Scout's Gripe Page Redux


Welcome to another "What' the Deal?" I don't want you, the reader, to think that I'm filled with nothing but vitriol. I'm well-adjusted...I have a personal life and relationships. See, here's a shot of me kicking back on my deck.

Of course, I'd have a much nicer deck (and I wouldn't have to share it with other weasels) if only I were a millionaire...which brings me around to my next topic:


What's the deal with the Stupid 'Millionaire' Shows?


Confess it! You've been watching! It started out harmlessly enough..."Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" was on only one network (ABC) and only one night a week. Pretty soon it started to grow, like the funny mold that grows in your old green beans after they've sat in the back of the refrigerator for a couple months. Now we've got this idiotic show on three or four nights a weeks. To make matters worse, we've got incredibly bad spin-offs, like "Greed" on Fox. (You'd think that there would be a way to sue ABC for encouraging Fox ... you know, like suing an irresponsible adult for encouraging your simple-minded teenage son to do something incredibly stupid. Hmmm...can you claim damages for intentional infliction of extreme banality?) Celebrating instant wealth acquired by sheer luck (yeah, right, it's really skill, isn't it?) doesn't seem to me to be the message you want to pass on to your kids, does it?

OK, OK, I know I need to keep it short. So, here's the nut for you fans of the show...GET A LIFE !! I quit watching disco stage shows about 20 years ago. Catch up with the times!

"What's wrong with a little wholesome entertainment?" you ask. Fair question. Now, here's one for you, "When was the last time you read a book?" I mean a real one, with some educational or literary value. Instead of spinning your wheels watching a pompous, self-important host ask a sad stream of wanna-bes an assortment of ridiculously simplistic questions, try improving your knowledge by studying something in depth.

Interested in the history of science? Try The Ascent of Science by Brian Silver.

Social commentary tickle you? Sample James Gleick's take on the dizzying speed of modern life in Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything.

Interested in ESP or astrology? Wake up to reality. Take a look at Flim-Flam: Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions by James Randi.

Enjoy "pop psychology" and prime time confessions? Check out Daniel C. Dennett's Consciousness Explained and get the real thing.

U.S. history your bag? Thomas B. Buell brings the Civil War to life in a thoughtful analysis of the careers of six Union and Confederate generals in The Warrior Generals: Combat Leadership in the Civil War.

And, of course, I can't leave out one of the best historical novels in recent years. Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield, is a thrilling and inspiring treatment of the Battle of Thermopylae. (And if you don't know anything about the last stand by the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, you need more help than I can give you in this brief page. See, you shouldn't have been wasting your time watching "Millionaire" shows.)

Anyway, if we all get together and stop watching these shows, they'll definitely go away. Trust me, it won't take long.


That's all I have for now.

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