Monday, January 28, 2008

When I go to the gym over at the Rec Center, I watch TV. In fact, the TV is what has kept me going there over the past few years. While my rear has not gotten discernably slimmer, I have gained a low resting heart rate and a great appreciation for Dr. Phil. He's on at 9am (local time) on channel 2 of the AFN. That's the Armed Forces Network and it's a trip. For those of you not familiar with it (and I bet that's most of you) it's the satelite network that supplies TV shows from the US of A to all of our soldiers all over the world. Lost, American Idol, House, and other delights are all on offer 24/7. We get it at the Rec, because the club is affiliated with the US Embassy here.
Actually, what's really striking about the programming is the commercials aimed at the military audience. They are not actually ads, per se, but public service announcements. Apparently, the members of the US military need to hear A LOT about the evils of: gambling addiction, suicide, domestic violence, credit card debt, dehydration, shaken babies, crash diets, rape and depression. (and who wouldn't be depressed after all that. Sheesh). What you get during the breaks between shows is a couple of these cheery PSAs, along with one exhorting you to become a demolitions expert or a Navy SEAL. Very strange.

Today 's Dr.Phil was about the pros and cons of the "baggy pants" worn by many" fashionable ghetto-rific persons and ghetto-rific-wanabes in the USA. By "baggy", they don't mean "large", they mean: hanging down so low your underpants are on prominent display. This strikes me as very silly, but not worthy of concern, but I guess several US cities have banned the style and impose fines. It was all very goofy and easily got me through a one hour aerobic work-out. Adding to my entertainment was the short "Guess this state capital" featurette that was on right afterwards. "My state capital features a replica of the Greek Parthenon!" the nice lady informed me, as they showed a tape of a big building that looked just like, well, the Parthenon that is in Greece. But this one looked lots newer. Now even a cursory glance at Wikipedia informs me that the Parthenon in still "one of the world's greatest cultural monuments". I had kind of been wondering if that had changed. Like maybe it had been decided that the Parthenon just wasn't "all that" and people were no longer being told that it's the most important surviving building of Classical Greece? Like maybe if they didn't specify that it was a copy of the Greek Parthenon, we might all think it was a replica of the Chicago Parthenon (which is a nice little restaurant on South Halsted, but pretty unprepossessing, architecturally speaking. Why the heck would somebody copy it?)
BTW- AFN is showing American Idol on Thursday night and the ad said they would be showing the auditions from Omaha, Nebraska!! Go Big Red!


Anonymous said...

The baggy pants phase is why Andy's school implemented a dress code requiring belts and tucked in shirts. Unfortunately those that are truly ghetto just wear shirts that are extremely long and tucked in below their arses, which is where the waistline of their pants with belt sits.

BTW: Andy is a huge Dr. Phil fan!

Love, Lynsey

Anonymous said...

very humorous commentary on afn. our family lived in japan for 3 years where my wife worked as a teacher for the military school system. so we had afn in the house and were subjected to the non stop patronizing "commercials" they play. trust me, they need to as the military seems to have an abundance of folks who need to be babysat. but the more educational afn ads pay off in the end. from time to time my 10 year old daughter will spit out some random fact and i'll ask her where she learned it: "on that station we watched in japan" is her reply.

b. in slc utah