Morgan is not one of them. He’s played God in so many films, though, that he probably outranks the cosmologists. But the show tries to keep it real by making frightening scientific revelations such as the fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. This could lead to horrific developments like a three day Kentucky Derby, an Indianapolis 500,000 and the need to employ UPS to pass the salt. Sometimes the show leaves the cosmos alone long enough to investigate the submicroscopic world of particle physics. This involves such theories as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which the Idler can’t be completely sure he understands.

Anyway, they ought to hold you ‘til Super Sunday. Oh yeah, take the Broncos, give the points.

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