December 2005

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I’m going to need to revise my “five items I’m thankful for” list. For one thing, as alert reader Carol from NYC pointed out, I forgot hot water. I love hot water! (People who hate blogs hate blogs because of these lists, don’t they? And I feel their pain. Lists like this are why I didn’t want to start a blog and yet here I am making just such a list. Oh well. Could be worse. Could be poetry.) Anyhoo, I’m modifying my list of “items” into:

Five Things I’m Thankful For

  1. Oxygen.
  2. Water (for drinkin’).
  3. Hot Water. How could I forget this one? As if to bludgeon me for my carelessness, fate knocked out my hot water heater after I wrote the original list. A crisis ensued and a major disaster was narrowly averted thanks to some help from my friend Mike.
  4. A warm bed to sleep in. (#5 does not happen without #4.)
  5. Sleep. I love sleep. I seem to need more of it than most people yet I also seem to get less. I literally cannot remember the last time I went to bed and slept through the whole night. It had to be more than ten years ago. I usually wake up between two and five times a night for various reasons.

So bread gets knocked off the list along with a bunch of other stuff and, needless to say, future revisions are possible…

The “last episode” of ABC’s Monday Night Football was broadcast yesterday. Monday Night Football has been “destination TV” for about thirty years so there has been a lot of talk about this “last episode” but the immediate impact for most viewers is negligible. MNF will still be on next year — it will just be on ESPN. In other words, MNF is changing channels. Big deal.

ABC has always tried to separate MNF from other NFL games — e.g., by trumpeting a MNF record book as distinct from the NFL record book — and it never worked for me. There is nothing special to me about ABC’s presentation of a football game, though Howard Cosell did arguably make it distinctive while he hosted. One must admit that everybody involved in a Monday Night Football game — coaches, players and fans — felt the emotion surrounding the game get kicked up a notch solely because of the venue. That factor did and does make Monday night games a little special. But that emotion will still be there next year in the ESPN version of MNF. Overall, this story strikes me as one that is fascinating only to Al Michaels and people in the broadcasting industry. (Mostly Al Michaels.)

But I do think history will view this change as a big deal. I predict some future historian of the Information Age and/or television will say this event marked the end of the Era of Network Television. Network TV has been losing influence for a long time but there are not a lot of convenient mileposts. The creation of CNN and maybe HBO could be called the beginning of the end of network TV. One could talk about the loss of market share or the invention of the DVR. But what sexy dates are available to the populist historian? I think this last telecast of Monday Night Football on Network TV will provide that date. And the historian will say we then entered a purgatory period in which the next new world order (of television) was forged.

Items* I’m Thankful For:

  1. Oxygen. This is something most of you take for granted. I don’t. You gotta have some oxygen in your lungs if you want to do pretty much anything. But I’m not going to get too holier-than-thou cuz I take things for granted too. For instance, I take having two working legs for granted. Einstein was more right than I think he realized with his whole relativity thing.
  2. Water. There’s nothing better than drinking a big glass of cool water in the middle of the day.
  3. Bread. I’m not talking Wonder Bread here. It has to be real, good bread with real, good butter. Or maybe you’re dipping it in olive oil and spices before you eat it. Mmmmmm.
  4. A warm bed to sleep in. After the cold snap that came blowing through Colorado last week, only those with a puny, Grinch-sized heart could fail to be thankful for a roof over their heads and a nice comforter over their bodies.
  5. A bunch of other stuff.

*There are, it must be said, many people I am thankful for — but that is a different list.