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What I Watched Last Night

So sorry I was not able to write yesterday as I was still too enthralled watching the Monday Night Football countdown clock on ESPN.

See, on Sunday night I figured I would catch up with all the happenings in the NFL on NFL Blitz, ESPN's new version of NFL Primetime. The show features highlights and "analysis" from all of Sunday's games. While I was catching up on all the information, a clock popped up in the corner with a countdown to Monday Night Football.

"Wow!" I said out loud. "I didn't even know that ESPN had Monday Night Football, I could have sworn that I've een watching it on ABC for the last three weeks. It sure is great that there is a clock here letting me know that there is exactly 18 hours, 42 minutes and 12, 11, 10 seconds till the big game!"

I had no idea that there was such a huge game coming up on Monday night that it deserved 18 hours of preparation. Playoffs must be on the line - but in the third week of the season? No way. Yes way! The Saints are playing the Falcons. Those two traditionally dominant teams are meeting and the world needs to know a day in advance so we can get ready. The Superdome is opening for the first time since it served as a Katrina refugee camp. That is the real story here and it was brought up all last night and all last week and all day today, how could I miss the story line.

The Saints ended up winning pretty impressively; good for New Orleans, they needed that.

This last Sunday and the two previous Sundays have had this countdown clock in the corner for a day before kickoff. Honestly. A countdown clock sure could have helped President Bush as Katrina put the Gulf Coast in her sights. That way maybe he would have known that it was a shit storm down there and "Brownie" was not doing all that great a job.

Countdown clocks. I have seen them on the news channels for things like "THE COUNTDOWN TO WAR!" or
"COUNTDOWN TILL PRES. BUSH SPEAKS TO THE NATION!" or, my favorite, "COUNTOWN TO TERROR?" The reason the last one is my favorite is simple; it features a question mark behind it instead of the regular exclamation point. A question mark just scares us even more than we already are.

Which brings me to point one of two in this two-for-the-price-of-one column today. Countdown clocks should only be used for important things like the way they were used in Spaceballs.

In what I consider the greatest comedy of all time, Captain Lone Starr foils Lord Helmet by way of the Schwartz and activates the self destruct alarm for Mega-Maid (Mega-Maid is the transformed ship "that is going to suck all the oxygen out of planet Druidia and transfer to Planet Spaceball, therefore ruining Planet Druidia and saving Planet Spaceball," Colonel Sanders says to Lord Helmet, who replies, "Everybody got that?") That is a good use of a countdown clock because lives are on the line. A football game though?

That question mark was
not supposed to scare you. Or was it?

* * *

Alright, for part two, and this does not just apply to television but everywhere, enough with the exclamation points!

Not only has every news program exploited the most dramatic piece of punctuation; it has now spread to work and text messaging and notes at the apartment.

"Happy Friday!"

"Going out call you later!!!!"

"Last night at the movies was so much fun!!!!!!!"

It is not the amount of exclamation points used; rather it is the willy-nilly way they are used and abused.

Here is a proper use of an exclamation point, "Man this column is dragging on today!"

Bad use: "I'll end it!"

Pat Bataillon is the Beachwood's resident TV watcher. Catch up on everything he's been watching in the What I Watched Last Night archive.



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Posted on September 26, 2006


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